Cozy blankets, sparkly snowflakes, 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 are here with some good news: Every meal does not have to revolve around potatoes and onions until April and 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.
Time to head to the cabbage patch, kid! This super-healthy, budget-friendly vegetable is a close cousin to other cold-weather favorites like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and broccoli and cabbage is loaded with vitamins and minerals (Vitamins K and C and folate, in particular), antioxidants, fiber and anti-carcinogenic compounds called glucosinolates and some studies claim that the spherical vegetable can even reduce cholesterol and lower risk of cancer and diabetes.
2. Brussels Sprouts
These trendy sprouts are finally getting their turn in the spotlight and the Brussels sprout, aka cabbage’s mini-me, boasts some of the same health benefits as it’s big bro and like other cruciferous veggies, Brussels sprouts have high levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants that can protect DNA from oxidative damage .
3. Winter Squash
Get ready to taste the gourdy goodness! Acorn, kabocha, butternut and delicata squash are all at their prime during the fall and winter and golden squash flesh is loaded with healthy goodness like carotenoids, Vitamin A, and potassium .
Ideal for flavoring anything from soup, to grain salads, to pasta, to meat, onions are a year-round kitchen all-star and they might make you cry, but onions are actually pretty healthy and the unassuming veggies are low in calories but surprisingly high in vitamin C and fiber and the oils found in onions can lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
5. Pomegranate Seeds
Pomegranates are one of the world’s oldest fruits (Greco-Roman mythology, anyone?) as well as one of the most nutritious and the ruby-colored seeds are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that can help treat heart conditions like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attack, and congestive heart failure.
6. Citrus Fruit
Grab a handful of cheery citrus to last you until summer fruit season and while they’re not so great for your teeth, citrus fruits are loaded with vitamin C and flavonoids, which may reduce risk of cancer and Citrus consumption has also been linked to lower risk of a laundry list of ailments, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, cholera, gingivitis, cataracts, and Crohn’s disease.
Sweet, earthy, and deep red, beets are pretty unique in the vegetable aisle and Beets contain antioxidants called betalains, which can help fight cancer and other degenerative diseases and they are also rich in vitamins A, B, C as well as potassium and folate .
Celeriac is probably the ugly duckling of winter produce and it looks like a misshapen, greenish-white blob covered in little roots and Appetizing, right? But beyond the odd exterior, celeriac boasts a tasty, subtle flavor – somewhere between parsley and celery – and a hearty texture and it’s low in calories, high in fiber, and rich in vitamin C and phosphorus.
9. Dark, Leafy Greens
Trendy kale and flavorful collards have their moment in the sun (ironically) during the winter and these veggies are rich in vitamins A, C, E, and K, as well as iron, manganese, calcium, potassium, and phytochemicals and antioxidants and plus, they are low in calories and versatile enough to fit nearly any dish.
Did your know Carrots is loaded with the antioxidant beta-carotene, a compound that converts to vitamin A in the body and vitamin A is essential for a strong immune system and healthy skin, eyes and mucus membranes and the orange veggies are also loaded with vitamin C, cyanidins, and lutein, which are all antioxidants.
This uncommon green is a little bitter, but adds welcome freshness to late-winter cooking and it is a bit crunchy, like lettuce, and wilts easily, like spinach and It’s a member of the chicory family, so it is also related to endive, radicchio, kale, and chard and Like other greens, escarole is high in folic acid, fiber, and vitamins A and K.