We don't normally think of making a fresh fruit salad in winter, but think again. You can usually find persimmons, fresh pineapple, oranges and blood oranges, grapefruit, apples, pears and pomegranates in the produce department at this time of year, and they combine to make a wonderful medley. It's great for breakfast, dessert, lunchboxes or snacks

Pomegranates and persimmons have a very limited season (mid-fall through January), which makes them all the more special. So celebrate the winter solstice with this beautiful, tart fruit salad, adorned with glistening, scarlet pomegranate seeds and bright orange slices of persimmon. Use the Fuyu variety of persimmon, which, as with apples, is ripe when hard, and slices beautifully.

How to seed a pomegranate

Pomegranate seeds are juicy little jewels -- bright red, tart and crunchy. The problem is, they're encased in a hard, tight skin, which, although lovely to look at, is difficult to break into. When you finally get the skin open, another challenge lies inside: The precious seeds are buried within a copious amount of pith, and you have to coax them out, diligently attempting to keep them from flying all over your kitchen. Don't despair! Here's a method that works well:

Have ready a large bowl of cold water. Slice the pomegranate into quarters, right through the skin, with a good, sharp knife. Place the pieces in the water, then pull the pith out and pull the seeds from the pith. Everything will yield quite readily. To make things even easier, the seeds will sink to the bottom of the water and the pith will float to the top.

Mollie Katzen wrote the bestselling "Moosewood Cookbook." Reach her at www.molliekatzen.com.