If you think you live in an area where snow is more likely than fresh fruit — think again. Winter is just as good as any other time of the year when it comes to eating seasonal produce. Let’s take a look at some of the healthiest produce options to enjoy this winter, and don’t forget to bring your taste buds.
In season from October–December.
The variety of squash available in the winter time is wide, and they can be used in sweet or savory dishes. Low on the glycemic index, winter squash is not only a tasty treat but loaded with antioxidants and dietary fiber. Squash is a good source of vitamin A, but it’s an even better source of vitamin C. On top of that, winter squash has an excellent supply of the antioxidant beta carotene.
In season from October–May.
Related to the carrot, but lacking the vibrant color, these tubers provide a powerful punch to your palate. Rich in folic acid and vitamins C, K and E, this tuber will take the edge off your sweet tooth. It’s also a good source of fiber.
In season from October–April.
The lime offers a myriad of health benefits. As a citrus fruit, it’s high in vitamin C. Additionally, limes contain flavonol glycosides that have been known to help prevent certain diseases.
In season from December–April.
Odds are good that grapefruit is already your tried but true friend. If you need a change of pace, try sweetening it up by broiling it with or without sugar. Grapefruit is low in calories but contains pectin, which is a dietary insoluble fiber that helps protect your colon by keeping it clean. It also has a modest amount of beta carotene and lycopene.
In season from October–April.
Fantastic raw or mashed, rutabagas are high in vitamin C and dietary fiber. They can be used as a potato substitute since they don’t have quite as many empty carbohydrates.
In season from September–April.
With a flavor and texture a bit like a water chestnut, sunchokes are an adaptable food that can be eaten raw or cooked. While a good source of iron, vitamin C, phosphorus and potassium, sunchokes contain inulin, which help improve bowel function.
In season from January–May.
If you miss your leafy green kale, don’t worry. Dandelion greens are high on the recommended list of winter-time produce because they contain an enormous amount of vitamin K, which helps to strengthen bones. They’re also high in fiber and contains calcium, iron, potassium and manganese, among others. These powerful plants add a nice spice to salads and work well in smoothies and juice.
In season from November–April.
Kohlrabi is another cruciferous vegetable like kale or cabbage. It provides a high amount of nutrients per calorie, making it a great choice for those counting calories. It’s also packed with vitamin C.
In season from September–December.
Pomegranates might be a lot of work, but the health benefits are worth it. They’re rich in polyphenols tannins and anthocyanins, and might even help keep cholesterol in check.
In season from September–January.
Olives are harvested during the fall, but they have to ferment before they get to the market, which makes them a winter produce. Olives contain fatty acids that help to hydrate and nourish your skin and hair. They also have high levels of iron and, most importantly, olives can help prevent heart disease.
Toss off that blanket and head to the farmer’s market before the snow hits the pavement. There’s no reason winter time should mean fresh produce leaves your cupboards. Keep up with your veggies and stay one step ahead of the cold.
Photo: Samantha Forsberg