Photo of assorted roasted vegetables including shaved carrots, lemons and assorted root vegetables

What produce is in season during the winter months?

Have you ever wondered why some fruits and vegetables cost less during different seasons? It’s because produce is seasonal. Do you know what’s in season during the winter?

Produce is more affordable when in season because it is easier and cheaper to grow. Seasonal produce may also travel a shorter distance to get to the store if it is grown more locally. This also makes it more sustainable and nutritious than out of season produce.

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So next time you decide to buy oranges in January because they cost less, just remember, you are shopping seasonally.

Citrus fruits

Citrus is a great acidic addition to any dish. Here are a few ways you can use citrus this winter.

  • Lemons: Add to a chicken or fish dish to enhance flavor. Try this recipe for Cucumber Greek Salad developed by OSF dietitians.
  • Oranges: Use in a winter salad or eat it as a snack. Try this Citrus Salad from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
  • Grapefruit: Cut in half and eat it as a snack or for breakfast. It can also be a great addition to a salad like this recipe for Grapefruit Spinach Salad from the USDA.
  • Cranberries: Use to make a cranberry crisp, which is a healthy dessert option. Try this USDA recipe for Winter Crisp.

Cruciferous vegetables

Most cruciferous vegetables are high in folate, fiber and vitamin K. These vitamins and minerals are good for keeping your cells healthy, your bowels regular and your bones healthy.

These vegetables can be a great side dish for most dinners. Here are a couple of classics to try out with dinner.

Winter squash

Squash is a great option because it’s so easy to use and can be used in a lot of unique ways.

  • Acorn squash: Can be roasted or mashed. This OSF recipe for Stuffed Acorn Squash is a meal in itself.
  • Butternut squash: Roast it as an addition in many dishes. It can also be pureed into a soup like in this Roasted Butternut Squash Soup recipe from OSF dietitians.
  • Spaghetti squash: It’s great roasted and shredded and used as a noodle replacement in pasta dishes like this OSF recipe for Sweet and Hearty Squash Spaghetti.

Other favorites

In addition to year-round favorites, such as potatoes, bananas, apples, pears, celery and onions, these other seasonal picks add flavor and color to dishes.

  • Parsnips: These can be roasted or sautéed and used like a carrot. This USDA recipe for Roasted Root Vegetables would complement any dinner.
  • Leeks: Found in salads, soups and other savory dishes, it’s used like an onion like in this OSF recipe for Barley, Butternut and Black Bean Salad.
  • Beets: Can be roasted and used in soups, pasta dishes or salads like in this OSF recipe for Winter Root Salad.

Try new foods

Don’t be afraid to try a new fruit or vegetable. There are many resources out there to help you use these fruits and vegetables. Explore your options by searching for recipes and preparation tips on the internet. Cooking with others in your household can be a great activity.