Winter Produce: Your Guide to a Colorful Plate

January 02, 2012

Winter is in full swing, temperatures have dropped and trees are bare; but that doesn't mean that our plates should be void of veggies.

Winter is in full swing, temperatures have dropped and the trees are bare; but that certainly does not mean that our plates should be void of fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables. The winter season boasts some of the most hearty and delicious produce all year round- so think again if you (hold out for fresh fruits and veg during spring and summer months) thought only summer boasted the freshest fruits and vegetables around.

Most of us take for granted and forget how very lucky we are to be able to choose from a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables all year round; and in fact it doesn’t even seem like the produce section in the supermarket varies much from season to season. If we pause for a minute, make a conscious effort and take a closer look at what foods are in season, our meals will be fresher, more nutritious, flavorful, cost less, and on top of that when the season comes for your favorite fruit or vegetable you will truly enjoy and savor it at its best! 

Choosing freshly harvested seasonal produce not only supports a healthy diet, but may also lessen some of the adverse global effects caused by packaging and shipping produce long distances.

Eating “seasonally” will allow you to diversify your diet; you may discover some fruits and vegetables that you love and didn’t even know existed! As well as offering some great flavors, many winter vegetables are true nutritional stars – and at the time when the weather is changing, were seeing less sunlight (thus getting less of the sunlight vitamin) and it seems that colds and flu’s are being passed around – there is no better time than to eat a diet rich in nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Some vitamin C-rich winter fruits and vegetables include, blood oranges, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery root (celeriac), kale, passion fruit, persimmons, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, turnips, and winter squash. Just a reminder, vitamin C-rich foods help protect cells from free radical damage, help with vitamin E regeneration, improve iron absorption and some believe vitamin C may shorten the duration or help prevent colds. 

Many winter fruits and vegetables also serve up an excellent ‘dose’ of vitamin A, which functions to preserve and improve eyesight as well as help fight viral infections. Some of the best include: bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, collard greens, kale, passion fruit, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, and winter squash.

Try roasting root vegetables like, parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, celeriac, and rutabaga with a sprinkle of salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Forty-five minutes later you will have a hearty, delicious, and outstandingly nutritious side dish or even main course for any winter meal.

Snack on apples, blood oranges, Clementine, grapefruits, passion fruits, pears, persimmons, and red currants to taste the flavors and gain the nutritional benefits of winters best fruits. 

Use SupermarketGuru’s suggestions to make a shopping list, or ask the produce manager in your local supermarket to direct you to the freshest seasonal picks! Happy and healthy shopping and enjoy!