January 18, 2022

Eat Fresh This Winter

With In-Season Fruits & Vegetables

Eating in-season produce means you’re eating fruits and vegetables harvested and sold at peak ripeness, often from local farms. Why should you eat in-season? Here are just a few benefits:

It tastes better. Produce picked at peak ripeness is often tastier than produce picked early and shipped.
It benefits the local economy. When you are eating seasonally, you’re usually purchasing local produce, which supports the farmers and markets in your community.
It’s better for the environment. Local, seasonal produce doesn’t have to travel as far, which means it doesn’t contribute as many carbon emissions. 

Shop local farmers markets for eating in-season produceFinding local produce might seem tricky, especially in the winter, but there are various places you can purchase it. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Farmers markets – many also have an indoor winter market with local products.
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) – these programs connect local farms to consumers.
  • Locally owned grocers and co-ops these markets are more likely to source local products than chain grocers.

If you’re not sure where to find any of the above in your community, use the USDA Local Food Directories. There are several searchable directories that help locate farmers markets, CSAs, food hubs, and on-farm markets. You can access these at www.ams.usda.gov/services/local-regional/food-directories-listings. Find what produce is in season near you at seasonalfoodguide.org.

Now that you have an idea of where to find it in your neighborhood, here’s an overview of seasonal winter produce across the US.*

Fruits

Vegetables

Apples Beets
Avocados Brussels Sprouts
Bananas Cabbage
Grapefruit Carrots
Kiwifruit Celery
Lemons Collard Greens
Limes Herbs
Oranges Kale
Pears Leeks
Pineapple Onions
Pumpkin Parsnips
Winter Squash Potatoes
  Rutabagas
  Sweet Potatoes & Yams
  Swiss Chard
  Turnips

* snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide

Now let’s take these in-season veggies and make something delicious for dinner!

Oats-Lentil and Chicken Soup

Submitted by Marlene Andersen | BetterLife Member | Wisconsin

Cooking BetterLife member soup recipe with fresh produce12 c of water, divided
3 lbs chicken, cut in quarters & skinned
2 c shredded cabbage
1 c chopped onion
1 c diced carrots
1 c diced turnips
1 c lentils, rinsed & picked over
1 c oat groats (substitute brown rice as needed)
1/4 c chopped parsley
1 tsp dried dill weed
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Place 10 cups of water and chicken in large soup pot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; simmer uncovered for 1 hour. Add cabbage, onion, carrots, turnips, lentils, and groats. Simmer uncovered for 45 minutes longer. Remove chicken from pot and set aside. Stir in remaining 2 cups water, parsley, dill, salt, and pepper. Simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Reheat chicken in soup or serve as part of main course. Serves 8.

Potato Soup

Submitted by Crystal Kent | BetterLife Member | Nebraska

6 potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 leeks, chopped
2 onions, chopped
1 rib celery, sliced
4 chicken bouillon cubes
1 T dried parsley flakes
5 c water
1 T salt and pepper to taste
1/3 c butter
1 (13-oz) can evaporated milk
Sprinkle of chives

Combine all ingredients, except milk and chives, in slow cooker. Cover. Cook on low 10-12 hours, or 3-4 hours on high. Add milk and chives before serving.

Citrus Carrots and Sprouts

Submitted by Maria Shebeta | BetterLife Member | Iowa

Eating in-season produce during the winter months1 lb fresh Brussels sprouts
1 lb fresh baby carrots
1/4 c butter or margarine, melted
1 T grated orange peel
1 T minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp salt
5-6 drops hot pepper sauce

Place Brussels sprouts and carrots in a large saucepan with a small amount of water; cover and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients. Drain vegetables; add butter mixture and toss to coat.

Rustic Chicken & Root Vegetable Soup/Stew

Submitted by Pamela Kotval | BetterLife Member | Minnesota

2 T olive oil
12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, well-trimmed and cut into chunks
2 c onion, chopped
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 c dry white wine
1 T fresh thyme, chopped
1 T fresh rosemary, chopped
2 lg boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 lg parsnips, peeled and cut into ½-inch thick rounds
1 med Butternut squash peeled and cut into 1 ½-inch cubes
3 lg carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch thick rounds
5 c canned low-salt chicken broth, 3 (14-oz.) cans
3/4 c whipping cream
2 T cornstarch

Heat oil in large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add chicken and cook until brown on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer chicken to a large bowl and set aside. Remove all but 2 tablespoons drippings from pot; add onion and sauté over medium heat until golden (about 8 minutes). Add garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add wine, thyme, and rosemary and simmer until wine evaporates (about 4 minutes). Return chicken to pot. Arrange potatoes, parsnips, squash, and carrots over chicken. Pour broth over all. Cover pot and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender (about 30 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, carefully transfer chicken and vegetables to a large, clean bowl. Boil liquid in pot until reduced to 3 cups (about 10 minutes). Mix cream and cornstarch in a medium bowl and stir into liquid in pot. Simmer until thickened to a sauce consistency (about 5 minutes). Return chicken and vegetables to pot, bring to a simmer, stirring gently. Serve with a sprinkle of fresh thyme as a garnish if desired.