Fruits and vegetables continue to grow even when the temperatures decrease and the days become shorter. Cold-weather crops, hoop houses, and other technologies to extend the natural growing season, and old-fashioned storage veggies like cabbages and potatoes ensure plenty of winter fruits and vegetables to select from across most United States.
Look for winter fruits and vegetables that are in season at farmers’ markets and produce sections for the best flavour and pricing. Crops and harvest dates will vary depending on your region’s climate, and most produce (apart from root vegetables) is only available locally in areas with a milder climate.
Winter Fruits and Vegetables
- Beet- Beets are in season from the fall until the spring in temperate areas and are accessible all year in the rest of the world. Greens are frequently sold alongside fresh beets, and roasted beets in a salad are delicious.
- Belgian Endive- Because this form of lettuce is “forced” to grow in artificial settings, it is available all year. Late fall and winter are their usual growing seasons (when cultivated in fields and covered with sand to shut out the light). They’re great in salads or cooked.
- Broccoli- Broccoli, like many other cruciferous vegetables, can be cultivated all year in temperate climes, but we’ve forgotten it has a season. In most climes, however, it tastes best (that is, sweeter, less bitter, and sharper) when gathered in the milder temps of October. Make a broth or a cheesy dish with this veggie.
- Broccoli Rabe/Rapini- Broccoli rabe (also known as rapini) is a bitter, leafier vegetable growing in similar chilly conditions as broccoli. Cook some up and toss with couscous salad.
- Brussels Sprouts- Brussels sprouts grow on a stalk, so if you see them for sale that way, take advantage of it—they’ll survive far longer than if you cut them. Otherwise, grab a bag and toss it with balsamic vinegar before roasting.
- Cabbage- When fresh, this coleslaw classic is bright and crunchy, but it mellows and sweetens as it cooks. The sweeter it tastes, the cooler the weather it grows in (this effect is called “frost kissed”). Stuffed cabbage rolls can be found in various cuisines worldwide, including Vietnamese and German.
- Cardoon- This odd vegetable has a taste similar to artichokes yet resembles celery in appearance. Look for cardoons with strong, heavy-feeling stems if you can find them. They must be washed and prepared in a particular manner before being used in a Moroccan tagine dish.
- Carrot- Carrots are accessible from local growers in winter storage and fresh in warmer and temperate climates. They come in various colours, from the traditional orange to purple and white. Carrots are superb raw, but they’re also deliciously roasted or grilled.
- Cauliflower- Cauliflower can be grown, harvested, and sold all year, although it is a cool-weather crop that is best in the fall, winter, and early spring. Look for heads with no brown marks or soft spots. Combine with potatoes for a low-calorie mashed potato side dish, or season with Indian spices for a delicious roasted cauliflower meal.
- Celery- Celery is at its peak in the fall, with harvesting continuing well into the winter in milder climes. Celery is most commonly associated with Bloody Mary garnishes, but it can also be used in a casserole with an almond topping or in an exquisite but easy crab salad.
- Chicory- This cool-weather crop blooms in late autumn and lasts until early spring in temperate areas. In an Italian wedding soup, substitute the vegetable for escarole.
- Clementine- From December to February, these petite, delicious oranges are available. They’re seedless, easy to peel, and fantastic eaten straight from the bag. For easy access, clementines are best kept at room temperature in a bowl on the counter. This citrus fruit can be used in salads or cooked into cakes.
- Escarole- This bitter chicory is in season in the fall and winter. Escarole is less bitter than other chicories, yet the bitterness is evenly distributed throughout the head. It can be grilled, sauteed, or integrated into soups. Escarole is very delicious when eaten raw in a salad.
- Fennel- Fall through early April is the natural season for fennel. The plant bolts and becomes bitter in warmer temperatures, as it does with most cool-season crops. Short celery-like stalks with dill-like fronds arise from the white bulb base. Fennel can be eaten fresh in a grapefruit and arugula salad or roasted to bring forth its sweetness.
- Grapefruit- Grapefruit, grown in California, Texas, Florida, and Arizona, begins to ripen in January and remains sweet and juicy until early July. Grapefruit is a tasty and refreshing treat when split and sectioned, but it’s also great in a cocktail or made into marmalade.
- Kale- Kale, like many hearty culinary greens, thrives in chilly climates. Kale comes in various varieties, with curly kale being the most prevalent. Keep the green raw and use it in various salads; it also tastes excellent cooked with aromatics.
- Kiwifruit- In warmer and temperate locations, this egg-shaped fruit with fuzzy skin grows on vines and is picked from winter through spring. Kiwifruit should be firm with no blemishes and give little when ready to consume. Cut it in half and scoop out the bright green flesh studded with tiny black seeds with a spoon. Make exquisite ice cream out of it.
- Kohlrabi- The word kohlrabi means “cabbage turnip” in German, and you’ll know why once you see one of these vegetables. By the end of the fall season, the green or purple bulbs with cylindrical stalks are in bloom, and they keep sweet well into the winter. For the most delicate flavour and texture, go for tiny bulbs. At your next BBQ, try it in a mustard-flavoured slaw.
- Leek- Leeks are an onion family member with thick inner cores more than 1 1/2 inches wide. Avoid leeks with wilted tops by inspecting the top green leaves. At your next dinner party, include leeks in an attractive chicken dish or a potato-crust quiche with mushrooms.
- Winter Squash- Squash of all kinds is in season in the early fall and lasts well into the winter. Look for acorn, butternut, Hubbard, spaghetti, and kabocha, to mention just a few. You want them to be plump and free of bruises and blemishes for their size. Winter squash can be roasted, stuffed, or blended into a soup, among other things.
- Turnip- This vegetable has a negative reputation that it does not deserve. The flavor of fresh turnips is crisp but bright and delicious. Look for turnips that feel substantial in comparison to their size. Make a casserole or a creamy, smooth soup.
- Rutabaga- Rutabagas, sometimes known as “yellow turnips” and “Swedes,” is sweet, nutty root vegetables that are delicious in stews, roasted or mashed with lots of butter. Look for purple skin devoid of blemishes and green shoots in the winter.
What are Kumquats?
Kumquats are little citrus fruits that grow on short shrub-like trees commonly utilized in warm areas landscaping. Kumquats, native to eastern Asia and belonging to the same fruit family as oranges, lemons, and limes, are distinguished by their small size and edible peel. Depending on the variety, they can appear as early as November and as late as April, but they’re at their best around December and January. Kumquats can be candied, pickled, pureed, converted into marmalade, or washed and eaten whole.
How to Use Kiwifruit?
Kiwifruit is usually eaten raw when ripe and is best when fresh. Gently press the fruit with your thumb to see if it’s ripe. The kiwi is ripe when the fruit gives slightly, comparable to a ripe peach or mango. The majority of kinds are peeled and eaten whole, sliced, chopped, or pureed. Remove the ends of a kiwi to peel it. To remove the skin from the flesh, slide a spoon between the two and work it around the fruit. Remove the peeled kiwi and use it in a dish or eat it plain.
How to Cook Turnips?
Contrary to popular belief, turnips can be eaten raw if prepared similarly to radishes. Baby turnips can be sliced and added to salads for a crisp, lightly zesty tang or cut into wedges and served as crudité with dip. You can also use them to make a salad by slicing them thinly and drizzling them with your favourite dressing. You can peel them or not, much like carrots, according to your preference; however, the thicker the skin, the more probable you will need to peel them.
Turnips are often served cooked rather than raw, and they can be prepared in various ways. Cut away any linked greens, trim any dangling roots and prepare as desired after rinsing. Turnips are lovely roasted, mashed, baked, added to soups or stews, or even chopped into sticks and fried as a healthier alternative to french fries. Washed, dried, and sautéed in butter or oil, the greens can be cooked similarly to mustard or beet greens.
How to Cut a Rutabaga?
The rutabaga may appear frightening, but it’s pretty simple to prepare. Before cooking, these vegetables must be peeled, which can be done with a knife or a vegetable peeler. Place the rutabaga flat on a chopping board after peeling and cut it in half, stem to root. Place the halves flat on the cutting board and slice to desired thickness (cubes or chunks).
- Use a Vegetable Knife to slice off the root end.
- Lay the rutabaga flat on the cutting board on the root end and cut in half, stem to root.
- Lay the halves flat on the cutting board and slice to desired thickness.
- Use a 2-3/4″ Paring Knife to peel the skin from the slices.
How to Cook With Radicchio?
Trim any brown off the stem and remove the limp outer leaves before using. Raw radicchio can be sliced into thin strips and added to salads for added crunch and spicy bitterness. The bitterness of radicchio softens and sweetens slightly when cooked. It responds nicely to high-heat cooking methods such as roasting and grilling, but it can also be simmered and mixed with other vegetables or meat. Rutabagas, unlike turnips, should not be cooked with the skin on. The thick, waxy skin of rutabagas should be peeled before cooking. A knife or a vegetable peeler will suffice.
Fruits and vegetables taste best when grown and harvested within their natural seasons and don’t have to travel far before being eaten. This list of seasonal produce and their harvest seasons around the United States may assist you whether you’re anticipating your favourite cuisine or wondering about what you’ll discover in the produce store right now.
Growing seasons and crop availability will differ depending on your location. Seasons begin earlier and persist longer in the hottest locations. Greens, carrots, beets, and radishes, for example, can be harvested all year in temperate climates. Harvest times start later and terminate sooner in colder zones.