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Seasonal Shopping: Winter Foods

Our resident chef shares seasonal shopping tips complete with winter produce.
Credit: Thinkstock

With an abundance of snow falling, temperatures plummeting and “cuffing” season in full effect (will it last until summer?), it’s safe to say that winter time is officially here.  Though the holiday season is over, winter still bears many wonderful gifts, including some of my favorite produce items, such as kiwi, leeks and turnips.

Though winter doesn’t give us as much produce as the summer and autumn seasons, the fresh produce that it does give us (mostly root vegetables) are great immune boosters and healers (helping us with common winter ailments such as the flu, a cold, runny nose, etc.).

As we start to substitute our favorite summer and fall offerings of grapes, blueberries and tomatoes with the likes of beets, cauliflower, grapefruit and pomegranates, it’s important to understand why it’s best to do so.  Fruits and vegetables all have their peak seasons and shopping within their cycle can help you receive the best quality product and the best price (when compared to purchasing the same item outside of its peak season).

Yes, within a global economy we can access certain produce items year-round from around the world due to warmer climates and longer growing seasons.  Conversely, getting it from far away not only effects the overall quality, as it may have to be harvested early (not ripe) to account for travel time (all produce doesn’t continue to ripen when harvested), but you also have no idea what the health standards and codes are from where the food is coming.  Due to the decline in available amounts of winter produce, certain produce items are picked in the autumn and stored for winter usage, as they can hold up quite well (quality-wise and nutritionally) over time (apples, pears, carrots, kale, cabbage, spinach, etc.).

During this season, we will highlight a few of these, and provide accompanying recipes to get you and your “cold weather” boo going in the kitchen.  So even during these blustery days upon us in which you stay inside often, enjoy a pomegranate or kiwi (both aphrodisiacs) with your mate…….I bet the cold will be the LAST thing on your mind 😉

NOTE: As it varies from region to region, use this as a GENERAL GUIDE (local lists may be different).

What’s in season/available this winter?

Beets
Brussels Sprouts
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Chard
Collards
Fennel
Grapefruit
Kale
Kiwi
Kumquats
Leeks
Lemons
Oranges,navel
Parsnips
Pomegranates
Sweet potatoes
Tangerines
Turnips
Winter squash (butternut, spaghetti)

More About the Chef:

Chef Cordell passionately pursues educating others how to build healthy cooking and eating habits for life via cooking classes, grocery store tours, kitchen makeovers, public speaking, corporate wellness training, restaurant consulting, etc. Through his nonprofit work, he looks to offer community based solutions for education of,  and access to, healthier food solutions.

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