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Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables in Winter + How to Use Them

Written by Reya Borbridge

Eating seasonally can be challenging especially when not knowing what foods are in season. Since many stores now carry most common fruits and vegetables all year round it is hard to know what it is actually supposed to be growing during that time of year or not. Today I wanted to discuss what fruits and vegetables are in season now, in winter. Winter is always tricky since it definitely is limited when it comes to produce that can grow during cold weather. However, this doesn’t mean all the good-tasting produce isn’t growing at the moment!

Currently, the types of fruits that are in season are citrus fruits. This ranges from oranges, tangerines, mandarins, grapefruits, lemons, limes, pomelos, and clementines. These fruits are all wonderful and can be super versatile when making savory, sweet, breakfast and dinner recipes. I love juicing oranges for fresh squeezed drinks in the morning with breakfast or creating a yogurt granola bowl with a variety of citrus fruits. For more savory meals that can be eaten at dinner, I love adding citrus in my salads such as a mandarine arugula salad with a lemon olive oil dressing! You can also use oranges, to make dressings with sauces such as orange chicken or tofu, which is super flavorful and creative.

Root vegetables are also in season at the moment! These include varieties of squash, sweet potatoes and other potatoes, turnips, radishes, beets, onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and more! These are all very hearty and flavorful vegetables that are so fun to cook with. I love roasted a bunch of veggies and having them as a side to a salad, pasta, or rice and fried tofu. Sweet potatoes and squash are really fun to work with since you can make sweet potato or squash tacos, risottos, pasta sauces, mashed yams or squash instead of mashed potatoes, or even get created and bake them and then stuff the inside of the squash or potato with quinoa, farro, lentils, beans or whatever else that you can think of. I love baking squash or sweet potatoes for holidays, opening them up and stuffing them with beans, corn, tomatoes, greens, and avocado for a hearty and tasty dish. Other root vegetables such as beets, radishes, and turnips are definitely on the more intimidating side for those who are just beginning to cook. This is completely okay because they actually are so simple to work with and incredible for you. Beets are vibrant and taste amazing with peeled, sliced or cubed, and roasted in the oven with olive oil, salt, balsamic vinegar, and a little maple syrup. This brings out their incredible flavor and is so indulgent when paired with avocado and feta cheese. Radishes are fun since they can be eaten raw in salads, and paired with burrito bowls. Turnips are similar to potatoes, and radishes, and are super tasty. They are starchy so it's best to cook them in some oil and salt on the stovetop or in the oven. Lastly, carrots, garlic, ginger, and onions are year-round staples in most people's pantries so cooking and eating these during this time is extra flavorful and special!

Beyond root vegetables and citrus fruit, there is even more amazing produce that are in season at the moment. These include a variety of greens such as cabbage, kale, swiss chard, collard greens, and mustard greens. Greens are so healthy and important for our diets. I love making salads, collard wraps, stews that are packed with greens, adding it to my breakfast smoothies or pretty much anything. Fun veggies to make creamy soups and amazing side dishes include cauliflower, mushrooms, broccoli, celery, parsnips, and brussel sprouts. The overall picture is that there is a large variety of seasonal vegetables and fruits in winter so make sure to try sticking to those in your diet at the moment as they taste best this time of year. Also, buying produce that is not seasonal is usually hard to get without pesticides or it simply tastes flavorless since it's not supposed to be grown during that time of year.

The next couple of weeks Slugs in the Kitchen is going to be posting recipes that represent seasonal ingredients, so make sure to give those a try and hopefully get inspired to make some new healthy and creative recipes.

Remember to also follow us on instagram for more info @slugsinthekitchen_ucsc

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