We’re deep in it.
If you live anywhere north of the Ohio River, you’ve probably already seen snow at least twice this year. Last weekend, the temperature in Chicago plummeted below zero with wind chill in the negative teens. Winter is upon us.
The sunny memories of fresh strawberries and juicy plums have frozen to the harsh reality of thermal socks.
Remember that lovely baked peach dessert you had before you took a leisurely stroll in the still-light hours of dusk?
That ridiculously sweet watermelon that you gorged on, letting the juice run down your chin?
And that killer cantaloupe that made the perfect end to a picnic that involved exposed shoulders and bare feet?
Put all of those memories in a little box that you pack away for the next few months. It’s winter, and it’s time to savor all of the delicious flavors that even these harsh months provide.
4 Chef's tricks to savoring the season:
1) Experiment with What’s Available
Apples, Pears, Oranges, and Grapefruit are all grown in the US right now, so you should have plenty of options for enjoyment. Tropical fruit also is prime right now as countries near the equator enjoy their wet season. Good time to try pineapple, bananas, kiwi, papaya, and coconut.
2) Use Dried Fruits
If you’re really missing your fresh summer flavors, you can usually find a dried version. Dried cherries, peaches, plums (aka prunes), blueberries, and even cantaloupe are now in most grocery stores. You can chop them up and enjoy the chewy texture in breads, oatmeal, pancakes, and salads. You can rehydrate them simply by soaking in water, overnight, in your fridge. My favorite way to enjoy, though, is to poach with fresh fruit for extra sweetness. The poaching liquid becomes infused with the ultimate fruit flavor, which you can then highlight by adding vanilla, almond extract, red wine, port, or other extracts and liqueurs.
3) Don’t Forget About Frozen
Frozen fruits are picked and packed at the peak of freshness so they are full of summer flavor. Frozen fruits are often reasonably priced, especially compared to their fresh counterparts. The frozen blueberries I buy at Whole Foods are usually locally farmed and cost about $2.99/10 ounces. That same amount, fresh, would cost me about $9 or $10, if I can even find them. Right now, fresh berries are imported from halfway across the globe, and the flavor can be disappointing.
You can find your typical strawberries and blueberries frozen, but don’t forget about some of the more exotic fruits. Diced mango, pineapple, and cherries are all delicious when swirled into a bowl of oatmeal or warm rice pudding.
4) Try New Cooking Methods
Who says you just have to eat an apple cored and sliced? Have you ever tried broiling it? Or sprinkling on a little cinnamon and microwaving for 90 seconds? What about poaching some pears? You can even pull out your grill pan and get fast summer flavor with grilled pineapple. With the cold weather encouraging us to stay indoors, now is a great opportunity to hunker down in the kitchen and play. Experiment with a new cooking technique. Have some fun while cozying up to a warm oven.
With no further ado, here are my top 6 Healthy Winter Fruit Dessert Recipes:
About the Author:
Katie is a Personal Chef based in Chicago. She specializes in creating delicious, healthy recipes for those with special dietary concerns like gluten-free, oil-free, plant-based, and low-residue. Outside of the kitchen, she is a Fitness Instructor for Equinox, with over 13 years experience in the fitness industry, and a blogger for Kuli Kuli Foods. For fun, she loves to travel, with her most recent travel involving 10 days of hiking in the Patagonia of Argentina and Chile.