It wasn't long ago that the winter produce department was almost as bare as the ground outside. Happily, things have changed. It is now common to find intensely vibrant blood oranges, buttery comice pears, sweet pomelos, easy-to-peel mandarin oranges, ready-to-eat pomegranate seeds and mild Meyer lemons, the bulk of which are grown in Florida and California.
(Tampa Bay shoppers can find often find these interesting winter fruits at weekly outdoor markets, Whole Foods in Tampa, the Fresh Markets in Clearwater, St. Petersburg and Tampa, or at independent natural food stores.)
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' latest cookbook is "Fast Breads: 50 Recipes for Easy, Delicious Bread" (Chronicle, 2010).