Winter Fruits and Vegetables

Here's our guide to the fall harvest. Find out about the vegetables that are in season now — from bok choy to leeks to watercress with our guide from FoodFit founder and CEO Ellen Haas' book Great Adventures in Food. We'll tell you what to look for at the market, how to store the vegetables at home and how to cook them, plus great recipes.


Vegetables
 Avocados
Beans
Beets
Bok Choy
Broccoli
Broccoli Rabe
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower


Celery Root (Celeriac)
Chestnuts
Collards
Garlic
Jerusalem Artichokes
Kale
Leeks
Lettuce
Parsnips


Pumpkin
Rutabaga
Salsify
Snow Peas
Spinach
Squash (Winter)
Sweet Potatoes
Swiss Chard
Turnips
Watercress


see also:  Fall Fruit Guide
Winter Vegetable Guide | Winter Fruit Guide
Spring Vegetable Guide | Spring Fruit Guide
Summer Vegetable Guide | Summer Fruit Guide

Avocados (Fuerte)

advocado

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Nutritional Information
An excellent source of vitamins A, C and E and potassium and a good source of fiber and iron.

What To Look For
Select ones that yield when pressed gently. They should be uniform in color without blemishes or bruises.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Store at room temperature. They will ripen after a couple of days. When ready to use, cut lengthwise around the large pit in the center. Gently twist the two sides apart. Rub the cut surface with lemon to prevent discoloration. Use a spoon to scoop out the flesh.

Tips for Success
Do not cook avocados. Serve in a salad with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Also great mashed with salsa for a quick homemade guacamole.

Recipes
Avocado, Grapefruit and Bibb Salad
Guacamole
Grilled Chicken with Oranges and Avocados



Beans (Fresh Shell)

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin C. Good source of vitamin A and folate.

What To Look For
Choose beans that have a bright color without brown or soft spots. The beans should snap easily when bent. Look for small beans, as large pods may be tough or bitter. Plump seeds should be formed but not bulging.

Easy Storage and Preparation
If there are any strings along the pod's seams, they should be pulled off before cooking. Beans may be left whole, cut lengthwise in thin slivers or cut crosswise on the diagonal. Store in the refrigerator for no more than 5 days.

Best Uses
For one pound of beans, bring 3 quarts water to a boil, add 4 - 5 tsp. salt, and then the beans. Boil for 6 to 12 minutes, depending on their width. Keep the lid off at all times, and taste often for desired crispness. Drain the beans and immediately refresh under cold running water. Toss in skillet with butter, salt, pepper, and herbs for a tastier treat.

Recipes
Lobster and Shell Bean Succotash
Risotto with Fava Beans
Black Bean Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Vinaigrette



Beets

(Red, yellow, white, candy stripe)

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of folate. Good source of potassium and vitamin C.

What To Look For
Firm, smooth roots without splits. Small- to medium-size beets taste best. If possible, buy beets with greens still attached, as they are usually the freshest. The greens are also edible when young.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Remove the tops and refrigerate in plastic bags. The tops will stay fresh for a day or two and can be used as salad greens or sautéed. The beets keep a week or more in the refrigerator. Prepare by scrubbing well. Do not peel.

Best Uses
Put beets in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 30 to 45 minutes. Beets are done when a knife slides in easily. Drain and cool. Slip the skin off. Reheat to serve or use cold in salads. Flavors such as orange, caraway seed, mustard seed, and dill go well with beets.

Recipe
Roasted Beets, Greens and Goat Cheese with Pine Nut Vinaigrette
Fennel Salad with Beets and Oranges with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Beet, New Potato and Green Bean Salad with Salsa Verde



Bok Choy

Bok Choy

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A , and a good source of folate.

What To Look For
Look for dark green, glossy leaves and bright white stalks. Avoid heads with brown spots on the leaves. This discoloration often indicates storage at too low a temperature and results in flavor loss.

Easy Storage and Preparation
It will keep refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to two days. Thoroughly wash and drain. Although baby bok choy can be cooked whole, mature bok choy should be cut for cooking. Trim the leaves from the stalks, slice the stalks crosswise and shred the leaves coarsely.

Tips for Success
Serve raw in salads. To cook, steam or boil the stalks for 2 minutes, then add the leaves and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes until the stalks are tender and the leaves just wilted. Drain and serve. Or, stir-fry stalks in oil for 2 to 4 minutes; add leaves and stir-fry for 2 to 3 more minutes. Good with Asian flavors such as ginger and soy.

Recipes
Shrimp Stir-Fry with Bok Choy, Carrots and Broccoli



Broccoli

brocolli

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Nutritional Information
An excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of folate and fiber.

What To Look For
Select firm stems with heads that are a dark green-purple color. Buds should be closed with no signs of yellow flowers.

Easy Storage and Preparation
It will keep for three days or more if refrigerated. To use, rinse and remove the outer leaves and tough stems. Cut tender stems and florets into even-sized pieces.

Tips for Success
Use raw in salads or as a crudité. To cook, place in boiling salted water for 8 to 12 minutes. Lemon juice, cheese, parsley and dill partner well.

Recipes
Shrimp Stir-Fry with Broccoli
Tagliarini with Smooshed Broccoli, Toasted Pine Nuts and Pecorino
Broccoli Soup with Lemon Cream



Broccoli Rabe

brocolli rabe

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Nutritional Information
Good source of vitamin C and iron.

What To Look For
Pick crisp, tender leaves that are bright in color. Avoid wilted, browning leaves.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Wrap the greens in paper towels and place in a plastic bag to maintain moisture. They will keep refrigerated for two to three days. Before cooking, rinse as many times as necessary to remove sand and dirt, and remove any thick, tough leaves.

Tips for Success
Use raw in salads when leaves are small and tender. Quick cooking is the key when making greens—whether you sauté them in a skillet with a small amount of olive oil until just wilted, or steam them using only the moisture that clings after washing.



Brussels Sprouts

brussels sprouts

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A, folate and potassium.

What To Look For
Choose small sprouts with tight-fitting leaves and no browning or yellowing. Keep an eye out for sprouts still on the stalk; these will be the freshest. Excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A, folate and potassium.

Easy Storage and Preparation
They will last 7 to 10 days in the refrigerator. Before cooking, trim the ends. To help cook the sprout through, use a paring knife to cut an "X" in the stem end.

Tips for Success
Steam over boiling salted water for 8 to 12 minutes. Finish by sautéing in olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. Complementary flavors include mustard seeds, vinegar and bacon.

Recipes
Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Balsamic Vinegar



Cabbage

cabbage

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A.

What To Look For
Find tight, firm, heavy heads with no broken or bruised leaves.

Easy Storage and Preparation
They'll keep up to a week or more in the refrigerator. Leave the outer leaves attached to help retain moisture during storage. Wash, quarter and core when ready to use.

Tips for Success
Use raw in coleslaw or salads. Boil uncovered in salted water for five to seven minutes. Add a touch of butter, parsley and pepper.

Recipes
Shrimp Stir-Fry with Cabbage



Carrots

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin A.

What To Look For
Young, firm, small carrots with the tops still on will be sweet and fresh. Avoid soft or shriveled carrots or those that have splits.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Keep in the refrigerator for a week or more. Remove and discard the tops.

Best Uses
Cook in boiling salted water or steam for 8 to 12 minutes. Cook baby carrots for about 5 minutes. Glaze carrots by cooking, uncovered, in a small amount of stock until the stock has evaporated and the sugars left behind coat the carrots. Flavor with dill or mint.

Recipes
Moroccan Carrots
Carrot-Walnut Cake
Stir-Fried Beef with Sugar Snap Peas and Baby Carrots



Cauliflower

cauliflower

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin C as well as a good source of folate and fiber.

What To Look For
Choose a firm white or cream-colored head with tight florets, bright green leaves and no brown spots.

Easy Storage and Preparation
They will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. Before cooking, remove the leaves and core, and divide florets into even-sized pieces.

Tips for Success
Boil in salted water for 6 to 10 minutes. Serve hot with cheese, bread crumbs, caraway seeds, paprika or parsley; or try it raw in salads.

Recipe
Curried Cauliflower Soup with Parsley Cream
Tagliarini with Smooshed Broccoli, Toasted Pine Nuts and Pecorino



Celery Root

(Celeriac)
celery root

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin C. Good source of calcium and iron

What To Look For
Choose a celery root heavy for its size with unbruised skin. Don't pick roots larger than a softball because they are overgrown and will be woody inside.

Easy Storage and Preparation
The root will keep for a week or more in a cool, dry place. Wash and peel when ready to use.

Tips for Success
It's delicious raw in coleslaw. Try it in stews, braised with your roasts or boiled and added to mashed potatoes for a new flavor.

Recipe
Puree of Winter Vegetables



Chestnuts

chestnuts

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Nutritional Information
Good source of vitamin C.

What To Look For
Look for chestnuts with a glossy brown shell.

Easy Storage and Preparation
They will keep refrigerated in a plastic bag for a few weeks.To prevent the shell from bursting when cooking, make a small "X" on the flat side of chestnut, all the way through the shell.

Tips for Success
To roast, arrange chestnuts in dish in a single layer and roast at 325°F for 20 minutes. Let cool and peel. Add to soups and stews or make candied chestnuts for dessert.

Recipes
Ragout of Chanterelles, Chestnuts and Cipollini Onions with Thyme



Collards (greens)

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin A and C; good source of folate.

What To Look For
Leaves should be crisp, tender, and not overgrown. Bright color.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Keep refrigerated in plastic bags to maintain moisture. Rinse as many times as necessary to remove sand. Remove thick, tough leaves.

Best Uses
Cook in skillet with small amount of olive oil until just wilted, or steam using the moisture that clings to greens after washing.

Recipes

Recipes
Lower-Fat Bitter Greens
Smoked Oyster and Greens Spoon Bread



Garlic

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Nutritional Information
Rich in phytochemicals, particularly allyl sulfides.

What To Look For
Choose firm, dry bulbs with tightly closed cloves and smooth skins. Avoid bulbs with green sprouts.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Store in a cool, well-ventilated place; do not refrigerate.

Best Uses
Whole bulbs can be baked or roasted. Often garlic is separated into cloves, peeled, sliced, minced or crushed and used to flavor a wide variety of dishes.

Recipes
Skinny Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
Herbed Garlic Scented Bread



Jerusalem Artichokes

a.k.a. Sunchokes jerusalem artichokes

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of iron and thiamin ,and a good source of potassium, phosphorus , copper, fiber, vitamin C, and niacin.

What To Look For
Choose the smoothest artichokes with tight-fitting skins of uniform color and firmness. Avoid discoloration or mold.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. They will keep for a few days.

Tips for Success
Serve raw in salads by slicing and tossing immediately in acidic salad dressing. Once cut, the flesh will discolor quickly. To cook, slice the artichokes and stir-fry, sauté, braise, roast or steam. Be careful not to overcook them or they will become mushy.

Recipes
Baked Chicken with Artichokes
Lamb and Artichoke Stew with Lentils
Spinnach Fettuccini and Artichokes



Kale

kale

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A.

What To Look For
Pick crisp, tender leaves that are bright in color.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Wrap the greens in paper towels and place in plastic bags to maintain moisture. They will keep refrigerated for 2 to 3 days. Before cooking, rinse as many times as necessary to remove sand and dirt, and remove any thick, tough leaves.

Tips for Success
Use raw in salads when leaves are small and tender. Quick cooking is the key when making greens — whether you sauté them in a skillet with a small amount of olive oil until just wilted, or steam them using only the moisture that clings after washing.

Recipes
Farro-Kale Risotto
Kale and Potato Soup
Garlicky Kale



Leeks

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Nutritional Information
Good source of vitamin C.

What To Look For
A firm white root end. Crisp, straight, bright green stems.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Keep in the refrigerator for 5 days or more. Both the white bulb end and the green stems are edible. Remove the roots. Wash and remove any loose skin.

Best Uses
Leeks must be fully cooked.

Recipes
Potato and Leek Soup
Steamed Jumbo Asparagus with Wilted Leek and Cucumber Vinaigrette



Lettuce

lettuce

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Nutritional Information
Dark greens are a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C.

What To Look For
Pick the freshest greens with crisp leaves, free of brown spots on the leaves or stems.

Easy Storage and Preparation
To store, remove any browning leaves and take off rubber bands or metal ties. Unwashed and stored in the refrigerator, lettuces will keep for 3 to 4 days. Separate the leaves by hands and place in bowl with cold water. Swish leaves around and remove from water, leaving dirt in bowl behind. Repeat until the water is clear. Drain and dry.

Tips for Success
Different varieties of lettuce mixed together make a delicious salad on their own. Lightly toss greens in simple vinaigrette to allow these flavors to stand on their own.

Recipes
Greens with Apples, Walnuts and Blue Cheese
Roasted Beets, Greens and Goat Cheese
Avocado and Grapefruit Salad with Bibb Lettuce



Parsnips

parsnip

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin C and folate.

What To Look For
Look for well-shaped, small, firm roots. Large, older parsnips require more peeling and have a woody core.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Will keep for a week or more if refrigerated.

Tips for Success
Cut parsnips into cubes and use them in soups or stews. They can be exceptional roasted or boiled, or mashed and mixed with mashed potatoes for a sweeter, richer taste.

Recipes
Puree of Winter Vegetables
Roasted Root Vegetables
Potato and Parsnip Puree



Pumpkin

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A , and a good source of folate.

What To Look For
Look for "pie pumpkins" or Jack-Be-Little pumpkins; they're smaller and easier to cook. Pick ones that feel heavy for their size, with thick, hard skin and no blemishes.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Pumpkins keep for one month in a cool, dry place or up to three months in the refrigerator.

Tips for Success
Halve, remove seeds, sprinkle flesh with salt, pepper and olive oil, and roast at 350°F for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender. Great in soups and risotto. Roast the seeds separately and sprinkle with salt for a delicious snack.

Recipes
Pumpkin Bisque
St. Supery Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Squash Risotto



Rutabaga

rutabagas

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamins A and C.

What To Look For
Choose rutabaga with smooth, thick skin that is yellow to tan in color. It should feel heavy for its size.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Rutabagas keep in a cool, dry place for a month or longer. To cook, rinse and peel the skin with a paring knife.

Tips for Success
Cut into cubes and boil in salted water for 10 to 15 minutes. You can mash and serve them alone, or add to mashed potatoes for a richer flavor. Serve with strongly flavored meats, such as lamb or game.

Recipes
Roasted Root Vegetables
Celeriac, Rutabaga and Pear Puree



Salsify

Salsify

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Nutritional Information
Good source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, riboflavin and potassium.

What To Look For
Select firm, tapered roots with black or white skin. Salsify has a mild flavor similar to artichoke hearts, asparagus or oysters.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Wrap in plastic and it will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Before using, remove the tops and thin skin.

Tips for Success
Boil in salted water for 10 to 15 minutes. Mash plain or use in stews. Season with chives, parsley and pepper.

Recipes
Salsify and Apple Sauté



Snow Peas

snow peas

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin C.

What To Look For
Select bright green, firm peas. Avoid ones that are rubbery.

Easy Storage and Preparation
They will keep for a few days in the refrigerator. Remove the string before cooking.

Tips for Success
Boil uncovered in salted water for 1 to 2 minutes, until tender but crisp. Or, steam over a couple of inches of water for 2 to 5 minutes. Add to stir-fry with ginger or garlic, or chill and toss in salads.

Recipes
Salmon, Snap Peas and New Potatoes with Mustard Vinaigrette
Stir-Fried Beef with Sugar Snap Peas and Baby Carrots



Spinach

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin A. Good source of vitamin C and folate.

What To Look For
Firm, fresh, crisp deep green leaves. Should be no blemishes, insect damage, or wilting.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Will keep for 1 or 2 days if refrigerated. Remove the central ribs if they are large and tough. Wash well in several changes of water to remove sand. Use raw or cooked.

Best Uses
Use small raw spinach leaves in salads with mushrooms, red onion, and a sprinkle of chopped egg. Steam, using only the water that clings to the leaves after washing. Season with shallots, nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

Recipes
Spinach, Orange and Almond Salad
Spinach with Chickpeas
Greek Frittata with Spinach, Oregano and Feta Cheese



Squash (Winter)

winter squash

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin A , vitamin C, potassium and fiber and a good source of folate and thiamin.

What To Look For
Pick squash that feel heavy for its size. The skin should be thick and hard without blemishes.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Will keep for a month or more in a cool, dry place.

Tips for Success
Halve, remove seeds and sprinkle with salt, pepper and olive oil. Roast in 350°F for 30 to 45 minutes until the flesh is tender. Great alone or added to soups and risotto.

Recipes
Nora Poullion's Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Pumpkin Squash Risotto
Melted Golden Squash



Sweet Potatoes

sweet potatoes

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C and a good source of vitamin B-6, fiber, copper and potassium.

What To Look For
Find firm, medium-sized potatoes with tapered ends. Avoid ones with blemishes, sprouts, or any sign of decay.

Easy Storage and Preparation
They will keep for several weeks when stored outside the refrigerator in a cool, dark and dry place. Scrub well before using.

Tips for Success
Bake unpeeled at 350°F for 30 to 45 minutes. Or, peel, cut in half, place in a pot with cold water and bring to a boil. Boil about 20 to 30 minutes, depending on size, drain and mash.

Recipes
Sweet Potato Puree

Sweet Potato Souffle

BBQ Pork Chops with Pecans, Sweet Potato, Sautéed Green Beans, Mushrooms and Onions


Swiss Chard

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Nutritional Information
Good source of vitamins A and C and iron.

What To Look For
Crisp, tender leaves that are not overgrown. Bright color. Available year round, but tend to be tough and woody in hot summers.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Keep refrigerated in plastic bags to maintain moisture. Rinse as many times as necessary to remove sand. Remove thick, tough leaves.

Best Uses
Use raw in salads when small and tender. Cook in skillet with small amount of olive oil until just wilted, or steam using the moisture that clings to greens after washing.

Recipes
Magical Greens
Herbed Lemony Swiss Chard



Turnips (White)

turnips

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin C.

What To Look For
Choose ones with smooth white and purple skin. They should be small to medium in size, about 2 to 3 inches in diameter, and should feel heavy.

Easy Storage and Preparation
They will keep for a week or more if refrigerated. To use, cut off the root and greens, and peel.

Tips for Success
Cook in boiling salted water for 15 to 25 minutes. Serve mashed, glazed or in stews. Complements stronger meats and game. Good with caraway seed, chives, parsley and pepper.

Recipes
Caramelized Turnips

Four Seasons Vegetable Burgers
Bitter Greens



Watercress

Watercress

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C.

What To Look For
Look for crisp stems with glossy, dime-sized, dark green leaves.

Easy Storage and Preparation
They will keep in the refrigerator for three to four days. Before use, wash thoroughly to remove any dirt. Drain and dry.

Tips for Success
Toss in salads to add a different flavor. Or, use on its own as a salad base mixed with apples or beets and a strong cheese, such as blue cheese.

Recipes
Watercress and Endive Salad with Winter Fruits
Watercress Soup with Lemon Cream
Watercress and Mustard Sauce




NOTE:
An excellent source contains more than 20 percent of the Daily Value for that nutrient. A good source contains between 10 and 19 percent of the Daily Value.

   Source: Copyright © 2000 by Ellen Haas.
From the book "Great Adventures in Food" By Ellen Haas.
Used with permission of St. Martin's Press, LLC.

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