For some reason today I thought of a book I read a while back: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. The book is a nonfiction story about the author’s year of living on either locally produced foods or foods she grew/raised herself. She lived in a place that experienced all season’s in their glory so winter in particular, was a tough one. Luckily, she was a smart lady and canned tons of fruits and veggies when they were in season so her winter foods weren’t too boring.
Obviously, taking on a project like this is complicated and extremely inconvenient for someone who isn’t given a book advance. It does sound like a great idea and an interesting life experience so maybe one of these days, my husband and I will give it a try. Right now though, I’m not sure we’re ready for it.
Anyway, it got me thinking in general about winter foods and trying to eat what’s in season (as I sprinkle blueberries in my cereal…definitely not in season).
I try to stick to fruits/veggies that are in season because they’re fresh, they usually come from somewhere in the U.S., and they tend to be cheaper. I’m not perfect though I definitely stray especially in winter when the pickins’ are slimmer.
In case you were wondering though (and I was), here’s a list of fruits and veggies that are in season over winter time:
- Beets– Beets are a veggie I’ve really started to enjoy over the past few years. For some reason, before then they just automatically sounded like something I would disagree with but they’re really good! Throw some beets in a salad with goat cheese..mmm delicious!
(Beet and Endive Salad with Walnuts courtesy of the NY Times).
- Endive– Speaking of endive… Endive is something I’ve never really used before. I honestly have no idea what you do with it except put it in a beet salad?
- Broccoli- I think broccoli in general can be grown year round, but it tastes best in winter! I am loving grilled broccoli. I know when you think of grilled food you may think of summer, but if you have an indoor grill (or nice temps outside), try grilled broccoli!
- Broccoli Rabe-Broccoli’s slightly bitter cousin!
- Brussel Sprouts– I’ve never been a huge fan of brussels sprouts but I am trying to like them. I don’t despise them (like asparagus), I just don’t love them. I hear they’re pretty good for you though so I’ll try incorporating them into my diet more often..especially in winter!
(Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe).
- Clementines- I LOVE that clementines are in season during winter. They are so good and I think it’s because they’re citrusy, but they remind me of spring.
- Collard Greens- Collard greens to me, are an acquired taste. I’ve made them once at home and needless to say, have never bought them again. That being said, I’ve had them in restaurants and they were pretty darn good so maybe they take a little more skill in the kitchen.
- Dates- Natures candy!
- Fennel-Fennels’ another one I’m pretty unfamiliar with. I’ve used it once for a specific fish recipe but wasn’t sure which part I was supposed to use. I’ve seen fennel in restaurants in salads usually paired with some kind of citrus fruit. Here’s a link to a grapefruit and fennel salad I think I might just have to try…(recipe).
- Grapefruit- I love grapefruit-year round. I usually just have it as is but I’ve heard broiled grapefruit is pretty darn good so I think I need to try that this winter.
- Kale- If you’ve never made kale chips…make them! They’re so good!
- Kiwi- For some reason I always though kiwi was a summer fruit but alas, it is not. I kind of forget about kiwi but it’s so good I should pick some up!
- Kumquats-Doesn’t kumquat sound like a dirty word? Well, I guess it’s a fruit. So apparently I’m not too adventurous when it comes to new fruits/veggies because I’ve never tried these either! I guess some produce is intimidating if you’ve never bought it before like pomegranates, watermelon, squash, and yes, kumquats. I think I need to try this recipe though so maybe I’ll toughen up and buy some kumquats.
- Leeks- Another one I have no experience with. I’m glad I’m making this list, I’ll just take it to the grocery store with me!
- Lemons- Okay, I have had lemons before :).
- Oranges- I’m honestly too lazy to deal with oranges. Yep, apparently peeling an orange is too much work.
- Parsnips-What does one do with a parsnip? I’ve heard of parsnip fries those might be tasty. I have actually bought a parsnip before with the intention of making fries but never did. I have no idea what a parsnip tastes like but if it passes for a french fry, I’m good to go.
- Pears- Love a good pear.
- Rutabagas- Yep, this is another one. I have no idea what a rutabaga tastes like….or even looks like. I didn’t really find many appealing recipes to be honest, but I did find pictures. I’m pretty sure I bought a rutabaga when I thought it was a parsnip. Oops. Yeah, I definitely did.
- Sweet Potato-I love sweet potatoes. They’re so versatile, healthy, and delicious. One of my favorite ways of cooking them is cutting them up and baking them. So yummy!
- Tangerines- There doesn’t seem to be a ton of variety during winter when it comes to fruit. I’m just glad there are a number of citrus fruits available.
- Turnips- Another one I have zero experience with.
- Winter Squash-Any kind of squash is delicious in my book!
Looking back over that list, I guess winter isn’t completely produce-free. There are actually lots of good fruits and veggies available and obviously tons I still need to try!
I think first on my list is parsnip fries, or should I say, actually buying parsnips not a rutabaga.
Do you try to eat what’s in season?