Sparkly snowflakes, cozy blankets, rich hot chocolate… Winter has a lot going for it, but fresh produce is usually not on that list. In colder climates, eating locally through the winter can be downright challenging. But we’re here with some good news: Every meal doesn’t have to revolve around potatoes and onions until April. With a bit of advanced planning and creativity, it’s possible to eat fresh fruits and vegetables with plenty of nutrients and flavor all winter long.
Read on to learn about some of the unexpected vitamin-rich cold-weather foods you should stock up on right now.
- Peak Season: While some strains of cabbage are available starting in July, most varieties love cool weather and are ready for harvest through the fall and winter.
- Storage Tips: Tightly wrap individual heads of cabbage in plastic and stash in the refrigerator to keep ‘em fresh for up to a week.
- How to Eat It: Cabbage’s nutritional benefits are most pronounced when raw, so slice up a few leaves to add crunch to salads or stir fries.
2. Brussels Sprouts
- Peak Season: September through February
- Storage Tips: Brussels sprouts will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. The outer leaves will shrivel, so remove them just before cooking your sprouts.
- How to Eat It: Toss halved sprouts with olive oil and roast until crispy and brown. Top with a light coating of brown butter and sage for a decadent (but still healthy) side dish.
3. Winter Squash
- Peak Season: Winter squash hit the markets around late September and stick around through early March.
- Storage Tips: Even though they seem pretty solid, squash continue to ripen once they’re picked. Slow down the process by storing them in a cool, slightly humid environment (like, say, a basement or cellar). Under the right conditions, squash will keep for up to three months.
- How to Eat It: Since squash is healthy, fairly inexpensive, filling, and darn tasty, it’s no wonder there are thousands of awesome recipes for them. Get started with these five delicious dishes.
- Peak Season: Various varieties of potatoes are available year-round.
- Storage Tips: Store potatoes in a dark, cool, well-ventilatedarea for about one month. Keep spuds away from onions and apples. At room temperature, potatoes will keep for one to two weeks.
- How to Eat It: Try a healthier take on the classic baked potato bar. Twice-baked spuds stuffed with kale, broccoli, and cheddar make for a tasty and comforting meal.
- Peak Season: Various types of onions are available all year round.
- Storage Tips: Stash onions outside the fridge (they can go soft if refrigerated) in a cool, dry place for several months.
- How to Eat It: Sautéed white onion jazzes up this fig, ricotta, and arugula flatbread pizza.
- Peak Season: Beets are available early spring through late fall.
- Storage Tips: Store beet roots in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a month.
- How to Eat It: Toss roasted beets and carrots with lentils and plenty of fresh herbs and spices to make a hearty, healthy vegetarian main dish.
- Peak Season: September through March.
- Storage Tips: Like other root veggies, celeriac will stay fresh in the fridge for up to a month.
- How to Eat It: Sub in celeriac for almost any root vegetable.Cube and sautée it for a tasty, healthy substitute for hash browns.
- Peak Season: Available through late fall, although some varieties are harvested through the winter.
- Storage Tips: Like many root vegetables, carrots will keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for several weeks.
- How to Eat It: Bring out carrots’ natural sweetness with a side dish that combines the orange veggies, cinnamon, orange juice, and maple syrup.
9. Turnips and Rutabagas
- Peak Season: Available all winter long.
- Storage Tips: Keep turnips and rutabagas in the fridge for a few weeks or in a root cellar for several months.
- How to Eat It: What’s cheesy, gooey, and surprisingly good for you? A lightened-up simple turnip gratin! Rutabagas can be subbed in for any dish that calls for turnips.
- Peak Season: Parsnips are at their best in the late fall and early spring.
- Storage Tips: Store parsnips in a bag in the refrigerator forthree to four weeks.
- How to Eat It: Combine roasted parsnips with Granny Smith apples (and a few other essential ingredients) for a smooth,fall-flavored soup.
11. Sweet Potatoes
- Peak Season: Sweet potatoes are available year-round, but they’re best in the fall.
- Storage Tips: Keep sweet potatoes in a cool, dry place outside the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
- How to Eat It: It wouldn’t be fair to pick one of these 45 sweet potato recipes and not try the rest. Pro tip: Sweet potato brownies are a thing.
- Peak Season: There are three main varieties of radicchio available in the U.S., Chiogga, Treviso, and Tardivo. Tardivo radicchio is available throughout the winter.
- Storage Tips: Keep it in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic for up to three weeks.
- How to Eat It: Sautéed radicchio adds a kick (and a nice serving of vitamins and minerals) to this easy pasta dish.
13. Citrus Fruit
- Peak Season: Citrus fruits grown in warm climates are ripe for picking between late October and March.
- Storage Tips: Store citrus in the refrigerator for a few weeks, orat room temperature for up to four days.
- How to Eat It: Try one of these five healthy citrus recipes. Or just peel and eat!
- Peak Season: The globe-shaped fruits are in season fromOctober through January.
- Storage Tips: Keep pomegranates in the refrigerator for up to two months, or at room temperature for one to two weeks.
- How to Eat It: A sprinkling of pomegranate seeds adds some tart, bright flavor to a winter kale salad.
15. Dark, Leafy Greens
- Peak Season: Kale is grown in warmer climates and the Pacific Northwest throughout the winter months.
- Storage Tips: Wrap washed and dried greens in paper towels, then put the whole shebang in a plastic bag in the fridge. Greens will stay fresh for one or two weeks.
- How to Eat It: Swap kale, chard, or collards for lettuce to make a nutrient-rich salad.
- Peak Season: Escarole grows through fall and early winter in warmer climates.
- Storage Tips: This dainty green is a bit delicate, so eat it up quickly. Wrapped in paper towels and stored in an open plastic bag, escarole keeps in the refrigerator for up to four days.
- How to Eat It: Escarole adds some bright-green freshness to aclassic Italian soup.
- Peak Season: Fennel is available at the market from late fall through early spring.
- Storage Tips: Wrap fennel bulb in a paper bag and store in the refrigerator for up to five days.
- How to Eat It: Yes, it’s possible to make a crisp, totally fresh salad during the winter. Try this fennel and celery dish for a crunchy cold-weather lunch.