Winter Fruits and Vegetables

Here's our guide to winter's bounty. Find out about the vegetables that are in season now — from chestnuts to kale to rutabagas 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


Artichokes
Avocado
Bok Choy
Broccoli
Broccoli Rabe
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower


Celery Root
Chestnuts
Jerusalem Artichokes
Kale
Lettuce
Parsnips
Radishes


Rhubarb
Rutabaga
Salsify
Snow Peas
Squash (Winter)
Sweet Potatoes
Turnips (White)
Watercress

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

 

Artichokes

artichokes

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of fiber and vitamin C , and a good source of magnesium, folate, copper, potassium and phosphorus.

What To Look For
Select artichokes that feel heavy for their size and have tightly closed buds. Leaves should be soft green or purple. Avoid artichokes that are wilting or drying.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Trim the stem and place artichoke, stem-end down, in water. They'll keep in the refrigerator for a few days. When ready to cook, trim the stem end and the first few bottom leaves of the artichoke. Cut off the top inch of the head to remove the thorny tips of the uppermost leaves. After each cut, rub with lemon to prevent discoloration.

Best Uses Steam for 30 to 45 minutes. Check for doneness by piercing the bottom with a knife; it should slide in easily. Serve immediately with either olive oil or lemon wedges. To serve cold, plunge into ice water to chill thoroughly, drain upside down, and serve with vinaigrette.

Recipe
Steamed Artichokes
Lamb and Artichoke Stew with Lentils
Spit Roasted Rockfish with Tomatoes, Artichokes, Lemon and Rosemary



Avocado

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.

Best Uses
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
Grilled Tuna with Corn and Avocado Relish
Guacamole



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.

Best Uses
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, fiber, calcium, and iron.

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.

Best Uses
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
Broccoli Soup with Lemon Cream
Conchiglie with Broccoli



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.

Best Uses
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.

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.

Best Uses
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 vitamins A and C.

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.

Best Uses
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
Cranberry Beans with Rice and Cabbage
Marinated Coleslaw



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.

Best Uses
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.

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



Celery Root

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.

Best Uses
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.

Recipes
Puree of Winter Vegetables
Celeriac, Rutabaga and Pear Puree



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.

Best Uses
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 and Thyme



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.

Best Uses
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
Spinach Fettuccine and Artichokes



Kale

kale

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamins A and C, calcium, and iron.

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.

Best Uses
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



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.

Best Uses
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.

Best Uses
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



Radishes

radishes

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Nutritional Information
Excellent source of vitamin C.

What To Look For
Look for firm, smooth skins without splits. Radishes can be round or elongated. The attached green tops should have no signs of wilting or discoloration.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Keeps very well in the refrigeration, although the tops should be used within a day or two. To use, scrub well and cut off the ends.

Best Uses
Use in salad or as a garnish. Young green tops also add zest to salads.

Recipes
Relish Tray
Apple-Horseradish Flank Steak
Autumn Roast Beet Salad with Horseradish Cream Dressing



Rhubarb

rhubarb

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Nutritional Information
Good source of calcium, fiber and vitamin C.

What To Look For
Select stems that are long, thin, and fully colored red.

Easy Storage and Preparation
Can be refrigerated for a few days. If the stalks are thick, peel with a vegetable peeler to remove the fibrous strings. The leaves are poisonous.

Best Uses
Rhubarb must be cooked. Use it in fruit soups, compotes, crisps, jams and pies. Good with rich meats such as lamb.

Recipes
Patrick O'Connell's Rhubarb Pizzas
Michael Lomonaco's Strawberry-Rhubarb Shortcake
Roast Pork Loin with Rhubarb Sauce and Onion Relish



Rutabaga

rutabagas

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

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.

Best Uses
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
Celerial, 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.

Best Uses
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.

Best Uses
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



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 of 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.

Best Uses
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.

Best Uses
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
Barbecued Pork Chops with Pecans, Sweet Potato, Sautéed Green Beans, Mushrooms and Onions



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.

Best Uses
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.

Best Uses
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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