Comfort food, with zest.
And just like that, winter is upon us. It’s time to start focusing on a new phase of nourishment — winter fruits and vegetables. Think root vegetables and healthy comfort food warming the body from the inside out. Amidst the craze of the holidays, winter is an opportunity to slow down, get back to the basics, and opt for foods that feed the soul. In ancient times, time was spent in front of a fire, eating foods harvested from nature. Instead of engaging in strenuous activities, we embraced several months of peaceful rest. Spiritually speaking, winter is about self-examination. It’s an opportune time to lean into positive change, inspiration, and dream up new ideas. Speaking of new ideas, let’s dive into what fruits and vegetables are in season in winter. In turn, you’ll be inspired to dig into winter-themed recipes while adding variety to your fridge.
Ayurvedic winter diet.
This time of the year, our bodies crave nutrient-dense, filling foods — black bean chili and Thai chicken soup. Because of the cold and dry atmosphere, both our external and internal bodies become dry. Other than deeply rich moisturizers, consider emphasizing Kapha foods. These are warm and oily. Ironically, diet culture promotes raw foods and smoothies as a post-holiday detox, but Ayurveda encourages the opposite. Instead of salads and cold foods, nourish the inside of your body with warm, cooked foods. Incorporate extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and ghee.
Rather than sip on cold or iced drinks, go for warm or hot beverages (room temperature is also fine). Start your mornings off with a comforting tea, rich in spices like ginger, cinnamon, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, tulsi, cardamom, black pepper, clove, or an immune-boosting turmeric latte. Flavorful and functional, this latte will help increase heat and circulation within your body. Soups, dals, chili, and stews are all hearty and healthy meals for winter.
What foods should you eat in the winter?
According to traditional Chinese medicine, eating seasonally and locally is key. With that in mind, here are micro and macronutrients to focus on throughout the winter:
Dates, figs, tangerines, cooked apples, apricots, and lemons
Cooked spinach, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, and kale
Onions, leeks, winter squash, pumpkin, turnips, potatoes, and sweet potatoes
Rice, buckwheat, rye, amaranth, and oats
Macadamia nuts, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, ghee, butter, soft cheeses, cottage cheese, warm milk, flaxseed oil, and olive oil
Brown and red lentils, tofu, tempeh, and miso
Beef, chicken, lamb, and venison
Ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper
Along with root vegetables and whole grains, warming herbs like ginger and cinnamon are loaded with antioxidants to boost your immune system. Warming proteins, like beef and lamb, are best cooked slow and low. Overall, a diet of seasonal veggies and fruit, high-quality proteins, grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes is essential for overall health. Aim to eat your protein first and your starchy carbs after, as this can help with managing blood sugar.
Grounding through winter root vegetables.
If you want to align with the winter season, it’s best to incorporate as many root vegetables as possible. Root vegetables are great for grounding because they grow underground. As their name suggests, root vegetables have roots that extend deep down within the earth. These roots anchor the plant in place, providing a strong foundation for its growth. Sweet potatoes, carrots, turnips, onions, parsnips, turnips, garlic, radishes, and rutabagas are all root vegetables. These can all be cooked in warm dishes throughout the fall and winter seasons, aiding in satiation and energy.
What fruits and vegetables are in season in the winter?
With a wonderful repertoire of colors, tastes, and textures, there is a variety of fruits and veggies in season in the winter to add to your grocery cart. Below, you’ll find 12 fruits and vegetables in season in winter and delicious recipes to cook with them.
How to buy avocados.
Ripe, ready-to-eat avocados typically yield to a gentle pressure. They may have a darker color but color can vary so it’s best to go by feel. It will feel slightly soft but not feel mushy. Additionally, if the stem comes off easily and shows green flesh underneath, the avocado is ripe and ready to eat. Always check under the stem. If it’s brown, the avocado is likely too ripe.
This fruit and greens salad is bursting with flavor and vitamin C — enjoy all winter long.
How to buy beets.
Beets that are small or medium-size are more tender than large ones. They should be heavy for their size. If the greens are still attached, they should be brightly colored and look fresh.
Mushroom and beet bolognese is a hearty, delicious, and comforting vegan dinner recipe that will satisfy anyone at the table. Slight creaminess from cashew cream fills the sauce out while mushrooms and lentils make the bolognese base slightly meaty.
How to buy Brussels sprouts.
Look for bright green heads that are firm and heavy for their size. The leaves should be tightly packed. Avoid Brussels sprouts with yellowing leaves, a sign of age, or black spots, which could indicate fungus. Smaller Brussels sprouts are usually sweeter and more tender than larger ones.
Constantly eating oven-roasted Brussels sprouts? This recipe is quick, easy, and delicious. This dish is a slight update on the basic roasted Brussels. It combines fennel-toasted breadcrumbs and perfect soft-boiled eggs for an impressive side or lunch.
How to buy celery.
When buying celery, look for firm, tightly packed stalks. They should have medium-thick ribs that are crisp enough to break easily. If the stalks feel rubbery, they are no longer fresh. Also, check the leaves and make sure they are not wilted and have a vibrant green color.
This shaved fennel and celery salad come together quickly. It has such a delicious light lemon vinaigrette and a wonderful crunch. It’s the perfect side salad for rich and hearty dishes like pasta or braised short ribs.
How to buy collard greens.
Good collard greens are firm and crisp. This means they are relatively fresh and have been stored properly in the store. Pick up the greens and bend them a little bit. They should be firm and not floppy.
A delicious tempeh collard wrap with hummus, slices of baked sweet potato, green pepper, red onion, and cranberries. These are light yet hearty and packed with protein and fiber.
How to buy grapefruit.
A ripe grapefruit will be slightly red in color. The deeper the color, the more intense the flavor. Look for grapefruits that feel plump with fairly smooth skin. it should also feel heavy for its size. This is an indication that it’s juicy. Grapefruit will keep at room temperature for at least a week. However, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to two months.
Even though you can eat grapefruit right from the peel, but why not surprise your loved ones with delicious grapefruit loaf? Made with Greek yogurt and fresh grapefruit, it’s tart yet sweet and perfect with a cup of tea.
How to buy kale.
Despite different varieties, kale leaves should be firm and deeply colored, with stems that are moist and strong. Make sure the leaves are not browning or yellowing, and they are free from small holes.
How to buy kiwi.
In addition to avoiding blemishes or wrinkles on the skin, the only way to pick a good kiwi is by feel. Press the kiwi gently with your thumb. If it yields to slight pressure, the fruit is ripe. If it still feels hard, the fruit is not ready to eat.
Filled with clementines, kiwi, pears, apples, and pomegranate, then tossed in sweet-tart honey-lime poppy seed dressing, this is truly the best fruit salad. These are all fruits that are in season in the fall and winter. When tossed with the most delicious dressing, you’ll always want it on hand. This is a colorful healthy addition to any meal.
How to buy leeks.
When choosing leeks at the market, they should be straight and firm with white necks and dark green leaves. Their bulbs should be pristine (neither cracked or bruised), and the leek should not be wilting or yellow. The thicker the leek, the more fibrous it is. Therefore, try to buy leeks that are more thin than thick.
This healthy potato leek soup is exactly where we need to be right now — it’s rich, creamy, comforting, and all things bright, fresh, and light.
How to buy potatoes.
Choose small to medium-size firm potatoes with smooth skin and no bruises, cracks, or sprouts. Avoid potatoes with wrinkled skins, cut surfaces, soft or dark spots, decayed areas (usually at the ends), or sunken spots. If possible, purchase potatoes that are fairly clean but unwashed.
Look no further than this mashed potatoes recipe, it’s incredibly buttery and creamy — this easy-to-make side dish is the perfect addition to Thanksgiving dinner.
How to buy turnips.
Choose small turnips, which will be the youngest, with the sweetest flavor and best texture. They should be heavy for their size and firm, without any cuts. If the greens are attached, they should be brightly colored and fresh. Turnips will keep, tightly wrapped in the refrigerator, for up to two weeks.
This turnips recipe turns these humble root veggies into crispy tender, caramelized bites. They taste heavenly, like a sweet carrot mixed with a hearty roasted potato.
How to buy winter squash.
Like all squashes, look for a squash that feels heavy for its size. Ripe delicata squash, for example, is yellow in color with green stripes along the ribs. It should be firm. Avoid squash that is very ripe in color (they’re unripe) or has soft spots or holes.
Packed with chopped kale, this healthy harvest salad recipe has roasted kabocha squash, colorful pomegranate seeds, and toasted pecans. Tossed with a super delicious maple balsamic dressing, it’s the perfect fall and winter salad.
Eating seasonally supports our health-promoting microbiome — the abundance of good bacteria that resides in our digestive system, and all over, can help your overall health including immune health, digestive health, skin health, blood sugar balance, weight management and so much more. Not only is eating seasonally better for your health but also tastes better, better for the environment, and is a lot cheaper.