Produce Shopping Tips: Get the Best Fruits & Vegetables in Winter

Posted on January 30, 2009 @ 2:15 am
by Anita Leverington

During the spring and summer seasons, eating delicious fruit and vegetables with each daily meal is an easy task since every plant seems to be sprouting and blooming. Then, when Autumn arrives, yet another overwhelming choice arises as a second helping comes into season.

Then winter comes along, and where did all the harvest disappear to? The plants and trees become lifeless and lose their foliage, as the brisk and chilly atmosphere sets in. The question is, are there any fruits or vegetables available at this time of year, and once we find them, what’s the best way to prepare them?

The winter season is actually surprisingly productive, with commonly known fruit and vegetables still available. Fruits like citrus fruits, pomegranate and kiwi are still around, and hearty vegetables, like broccoli, turnips, potatoes, squash, peas, rhubarb, celery and cabbage (don’t forget the famous Brussels sprout) and others.

Finding fresh fruits and vegetables in the winter can take some searching. Your local grocery store may have an abundant supply, but only of some of these foods. You can check out in-door farmers markets or specialty food/whole food stores. Depending on your region, you may be able to grow your own winter garden (indoors or outdoors) and harvest some of these delicious foods yourself. Theres lots of information on growing your own indoor/outdoor winter garden found on the Internet or in gardening books at the public library or bookstore.

So, once we’ve grown our own, or sourced the supply of winter fruit and veg, how do we go about cooking or preparing it? Simmering hot winter soup throughout the day can give you something to look forward to at dinnertime, with the delicious aroma filling the air as the vegetables bubble away. Cabbage leaves can make innovative wraps, by filling them with something hot. Avocados can make guacamole dip, and sweet potatoes can be boiled, then baked until tender, to make the most unusual (yet satisfying) baked spuds.

Ideas for cooking with winter fruits: Since plenty of lettuce is available during the winter, dont be afraid to add orange fruits and grapes to your salads to give it a sweet kick. Or, you can omit vegetables from your salad entirely and stick to a winter fruit salad. Fresh cranberry sauce is delicious on white meat (add some orange zest and a little freshly squeezed orange juice to it for a different taste). Pears are a great fruit to serve warm or cold with a cinnamon streusel for dessert. Mix cut passion fruit with kiwi and serve it over vanilla ice cream for another dessert.

There are fresh produce in the winter months, no matter where you live. Search the stores and try out your green thumb to see what kinds of delicious recipes you can come up with to help yourself and family eat healthy during the cold months.

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