Some produce is in its prime right now
Whether you've committed to a healthier diet this year or are simply interested in adding variety to your daily meal, choosing vegetables can be a challenge in winter, since most of us associate the good stuff with the harvests of summer and fall. Ironically, some of the most flavorful and robust produce is actually the freshest during the cold, winter months. Follow our lead and seek out any of the produce listed below and you'll discover that healthy winter dining can be amazingly flavorful.
The tarty citrus fruit, grown in California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona, really comes into season in January. It stays yummy and sweet through early summer but definitely grab a couple this month for a juicy delight.
This leafy treat (yes, we said treat!) grows best during the coldest months of the year, particularly in January. Use some in your next stew or try chopping and sautéing it with garlic and topping your favorite pasta with it alongside some olive oil and salt and pepper. Feeling really adventurous? Try making kale chips, which even kids love (really!); just slice the leaves off the stalk, toss them in a little olive oil, sprinkle them with salt, arrange them on a baking sheet, and bake them in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes or until the edges are brown and the kale is crisp.
Fennel is best from fall through early spring. In fact, when the weather gets warmer, the plant turns bitter. Make sure to grab and slice some for your next homemade salad.
The vegetable de jour (seriously, what hot restaurant hasn't unveiled their take on brussel sprouts recently?) is best in winter. Tip: if you see them for sale still on the stalk, grab them. They last a lot longer than if they're cut. For fast deliciousness, boil them until they are cooked but still firm, cool them, slice them in half, brown the cut sides in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat, add a ½ cup of chicken stock, finish cooking them until the stock is reduced, and top with a handful of cooked, chopped bacon.
These small sweet oranges are the tastiest in the winter months-particularly December and January.
Though this crunchy veggie is usually available year-round, it flourishes in the coldest winter months. Cauliflower makes a great side or combines with your favorite cheese for a delicious gratin dish.
Many root vegetables like carrots, turnips, and potatoes are abundant in the winter months. They keep well and come in an appealing variety of flavors and textures. Grab some of your faves and slice and roast with olive oil and rosemary for a hearty veggie side dish at your next meal.
Winter squash comes in many different varieties: acorn, butternut, and spaghetti to name just a few. Since winter squash has a thick rind, it lasts for long periods of time if stored correctly. Keep in a cool, dry place but don't avoid the fridge-it'll rot a lot faster.
It's been a few months since Thanksgiving so it's time to dive back into the cranberries! Not only is this winter-friendly fruit a great source of Vitamin C, it adds the perfect amount of tart to so many winter dishes! Try adding it to a banana bread recipe or sprinkling on top of your next salad.