How to Eat Seasonally in the Winter

eatseasonally.jpg

It's easy to eat seasonally in the summer when there's fresh fruit and veggies galore. The farmer's markets are packed because it's beautiful out, and the gardens are blooming. As we head into the fall and winter seasons, many farmer's markets close up shop for the year, and people return to the grocery store for their shopping.

Don't give up all your seasonal eating, though! It's totally possible to eat seasonally all year round. I'm part of a winter CSA that provides local, organic veggies all winter long, mostly root veggies but also broccoli, brussels sprouts, and greens, and you can find year-round meat CSAs for local meat. Some states offer winter farmer's markets indoors (or outdoors depending where you're located). In the past, we naturally ate seasonally and locally because you couldn't find tomatoes in January, or bananas in New England. Now, we can find foods shipped from all around the world in the grocery store all year long, but we ignore the local, nutrient-rich, seasonal options.

So, what's actually seasonal in the winter months?

Where I live in New England, it's winter for pretty much half the year. On a side note, I really hate the cold but love the snow (& snowboarding), so I deal with it and stay bundled up. As you can imagine, those beautiful green veggies are not popping their heads up through the snowy ground.

My wonderful winter CSA (Full Moon Farm for Vermonters) is filled with:

  • Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes
  • Winter Squash
  • Turnips
  • Parsnips
  • Rutabagas
  • Winter Radishes
  • Celeriac
  • Winter Greens
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Onions & Leeks
  • Garlic
  • Cabbage & more!

1. Embrace those Root Veggies

root veggies

If you were to see my fridge & pantry, it's stocked full of root veggies. These root veggies are often ignored and forgotten about, and it's only really the butternut squash that gets all the attention. Let's give these root veggies a chance!

Root veggies offer immune-boosting support during the winter when we need it most with colds and flus spreading around like wildfire. Beets are nutrition powerhouses. Onions & garlic are delicious sulfur-rich veggies that are also prebiotics to feed our gut flora. When we eat local, seasonal veggies, it is a sustainable option, and they're often more delicious than the store bought veggies that travel across the country.

Roast up a big pan of root veggies weekly to throw in your lunches, or munch on as snacks. If you've always done sweet potato fries, try parsnip fries. Don't worry, my fantastic food blogger friends have you covered with recipes that will make your winter veggies taste delicious!

Recipes

2. Keep your Crockpot Stocked

Winter is crockpot season, and that's a great thing. There's nothing better than throwing random veggies from your fridge, a hunk of meat, and a few spices into a pot, letting it cook itself, and eating it for dinner.

Use your crockpot to slow-cook meats, or make soups, stews, or chilis. Whip up a batch of bone broth to keep your immune system and gut happy and healthy all winter long. You can experiment with warming spices like curry or chili powder.

Find some local meats, or even a hunter who can provide venison, and cook up the less-tender cuts in the crockpot until they are super tender and delicious. A little red wine in there never hurts, too...

Recipes:

3. Ferment your Food

I'm not sure about you, but I don't particularly love boiled cabbage. Ferment it into sauerkraut, though, and I'll eat it with every meal. Homemade or unpasteurized fermented veggies are full of probiotics for a healthy gut. When veggies are fermented, different beneficial compounds are created that may make sauerkraut healthier than non-fermented cabbage. In sauerkraut, a compound called isothiocynates is created with fermentation, which may have cancer-protective activity.

Cabbage isn't the only veggie you can ferment, though. Start with sauerkraut, then branch out into the wonderful world of fermented veggies - carrots, beets (kvass), cauliflower, and more.

Recipes

4. Try a New Veggie

Eat Local

Honestly, do you regularly cook rutabagas or turnips? Last year, one of my roomies made rutabagas for our Friendsgiving, and we were the only ones who ate it (even though, it was delicious!). The winter is the perfect time to try some of these ignored veggies because they're seasonal.

Roast up a new-to-you squash, try a different variety of potato or sweet potato, or try a new root veggie like turnips.

Now, get to your indoor farmer's market, pick up the strangest looking veggie, and experiment!

What's your Favorite Winter Veggie?