Bypass the discounted Christmas candy aisle and head for the brightly colored rows of citrus and tropical fruits, which are getting sweeter by the week.
What to Look For
Called Citrus Grandis by botanists, pomelos (a.k.a. pummelos) owe their enormity to a thick layer of skin and fluffy pith; the flesh within tastes like fragrant, less acidic grapefruit. The chartreuse-skinned Chandler variety is available now; not only can you enjoy the syrupy segments, but you can also make the peel into candy (recipe) ($2.99 at Westside Market).
There’s a large harvest of smallish Maine shrimp this year. The creatures switch gender mid-life, arriving each winter on the Maine coast as females laden with glistening turquoise eggs. The roe is edible if undistinguished, but the meat is surprisingly sweet, and it’s high in the sunshine vitamin, D, perfect for this time of the year. They can be peeled, sliced, and eaten raw, sushi style, or gently cooked (recipe) — in either case, a savory sauce will balance out their unctuous seafood flavor ($7.99 per pound at Citarella).
Raw, dark amber mango blossom honey is produced—using sustainable methods—in the early fall, when mango trees bloom in the Javanese forests. Its sultry citrus and tea aroma, tropical fruit tang, and slight smokiness partner well with strong cheeses or acidic fruit ($9.99 per 10.5-ounce jar at Balducci’s).
Black cherries from Chile are at their peak right now and should be around for another week or two. Large, firm, and full of flavor and juice, they’re the best bet for those craving a taste of summer in January (widely available).
Ripe for the Moment
The large, slightly battered-looking California artichokes are a particular delicacy — the flaky dark patches on their outer leaves indicate they are “frost-kissed,” which deepens their flavor and raises their sugar levels. Served steamed, with fresh mayonnaise or a butter sauce, they’re a lovely first course for winter meals ($4.99 each at Balducci’s). — Zoe Singer