It's time to switch to winter fruits after enjoying ripe summer fruits and the consolation of fall fruits and vegetables. Fruits should still be consumed regularly, even though their diversity has decreased, as they provide us with the energy, fiber, vitamins, and minerals our bodies need.
Put on warm socks and get ready to learn everything there is to know about winter fruits, including the must-haves of the season, creative ways to use them, and tips for choosing them.
Why eat seasonal fruits?
Your body needs an adequate number of vitamins and minerals to survive the lower temperatures and shorter days of winter. Therefore, it can be said that winter fruits better meet the specific needs of this season, as nature fortunately provides us with fascinating amounts of nutrients in seasonal fruits.
Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables allows us to fully enjoy the nutritional value of the produce. When fruits are chosen at their peak ripeness, the majority of their vitamins and minerals are retained because they are less exposed to air and light. From a taste perspective, the ripeness of fruits also allows us to fully appreciate all the nuances.
On a budgetary level, it's worth noting that seasonal fruits and local products are cheaper because the supply costs are lower, resulting in lower transportation costs.
Consuming locally grown and seasonal fruits is also good for the environment as it reduces travel and relies on more conventional farming methods that do not require greenhouses, thus reducing carbon footprint.
What are the winter fruits?
Citrus fruits - clementines, oranges, grapefruits, lemons - are the first elements that come to mind when we think of winter fruits; we will detail them in the following paragraphs.
The last pears of the season mark the beginning of winter. Apples, on the other hand, are still around for a few more months and will continue to delight us throughout the season.
Winter fruits also include several fruits that were once classified as "exotic," such as kiwi and pomegranate. It is important to note that these are currently cultivated in the south of France, which encourages responsible consumption.
Nuts, an oily fruit due to its fatty acid content, and prunes are two other unique winter fruits, remarkable for their nutritional importance and interesting to consume (dried fruit of the plum tree, more concentrated in sugar and energy than the fresh version of the prune but excellent for our body).
Examining winter fruits
One of the iconic winter fruits is the clementine, which reaches its peak in January. It is an incredibly potassium- and magnesium-rich winter fruit, as well as a source of vitamin C. Clementines are a source of beta-carotene and other trace elements such as copper and zinc (antioxidant compounds).
Thanks to their easy peeling and versatility as a dessert, breakfast, or snack, clementines are as useful as they are delicious. Furthermore, they can be used in countless hearty dishes like tarts and cakes.
Oranges have the most flavor in winter, thanks to their sweet and tangy taste, which is excellent for juice, cooking, and eating.
Oranges are also highly appreciated from a dietary perspective. They are low in calories, rich in water and fiber, making them an ideal partner after festive dinners or hearty winter recipes. Additionally, oranges are a very interesting source of micronutrients, including vitamin C, carotenoids, magnesium, and potassium, which contribute to the balance of our bodies.
This delicious fruit is rich in vitamin C as well as carotenoids like beta-carotene and lycopene, naringin (a flavonoid), and limonin (a limonoid). In addition to being high in water and fiber, grapefruit also contains potassium and calcium. Furthermore, grapefruit seed extract enhances the body's defense mechanisms and resistance. Lastly, grapefruit oil contains bioflavonoids and glucosides that promote intestinal health.
Lemons are just as nutrient-rich as other citrus fruits, even though we don't typically appreciate them as much. Don't hesitate to use them (sliced or squeezed) in water or tea to add flavor or to bring a fresh and acidic touch to your fish or poultry recipes. Additionally, lemon essential oil has a soothing effect on the throat, esophagus, and vocal cords. This property of lemon essential oil can be intriguing in winter when our respiratory tract is particularly sensitive to low temperatures.
Apples make their appearance in autumn and accompany us throughout the winter. These fruits contain soluble and insoluble fibers, which aid in digestion and satiety. Apples are also a good source of minerals and trace elements such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, selenium, and zinc, as well as vitamins C, A, and B group. Lastly, this winter fruit helps keep you well hydrated as it is composed of approximately 90% water. You can enjoy them by biting into them or incorporating them into numerous delicious recipes such as pies, cakes, or winter salads, thanks to their varying degrees of acidity or sweetness.
The pear season ends in December and January, which corresponds to the beginning of winter. It is one of our favorite fruits to enjoy after a meal, as it is rich in fiber and vitamins, especially when it is juicy. Whether in tarts, crumbles, or caramelized, pears are an essential element in winter desserts. Take advantage of them before their season ends!
Prunes, a winter fruit, are made from various types of plums that have been cooked, sun-dried, or oven-dried. Prunes are sweeter than fresh fruits due to the dehydration process, but they still provide a good energy boost before activities like sports. Moreover, they have a high fiber content, which contributes to a feeling of satiety and aids in intestinal transit. Prunes can be consumed in sweet treats like compotes or Far Breton, as well as on their own or as a savory accompaniment (with pork, lamb, or specific cheeses).
As a type of oily fruit, nuts are a source of lipids and, in this case, excellent quality fatty acids such as unsaturated omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. They also contain modest levels of carbohydrates, fiber, a small amount of protein, and serve as a great source of energy. Walnuts are most abundant at the beginning of winter, but you can find them throughout the season. Enjoy their flavor and crunch by sprinkling them on yogurt, baking them in desserts like pies, cakes, muffins, or cookies, or using them in savory dishes like breads, salads, or savory cakes.
Kiwi is a typically foreign fruit, but it has recently been cultivated in France, where it can now be consumed from November to June. Kiwi is a winter fruit not to be missed with its tangy flavor and abundance of vitamin C and fiber. It pairs well with fruit salads, verrines, desserts, breakfast, and snacks.
It is abundant in water, fiber, and antioxidants such as luteolin, anthocyanins (a type of flavonoid), polyphenols, and tannins. Pomegranate can be eaten with a spoon, juiced, or added to salads. It has a slightly bitter flavor. This winter is the perfect opportunity to try it if you haven't done so yet!