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January 2, 2013

Winter wonders: Pomelos, pomegranates and pears

It wasn’t that long ago that the winter produce department was a boring place for fruit lovers with little to offer beyond bananas and garden-variety citrus.

It wasn’t that long ago that the winter produce department was a boring place for fruit lovers with little to offer beyond bananas and garden-variety citrus.

Happily, things have changed. It is now common to find intensely colored blood oranges, buttery comice pears, sweet pomelos, easy-to-peel mandarin oranges, ready-to-eat pomegranate seeds and mild Meyer lemons.

With the exception of pomelos, prepping those fruits is quick and easy. Pomelos, which look like giant grapefruits, aren’t ripe until their light-green skin turns yellow. The skin and pith combined are about an inch thick and must be removed. Cut the fruit in half or in quarters and pull off the peel with its white pith, then cut the fruit into chunks or slices, removing any tough membrane as you go. Pomelos can be sectioned like grapefruit, but much of their sweet juice and coral-pink flesh will be lost.

It’s not difficult to work these fruits into just about any meal of the day, as the accompanying recipes show.

Elinor Klivans is the author of nearly a dozen cookbooks including Slice & Bake Cookies, which is due in April from Chronicle Books.

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