Enjoy Winter In-Season Produce for Tasty, Affordable Nutrition

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

In the U.S., January and February finds us deep in the dead of winter with no farmer’s markets, no backyard gardens and a different fresh selection in the supermarket produce department than at other times of the year. A different selection, however, doesn’t mean a poor one. While many vegetables and fruits are grown elsewhere and shipped year ‘round throughout the nation, these wintery months are actually the height of the season for certain vegetables and fruits. Buying that which is in season ensures the produce we buy is at its peak and at its least expensive prices of the year.

Look for in-season produce, even in winter; it’s in abundance and therefore often on sale at this time of the year. Then find recipes that feature these vegetables and fruits. Planning dishes according to what’s fresh, abundant and affordably priced is key to getting the most nutrition and flavor for your grocery dollars.

According to a compilation of sources, fruits and vegetables that are in season in January and February include the following (less common ones are briefly defined):

  • Apples
  • Beetroot
  • Belgian endive – a white leafy vegetable commonly used in salads or steamed or grilled
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Carrota
  • Cauliflower
  • Celeriac – a root vegetable that tastes similar to celery which can be eaten raw or cooked
  • Celery
  • Clementines
  • Cooking Greens – (such as collard, turnip and mustard)
  • Grapefruit
  • Fennel – eaten primarily for its bulb, it has a subtle yet distinct anise (licorice) flavor; can be eaten raw or cooked
  • Horseradish
  • Jerusalem artichoke (aka sunchoke) – a tuber which tastes like a sweeter, nutty potato and can be eaten raw or cooked
  • Kale
  • Kiwi
  • Kumquats
  • Leeks
  • Lemons
  • Onions
  • Oranges
  • Parsnips – root vegetables related to carrots, most commonly served cooked
  • Passion fruit – a fruit usually grown in South America that tastes similar to a tart mango or a papaya
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Pomegranates
  • Pomelo – a crisp citrus fruit native to Southeast Asia with sweet flesh
  • Potatoes
  • Radicchio – a red and white leafy vegetable commonly used in salads or roasted or grilled with a bitter, spicy flavor
  • Rhubarb
  • Rutabaga (aka Swede) – a root vegetable, similar to turnip, which is a cross between a turnip and wild cabbage and which can be eaten raw or cooked
  • Satsumas (a variety of orange)
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tangerines
  • Turnip – very similar to the rutabaga, it is a root vegetable whose leaves can be eaten (turnip greens) and whose bulb can be eaten raw or cooked
  • Winter squash

To zero in on fruits and vegetables grown in or near your specific region, consult this guide: Regional Produce Seasonality Guides.

Many of these foods can be stored for a long time, enabling you to have affordable, nutritious produce on hand without making frequent shopping trips in potentially inclement winter weather. Carrots, winter squash, parsnips, rutabaga, potatoes, onions and turnips, for example, keep well for extended periods of time and can be enjoyed in a wide variety of preparations, including soups, side dishes and stews. Some don’t even require refrigeration for optimal storage. Consult this resource for a comprehensive list of storage instructions for vegetables and fruits.

Here are some recipes that may inspire you to incorporate these in-season foods into your wintertime meals:

Warming Winter Soups
Refreshing Winter Salads
How to Make Roasted Vegetables
Winter Fruit Dessert Recipes

Healthy, in-season produce doesn’t have to only appear on your table in the warm weather months. These winter vegetables add variety and affordable nutrition to your diet even when the weather is cold.

What are your favorite winter vegetables and fruits?

Bonus Tip:

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