During the winter months, it can be easy to fall into a comfort food rut when it comes to fruits and vegetables—particularly when CSAs and farmer’s markets take a cold season hiatus. If you find yourself feeling bored with the same countertop bowl of bananas and oranges, get adventurous and head to the tropical fruit section in your local market. Colorful and exotic fruits might be just the thing you need to brighten up your winter days; many of them offer unique health benefits, too! Here are five of our favorite exotic fruits to add to your menu this season.
Guava: Native to Central America, guavas are light green, oval-shaped fruits with pale pink flesh and a super sweet flavor. Guavas can be quartered and eaten raw, or blended with sugar and water to create a refreshing agua fresca. No matter how you consume them, these tropical fruits offer substantial health benefits; they’re rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
Kumquat: These grape-sized members of the citrus family look a lot like tiny oranges, but kumquats have a distinctive feature that separates them from other citrus fruit: the rind is entirely edible! This makes a handful of kumquats the perfect on-the-go snack, since there’s no peeling required. Peak season for kumquats falls from November to June; during these months, look for small, firm fruit with shiny, unblemished skin. A serving of kumquats provides 73% of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. These super-cute citrus fruits are also a great way to hydrate before or after a workout.
Lychee: These petite, bright pink fruits are native to China, where they have been cultivated for centuries. The rough, inedible rind is peeled away to reveal translucent flesh, which has a light, floral flavor that perfectly balances sweet and tart notes. Though lychee is small in size, it packs a serious punch of antioxidant vitamin C, disease-fighting flavonoids, and heart-healthy dietary fiber.
Goji Berry: Goji berries were an important fruit in the traditional medicine of ancient China, and their health benefits remain powerful to this day. They’re rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc and iron, as well as all 8 essential amino acids, making them ideal for a midwinter immune boost. The tiny red berries are most often eaten in dried form, which concentrates their sweet-and-sour flavor. Try sprinkling a few onto a smoothie bowl or adding them to a trail mix.
Meyer Lemon: The winter months are peak growing season for many citrus fruits, including one of our favorites: Meyer lemons. Smaller and darker in color than standard lemons, Meyer lemons are also sweeter in flavor—some people even add sliced segments to salads! Try a squeeze of sweet Meyer lemon juice in cold water to kickstart your day, or consider preserving them in salt to add to savory dishes all year long. No matter how you enjoy them, these exceptional lemons are loaded with vitamin C to fight inflammation and boost immunity.
Which colorful fruits are your favorites for brightening the winter months? Share your best suggestions and recipes in the comments—we can’t wait to hear!
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