Produce Picks of the Winter Season
Stumped by which produce is truly in season during winter? With such variety constantly available in supermarkets, it can be hard to tell. Seasonal fruits and veggies are picked at the height of freshness and don’t have to travel from faraway lands, so your wallet, your environment and your palate will benefit from choosing these options for your table.
Throughout the year, we’ll explore seasonal fruits and vegetables, and give you tips on how best to prepare and eat them.
Seasonal availability varies by region—for example, in warmer areas the seasons start sooner and last longer—so expect some overlap between seasons.
Winter fruits and veggies are healthful and delicious complements to warm, hearty recipes. Root vegetables, citrus and some stalky greens take center stage this time of year and can play a variety of roles. The CHICAGO CUTLERY® DAMEN™ 6.75" SANTOKU KNIFE makes it easy to chop through the hard rind of squashes or perfectly slice root veggies. The paring knife helps get to the heart of citrus fruits.
The best winter produce choices include:
- BROCCOLI—Cut off the florets into bite-size pieces. Steam, microwave, boil or roast for use in recipes or sides. Enjoy raw as part of a crudité platter.
- BRUSSELS SPROUTS—Remove the stems and outer leaves. Slice in half, toss with olive oil and seasonings, then roast or sauté. Especially tasty flavored with bacon or prosciutto.
- CAULIFLOWER—Try cooked and mashed with shallots for a great alternative to potatoes. Can also be prepared in the same ways as broccoli.
- CELERY—Peel if desired, and then slice into small pieces. Use lightly cooked in soups and stews, pair with carrots and onion to flavor slow-simmered roasts, sauté for a stir-fry and toss raw into salads.
- CLEMENTINES /TANGERINES/POMELOS—Slice off the top of the peel to get started, then peel the rest by hand. Loosen into sections, and eat raw or add to salads.
- GRAPEFRUIT—Cut in half and use the peel as a makeshift bowl; or cut off the top of the peel, remove the peel and pull into sections. Eat with a bit of sugar, honey or other sweetener, or add sections to a salad.
- ROOT VEGETABLES—Turnips, parsnips and potatoes are perfect for roasting or mashing as well as using in soups and stews. For more, check out Grab Dinner By the Roots on how to prepare favorite root veggies.
- WINTER SQUASH—Roast and mash the flesh of winter squashes such as acorn, butternut and spaghetti. Butternut also makes an excellent soup.
PICK ANYTIME, INCLUDING WINTER
Some fruits and vegetables are successfully grown and harvested year-round, thanks to modern cultivation techniques. Examples include:
- AVOCADOS—Cut in half and remove the pit. Slice or dice the flesh while still in the skin, then scoop out to add to sandwiches, mash into guacamole, or enjoy with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of salt.
- BEETS—Shave into a salad, or slice off the tops and roast, peeling off the skin when done.
- HERBS—Use to season sauces, salads and other foods. Place extra herbs in ice cube trays, cover with olive oil and freeze for later use.
- KALE—Add to salads; drizzle with olive oil and roast to make kale chips; or add to soups and smoothies for an extra-nutritious burst of green.
- MUSHROOMS—Slice lengthwise into wedges for salads and pastas; dice for use on pizza or in sauces; or eat raw with your favorite dressing.
- ORANGES—Slice off the top of the peel with a paring knife and score vertically. Peel the rest by hand. Eat in salads, sliced or sectioned.
- SPINACH—Use raw in salads and sandwiches, or cooked in omelets, pasta and quiche. A generous handful gives your breakfast smoothie a healthy boost.
Packed with fiber and antioxidants, winter produce choices range from hearty and filling to bright and sweet. Whether you live in a milder climate with a citrus tree growing in your yard, or you’re “up north” where color is mainly found in the produce aisle, it’s easier than ever to find fresh, in-season produce all winter long.
YOUR TURN: What’s your favorite winter produce and how do you prepare it?