Fig: Considered to be sacred in ancient Southwest Asia, Egypt, Greece and Italy, figs are an incredibly decadent, sweet and chewy fruit. Now grown in California and various places around the world, fig season lasts through the fall. The top nutritional bonus of this fruit is its fiber content. Additionally, a fig provides vitamin B6 (the happy vitamin!) and vitamin K. Try figs with a strong-tasting cheese like bleu cheese, a soft cheese like Brie or make pancetta wrapped figs for an appetizer—and all kinds of desserts. Don’t forget figgy pudding!
Kiwi: This one might not seem like a fall fruit—but on this side of the globe it is. Originally hailing from ‘down under,’ this sweet and sour fruit experiences its top growing season in the United States from September through October. Kiwis give your body a blast of vitamin C—around 117 percent of your daily value. Also, studies have shown that kiwis can help protect the cardiovascular system and the colon. Look for these furry fruits at the store and toss into smoothies, mix into salads or add to holiday dessert dishes, like fruit tarts.
Pear: These fiber-rich fruits are mainly harvested in California and western coastal states during the fall months. Not only are pears juicy and tasty, but they can also reduce your “bad” cholesterol levels (LDLs). And you might be surprised—they have almost as much potassium as a banana. Pears are an excellent complement to many salads and pair well with goat and Gorgonzola cheeses. Try adding slices of pear to a panini or poach them with some vanilla for a sweet treat.
Persimmon: This rare yellow-orange to red-orange fruit looks a lot like a tomato with a big green top on it. Persimmons grow on trees and are native to China, but are now grown around the world. And they pack a powerful punch of nutrients:They’re a great source of manganese, loaded with soluble fiber and the North American variety has up to 80 percent of your daily vitamin C value. The flesh of this fruit is soft and sugary sweet and is the perfect addition to a creamy risotto dish, Brie cheese appetizers or a variety of desserts like cookies, cakes or tarts.
Pomegranate: Inside the bright red, hard outer layer are the tart seeds which are encased in the shell and membranes. To pull out the seeds, cut the pomegranate into 4 sections and soak them in water. Then separate the seeds from the membrane with your fingers, eat the seeds whole or spit out the teeny seed in the middle. It may seem like a lot of work—but it’s worth it. Pomegranates are incredibly high in antioxidants and they can lower cholesterol and help fight cell damage. These are great for a winter salad, desserts or yogurt, or add them to roasted vegetables or meat for some sweet and sour flavor among the savory.