How to relish this season’s fruits and vegetables
Winter may bring chilly temperatures and shorter days, but it also offers a bountiful array of seasonal produce in the United States. From hearty root vegetables to vibrant greens and sweet fruits, winter presents a unique opportunity for food enthusiasts to explore fresh, locally sourced ingredients. We take a closer look at the winter produce available in the U.S. with inspiring ideas for delicious dishes and meals.
Root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, turnips, and beets thrive in the cold winter months. They are not only versatile but also packed with nutrients. Roasting root vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil, garlic, and herbs is a simple yet satisfying way to highlight their natural sweetness. You can also use them in hearty soups or stews for added depth of flavor.
These mini cabbages are at their peak during the winter season. Roasting Brussels sprouts with a touch of balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, and bacon bits can turn this often-misunderstood vegetable into a delicious side dish. Alternatively, you can shave them finely for a raw Brussels sprouts salad with a zesty vinaigrette.
Varieties such as butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash are readily available during the winter months. These are perfect for crafting warm, comforting dishes like butternut squash soup, stuffed acorn squash, or roasted spaghetti squash with your favorite sauce. The natural sweetness of winter squash pairs wonderfully with warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
Kale And Collard Greens
Leafy greens like kale and collard are packed with vitamins and minerals. They can withstand the cold weather and remain fresh throughout the winter. Try sautéing them with garlic and chili flakes or incorporate them into hearty winter salads for a dose of healthy green goodness.
Since cabbage is so versatile, it’s often incorporated into a range of winter dishes. Make classic coleslaw, sauerkraut, or even stuff cabbage leaves with a flavorful filling. Red cabbage, in particular, adds a pop of color to your winter plate.
Cauliflower’s mild flavor and adaptability make it a great ingredient for the winter season. You can create cauliflower steaks, cauliflower mash, or even cauliflower “wings” for a healthier take on classic bar food. Additionally, cauliflower can be the star of a creamy and comforting soup.
Winter brings a bright burst of citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons. They can be enjoyed fresh or incorporated into a variety of dishes. Citrus segments can add zesty contrast to salads, and citrus zest or juice can be used in marinades, sauces, and desserts. Try making a classic lemon tart or a grapefruit and avocado salad for a refreshing winter treat.
Pomegranates are known for their juicy, jewel-like arils, which add a delightful pop of color and flavor to both sweet and savory dishes. Sprinkle pomegranate arils over yogurt, use them in grain salads, or create a festive pomegranate glaze for roasted meats or vegetables.
While apples are available year-round, they are at their peak of flavor in the fall and winter. Baking apples into pies, crisps, or turnovers is a classic way to enjoy their sweetness and comforting aroma. Apple slices also pair well with a variety of cheeses on winter cheese boards.
Kiwi, with its vibrant green flesh, adds a tropical twist to the winter season. You can make a refreshing kiwi salsa to accompany grilled chicken or fish, or simply slice and enjoy them as a healthy snack.
Cranberries are synonymous with the winter season and are often used to make cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, their tartness can be harnessed in many other ways, such as in cranberry muffins, cranberry relish, or cranberry-studded oatmeal cookies.
Persimmons come in various varieties, including Fuyu and Hachiya. Fuyu persimmons are sweet and can be eaten like apples, while Hachiya persimmons are best when fully ripe and have a custard-like texture. You can add persimmon slices to salads or make persimmon pudding for a unique winter dessert.
More Ideas for Winter Dishes and Meals
Winter Vegetable Stew
Create a hearty and warming vegetable stew using a medley of winter vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and parsnips. Add in some legumes and simmer them with flavorful herbs and spices for a comforting meal.
Citrus-Marinated Grilled Chicken
Marinate chicken breasts in a mixture of citrus juices, garlic, and herbs before grilling. Serve with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts for a balanced and flavorful winter meal.
Butternut Squash Risotto
Creamy butternut squash risotto is a luscious and comforting dish. The nutty flavors of the squash pair perfectly with arborio rice, making it an ideal choice for a special winter evening.
Kale and Citrus Salad
Toss kale with a bright citrus vinaigrette and top with segments of oranges and grapefruits, pomegranate arils, and toasted nuts for a refreshing and nutritious salad.
Prepare stuffed cabbage rolls using cabbage leaves filled with a mixture of ground meat and rice, simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce.
Cauliflower and Broccoli Gratin
Make a creamy gratin by layering cauliflower and broccoli florets with a rich béchamel sauce and a generous topping of cheese. Bake until golden and bubbling for a satisfying cold-weather dish.
Apple and Cranberry Crisp
Create a warm and spiced apple and cranberry crisp with a crunchy oat topping. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for dessert.