What’s in Season for December?

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Happy December! The holiday season is in full swing, winter officially starts later this month and we could all cozy up to a bowl of delicious soup. While you’re at the grocery store, make sure to pick up some of these in-season fruits and veggies.

Knowing what fresh produce items are in season when you head to the grocery store can not only save you money but also means that you’ll be enjoying fruits and veggies at their peak!

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive. Planning meals around in-season fresh produce is one of the easiest ways to save on groceries. Click on each of the listed items for tips on how to pick, prepare and store these seasonal fruits and veggies, along with tasty recipe ideas.

What’s in Season for December:

Apples are a fall staple. With so many varieties, this fruit can easily go sweet or savory and enjoyed as a snack, dessert, on a salad – the possibilities are endless! Check out these 40 Apple Recipes for Fall or this handy guide to apple varieties so you know which to use for snacking, cooking or baking.

Avocados

Avocado lovers can rejoice – this favorite food is available year-round! Whether you’re topping toast, swapping in for a healthier dessert (hello, Dark Chocolate Avocado Brownies!) or whipping up a bowl of guacamole, you can pick up avocados in stores all year.

Bananas

This favorite fruit is in season year-round making it easy to eat as a snack or add to smoothies, muffins, pancakes and turn into “nice” cream. Fun fact: the average American eats 28 pounds of bananas per year!

Beets get a bad rep due to their earthy taste, but roasting them brings out their natural sweetness and makes them perfect for adding to salads, blending into smoothies and more.

Bok Choy

Bok choy is a type of Chinese cabbage with a mild flavor that’s delicious both raw and cooked. While bok choy is usually available year-round, it’s at its peak in colder months. Try it in a stir-fry, salad, soup, or this homemade Instant Pot Chicken Ramen!

This veggie is full of vitamins and nutrients your body needs. Fresh broccoli is available year-round and can be added to almost any meal. Chop and add to a salad or turn into a broccoli slaw, steam or roast for an easy side dish, or toss into pasta salads, stir-fry, cornbread muffins and more.

Brussels sprouts have made a serious comeback the last few years, and they’re a holiday staple. My favorite way to prepare them in by simply tossing in olive oil, salt and pepper and roasting them in the oven, which brings out their natural sweetness. If you weren’t a fan of “stinky” Brussels sprouts as a kid, try them this way!

Cabbage is full of Vitamins K, C and B6, along with a whole list of other nutrients. Look for firm heads of cabbage with crisp leaves and a nice luster. Turn into a delicious coleslaw or roast and add to this Rainbow Buddha Bowl for a fun dinner.

Carrots aren’t just for Bugs Bunny! This kid-favorite veggie can simply be served with a side of ranch for dipping, roasted (bringing out a natural sweetness), steamed, or shredded and added to muffins, soups, mac n cheese, meatballs and more.

Talk about a comeback veggie! Cauliflower is taking the culinary world by storm and popping up in everything from pizza crust to fried rice. This versatile veggie can be used to make pesto, added to mashed potatoes for a lighter dish, turned into savory waffles or used to replace rice in classic casseroles.

Celery

This crunchy veggie is best known by kids as the base of Ants on a Log, but can also be used in many different ways to add flavor and texture to dishes. Chop and add to a potato salad, use as a base for soups, add crunch to salads and more.

Citrus

Fresh citrus like grapefruit, oranges, tangerines and mandarins are in season! As an excellent source of Vitamin C, citrus can help keep those pesky colds away or try your hand at one of these 16 Kid-Friendly Citrus Recipes!

Cranberries are a holiday staple and ad brightness to any dish. Ripe cranberries should be slightly opaque with a scarlet or fire-engine red color. Look for firm cranberries that give slightly when squeezed. Reduce cranberries for a delicious topping for chicken or turkey, bake into this Apple & Cranberry Crisp or serve as a classic cranberry sauce.

Greens

Fresh greens like kale, spinach, lettuce, and many others are the basis for so many tasty recipes like salads or for pumping up nutrition in smoothies, soups, casseroles, pasta dishes and more.

Kiwi

This little brown fruit was named after New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi. Fuzzy and brown on the outside, bright green or yellow on the inside, this fruit adds color to any dish. Make these Fruity Pita Sandwiches or toss in a fruit salad for family gatherings.

Leeks

Leeks have a mild, onion-like taste and are related to onions, garlic, shallots and chives. Make sure to thoroughly rinse leeks and pay fry with a paper towel before consuming. You can roast them, add them to a salad, use as a garnish for soups, add to casseroles and much more.

Lemons & Limes

Both lemons and limes are in season year-round and are great for adding flavor to dishes. Juice and use for a fresh, homemade salad dressing, use season chicken, fish or veggies, or combine to add zing to these Baked Avocado Fries!

Mango

Look for fresh mangos that give slightly with squeezed gently, these ones will be ripe and ready to eat! Keep unripe mango stored on the counter until ripe. Blend into these smoothie popsicles, added to a tangy stir fry, or enjoyed in a fresh salad.

Mushrooms

Did you know Mushrooms are the only natural food source of Vitamin D? Mushrooms are so versatile, you can blend and add to tacos or burgers, used as a base for these Pizza Stuffed Mushrooms or added to easy weeknight dinners like this Asian Chicken Stir Fry.

Parsnips

Parsnips are a root veggie, closely related to the carrots. In fact, they look just like pale carrots! We love to roast them to bring out their natural sweetness, but they can also be pureed for a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes.

Pears

Pears are a fall staple and come in over 3,000 varieties. When selecting pears at the store, remember to Check the Neck. Apply gentle pressure to the neck of the pear with your thumb. If it yields, it’s ripe! Great for snacking, desserts, smoothies and more.

Pomegranates are rich in antioxidants. While they may look difficult to seed, it’s actually fairly easy to do (watch here). The arils are perfect for snacking, adding to salads or dressing up avocado toast!

With more than 600 types of potatoes sold in the US, the possibilities are endless. While potatoes sometimes get a bad rep, skin-on potatoes are full of Vitamin C, potassium and Vitamin B6. Whether you’re looking for healthy ways to top a baked potato, different ways to season roasted potatoes or just healthy potato recipes, we’ve got you covered.

Rutabagas

You may not be too familiar with this root veggie, but don’t let that scare you! Like most root veggies, they’re delicious roasted. Check out this post to see how easy they are to roast + grab a few yummy recipe ideas.

Strawberries

Florida strawberry season is in full swing! This favorite fruit has endless possibilities beyond just snacking. Blend into muffins, make the perfect smoothie, add to a delicious fruit salsa or top off your pancakes.

Sweet Onions

Onions are a staple in our kitchen and we use them in multiple meals each week. While I still haven’t mastered cutting onions without crying, we can’t deny they’re essential to adding flavor to everything from soups and chili to meatballs and breakfast burritos.

Sweet potatoes are available year-round, but they’re in peak season (and invading your Pinterest feed) during the fall and winter months. Sweet potatoes are a good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, manganese and fiber. Mashed them for a tasty vegetarian quesadilla, bake them as chips, roast as part of a sheet pan dinner or add to a breakfast parfait (yes, really!).

Turnips are a member of the cabbage family and are high in Vitamins B & C. They have a slightly bitter taste so pair it up with a sweet vegetable or meat dish like sweet potatoes, onions or a glazed pork. Check out a few tasty recipe ideas here.

Winter squash, like acorn squash, butternut squash and spaghetti squash, are all in peak season. We love to roast winter squashes to bring out their natural sweetness. You can also chop and saute for a delicious one-pot meal, or use spaghetti squash as a delicious pasta substitute.

Man, it’s cold outside! It’s below freezing in Oklahoma this morning, so Cookie is snuggled up next to my feet. I suppose the cold season isn’t all bad—now’s the time for slow-cooked stews, roasted winter vegetables (my favorite!) and baked holiday treats. The growing season has come to an end across most of the northern states, but I’ve rounded up the vegetables and fruits you might be able to find locally or from nearby states below.

Thanks again to Becky for letting me base this resource on her “Eat Seasonal” monthly seasonal produce lists. Tag your seasonal produce and recipe pics #eatseasonal on Instagram so we can go check them out!

Beets

I’m slowly changing my tune about beets, but I still don’t have any beet recipes on the blog. Beets are tremendously earthy and can be eaten fresh, cooked or roasted. Some (like the golden variety) are pretty sweet. Beets elsewhere:

  • Baked Rosemary Beet Chips by Minimalist Baker (featured above!)
  • Beet Bourguignon by Green Kitchen Stories
  • Penne Pasta in a Roasted Beet Sauce by Bev Cooks
  • Warm Kale, Quinoa and Balsamic Beet Salad by The First Mess

broccoli

As it turns out, broccoli is totally irresistible once roasted with olive oil and sea salt. Like all brassicas, broccoli goes great with garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes and other bold flavors. Select small, tightly packed florets with minimal brown spots. Broccoli elsewhere:

  • Asian Quinoa Broccoli Slaw by Mountain Mama Cooks
  • Ginger Broccoli with Forbidden Rice by A House in the Hills
  • Roasted Broccoli Grilled Cheese by Two Peas and Their Pod
  • Simple, Salty, Sweet + Nutty Broccoli Soba by The First Mess

View more C+K broccoli recipes ↣

Brussels Sprouts

My beloved Brussels sprouts are officially back in season! These poor baby cabbages have been maligned for years because someone decided to boil them to soggy, sulfurous deaths. I absolutely love roasted, caramelized Brussels and super crispy fried sprouts that I order at restaurants every chance I can get. I like to shred sprouts in my food processor and use them in slaws—they’re more fine and less watery than their full-sized cabbage cousins. Brussels Sprouts elsewhere:

  • Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts Pasta with Hazelnuts by Two Peas and Their Pod
  • Brussels Sprouts Potato Gratin by Cafe Johnsonia
  • Maple Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts by Love and Lemons
  • Super Food Bowls by Vintage Mixer

View more C+K Brussels sprout recipes ↣

cabbage

I can’t get enough cabbage! Cousin to broccoli, this potent anti-cancerous cruciferous vegetable is great raw, in slaws, roasted in pieces, or chopped and sautéed with olive oil and garlic. Select cabbages with compact heads that feel heavy for the their size. Cabbage generally keeps for a pretty long time in the vegetable crisper, so it’s a good ingredient to keep on hand. Cabbage elsewhere:

  • Kale and Cabbage Coleslaw with Marcona Almonds by Foodie Crush
  • Pasilla Chile and Lime Cabbage Slaw by Sprouted Kitchen
  • Sesame-Crusted Avocado and Cabbage Spring Rolls by Naturally Ella
  • Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos with Cilantro Cabbage Slaw by Mountain Mama Cooks

View more C+K cabbage recipes ↣

carrots

Technically, carrots are only in season until the first frost, so most of our winter carrot supply comes from storage. I love to turn full-sized raw carrots into “noodles” with my julienne peeler or “ribbons” with a regular peeler. Carrots are also fantastic when well roasted—leave them in the oven until they are deeply caramelized and golden. Carrots elsewhere:

  • Carrot Cake Baked Doughnuts by The Fauxmartha
  • Carrot Green Chimichurri by Love and Lemons
  • Carrot Soup Recipe with Roasted Chickpeas by Vintage Mixer
  • Quick Pickled Carrot Spears by Simple Bites

View more C+K carrot recipes ↣

Citrus fruits

Citrus shows up every year when the sky goes gray and we’re in desperate need of some bright color. You can find some great grapefruit, lemon, orange and tangerine in stores right now! I use lemon in my favorite salad dressing, it tastes so fresh! Citrus fruits elsewhere:

  • Beet, Kale, and Kohlrabi Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette by A Couple Cooks
  • Kale Citrus Salad with Orange Tahini Dressing by Edible Perspective
  • Preserved Lemon Quinoa with Shaved Brussels and Toasted Walnuts by Simple Bites
  • Sparkling Grapefruit Sangria by How Sweet Eats

View more C+K lemon recipes ↣

kale

We all love kale, and for good reason! It’s tremendously good for you and totally delicious, given the right preparation. Chop kale for stir-fries or a side of greens (sauté in olive oil and garlic), or massage it with a dash of salt for salads (see any of my kale salads for further instruction), or lightly coat roughly chopped kale with olive oil and roast it for kale chips. You can also blend kale into smoothies or juice it. Kale elsewhere:

  • Kale, Spinach and Pear Smoothies by Joy the Baker
  • Kale Caesar Salad with Crispy Garbanzo Bean Croutons by Mountain Mama Cooks
  • Kale with Japanese Sesame Dressing by Yummy Supper
  • Mushroom and Kale Grilled Cheese by Foodie Crush

View more C+K kale recipes ↣

parsnips

Parsnips are root vegetables that look like off-white carrots with parsley-like, leafy tops. Unsurprisingly, they’re related to both carrots and parsley. Parsnips are usually served roasted or cooked, but can also be eaten raw. They’re particularly high in potassium. I don’t have any parsnip recipes (yet), but I’ll work on that! Parsnips elsewhere:

  • Root Vegetable Salad with Pearl Couscous and Lemon-Tahini Dressing by Naturally Ella (shown above!)
  • Paprika Parsnip Fries with Preserved Lemon Cashew Cream Sauce by A House in the Hills
  • Parsnip Cake with Cardamom Cream by The Vanilla Bean Blog
  • Parsnip Parmesan Truffle Fries by Climbing Grier Mountain

Pomegranate

I saw pomegranates weighing heavy on trees in Israel a couple of weeks ago. Pomegranates yield the most gorgeous, ruby-colored, juicy gems called arils. The only tricky part is getting the arils out of the pomegranate shell and membrane. I’ve tried a few methods and always go back to this one. I love to add pomegranate to salad in place of dried cranberries or add a sprinkling of pomegranate to my oatmeal or yogurt with granola. Pomegranate elsewhere:

  • 5-Ingredient Pear Pomegranate Salsa by Gimme Some Oven
  • Chili-Roasted Tofu with Minted Pomegranate Relish by Sprouted Kitchen
  • Pomegranate, Kale and Wild Rice Salad by Pinch of Yum
  • Pomegranate Orange Sangria by Completely Delicious

View more C+K pomegranate recipes ↣

potatoes

Who doesn’t love a crispy potato? Roasting cubes of potatoes brings out way more flavor than boiling them. Varieties outside of the standard Russet (especially the more colorful potatoes) tend to offer more nutritional value. Buy organic! Potatoes elsewhere:

  • Crispy Salt and Vinegar Fingerling Potatoes with Fresh Chives by Climbing Greer Mountain
  • Easy Garlic Mashed Potatoes by Vintage Mixer
  • Potato Breakfast Gratin with Red Peppers & Parmesan by The Kitchn
  • Roasted Potato and Paprika Chickpea Salad by A House in the Hills

View more C+K potato recipes ↣

radishes

How I love radishes! Raw, chopped radishes lend a spicy crunch to salads and makes a great garnish for fresh Mexican meals. I often prefer radishes to raw red onion, which can easily overwhelm other raw ingredients. Whole, raw, spicy radishes served with butter and flaky salt are an incredibly simple and delicious appetizer. I also love pickled radishes, but the verdict is still out on roasted radishes. Radishes elsewhere:

  • Radish and Egg Salad Sandwiches by A Couple Cooks
  • Roasted Radish Flatbread with Ricotta and Honey by Bev Cooks
  • Soba Carrot Noodles with Watermelon Radish A House in the Hills
  • Super Simple Radish Salad with Crème Fraiche by Yummy Supper

View more C+K radish recipes ↣

Sweet Potatoes

I used to hate sweet potatoes! Then I tried a sweet potato fry and changed my tune. I still don’t enjoy sweetened, mashed sweet potatoes, but I could live off of salted, caramelized, roasted sweet potato. I especially love Mexican-style sweet potatoes with black beans, salsa verde and hot sauce! Sweet potatoes elsewhere:

  • Crispy Sweet Potato Roast by Smitten Kitchen
  • Miso-Maple Sweet Potato Tacos by Love and Lemons
  • Sweet Potato Granola by Minimalist Baker
  • Vanilla Bean Sweet Potato Waffles by Joy the Baker

View more C+K sweet potato recipes ↣

Turnips

I honestly don’t any experience with turnips, so I just added them to my grocery list. Turnips look like white radishes. They often have a cute blush of pink or purple near the top, where the sunlight hit the turnip while it was still in the ground. The larger the turnip, the more intense the flavor. From what I can gather, you’ll probably appreciate the turnip flavor more once it’s been cooked. Turnips elsewhere:

  • Sesame-Roasted Turnips with Barley (shown above!) by Naturally Ella
  • Lentil and Turnip Soup with Pounded Walnuts by Turntable Kitchen
  • Sweet Potato and Parsnip Latkes by Kitchen Confidante
  • Turnip Gratin with Blue Cheese by Bijouxs

winter squash

Winter squash is here! I’ve seen butternut, delicata, spaghetti, acorn and kabocha lately! Most winter squash (like butternut and kabocha, but not delicata) have thick skins that usually need to be removed. Squash elsewhere:

  • Butternut Squash Black Bean Tostadas by Two Peas and Their Pod
  • Ginger Butternut Squash Soup by Naturally Ella
  • Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Risotto by Vintage Mixer
  • Vegan Butternut Squash Queso by The First mess

View more C+K butternut squash recipes ↣

Looking for an ingredient that didn’t make the list? Check my new ingredient index for relevant recipes. If you want even more recipe inspiration, check my winter recipes board on Pinterest!

More resources you might appreciate: fruit and vegetable tools you actually need, 16 recipes that pack well for lunch (see also, lunch packing tips) and 10 fresh and filling salad recipes.

What Fruits and Vegetables are in Season this December in Italy?

Fact: produce is of better quality and taste when in season.

For Italians cooking and eating are essential but as the selection of produce rotates seasonally and lately mass distribution and globalization have confused these rhythmic, natural guidelines, the calendar distinction on our plate has become a little fuzzy.

Here is a list of fruits, vegetables and nuts that are in season in December in the northern hemisphere, and commonly gracing the stalls of markets in Italy.

VEGETABLES

Violet Artichokes

These wonderful artichokes of Rome are here ’til February and the sensational Mammole bloom in April/May when they are at their peak, but early in December you’ll start seeing spiny violet artichokes at the market.

Beetroot

After being a popular salad ingredient in the ‘70s beetroot is now enjoying somewhat of a comeback. Thanks to its earthy, rich and sweet flavor and distinctive vibrant color, it lends itself to a variety of both sweet and savory preparations. Also beet greens when sauteed with olive olive and garlic are delicious!

Brussel sprouts

Brussel sprouts are related to cabbage – they even look like a miniature, compact version – but they boast a sweeter, more delicate, nutty flavor. They make their appearance on market stalls between October and March, and grow in multiple rows along a thick, central stalk. A true autumn and winter staple, the sprouts can be mixed with fried guanciale (cured pig’s jowl) and maple syrup and black pepper as a nice seasonal kick that keeps the cold season at bay.

Different varieties of cabbage are available all year round. The cabbage, or brassica, family is huge, and includes everything from the familiar red, white or green varieties with heavy heads of tightly packed leaves, to cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts as well as bok choi, popular in Asian cookery. Cabbage itself comes in many forms, and shapes can be flat, conical or round, the heads compact or loose, and the leaves curly or plain. The round, crinkle-leafed Savoy cabbage is considered culinarily superior. Essential to good soups or a bollito misto (boiled meats and veggies), cabbage lends a nutty, rich flavor to all it comes in contact with.

At its best from mid December through to mid April, cauliflower comes in many other colors besides creamy white, various purple shades, dark brown and bright yellow. In Italy we have several varieties, the round white head, whose stalk and green thick outer leaves are discarded, and the unique pointy green Romanesco head, perfect example of fractal imagery in nature, with its branched floret making a logarithmic spiral, repeating itself in self-similarity at varying scales.

Cavolo nero

Super food par excellence, cavolo nero (lancinato kale, Tuscan kale, black kale or dinosaur) is the popular loose-leafed cabbage from Tuscany whose leaves are a very dark green, almost black, with pleasantly tangy, bitter flavor and a sweet aftertaste. It is a popular ingredient in many classic Italian soups like Ribollita or Zuppa di Magro and is essential for Minestrone.

Celeriac

The unsung hero of the vegetable world is available year round but is at its best from September to April. Knobby, odd-shaped celeriac is recognizeable on the market stall as the weird root with rhino-tough skin. The surprise is the subtle, celery-like flavor, with nutty overtones. Try it as mash, in big-flavored, slow-cooked stews, or in its classic form, and as they do en France, as a remoulade.

Sedano, in Italian, is available all year round, but the season here runs from late July to late February. The tougher outer stalks are the best to cook with, the inner, more tender stalks are better for eating raw. The leafy tops are a great addition to salads. It is essential in a soffritto, or mirepoix in French, the carrot, onion, celery mix that is the mainstay of many dishes.

Leek

Although more closely related to garlic, leeks taste (more) like a mild onion but with a hint of sweetness. Available all year round, but at their best from September to March, leeks are very versatile and work well cooked in various recipes or as a side dish.

Lettuce

Lettuce is available all year round in a vast number of varieties, either crisp or floppy. Mainly eaten raw in salads, though Italians add lettuce to soups or braise them as a side dish. Among the most commonly available lettuces in Italy during winter are curly endive (Frisée), Escarole endive, and Catalogna endive (in Rome called puntarelle).

Pumpkin

Italian pumpkin season runs from October to late December. Local varieties include the sweet Mantovana, which goes in the filling of typical Modena tortelli; Turbante turco (turban); Marina di Chioggia, knobbly skin, and sweet orange pulp; Grigia di Bologna, grey skin and orange pulp, often used in jams; and the giant Quintale, Italy’s largest variety.

Radicchio

Radicchio’s distinctive red and white leaves are a true hallmark of winter in Italy. Either tapered or shaped like a small cabbage, radicchio in Italy is used both raw in salads, or grilled, braised or cooked in risotto. Radicchio comes in several varieties, the most famous being Rosso di Treviso, which can be either Precoce, fleshy red leaves with white ribs that form a compact bunch, and Tardivo, harvested in the later part of winter, which has much more pronounced ribs and splayed leaves, is more flavorful, with stronger bitter accents.

Scorzonera (Salsify)

Belonging to the dandelion family and available in Italian markets between late September and May, salsify is also known as the oyster plant because of its oystery taste when cooked. The root is similar in appearance to a long, thin tapered parsnip, with creamy white flesh and a thick skin.

Topinambur (Jerusalem Artichoke)

At their best from November to March, this vegetable is not truly an artichoke but a lumpy, brown-skinned tuber that often resembles a ginger root. Contrary to what the name implies, this vegetable has nothing to do with Jerusalem. The white flesh of Topinambur is nutty, sweet and crunchy and is a good source of iron. The Piedmontese peel it and, once it’s cut in chunks, dip it in bagna càuda.

Turnip

You can buy winter turnips all year-round, although peak season is from October to February. Creamy-white with lovely purple, red or greenish upper part where the taproot has been exposed to sunlight. Before the arrival of the potato, turnips were one of the main sources of sustenance for Italian peasants. Turnip leaves or ‘greens’ (locally called cime di rapa) can also be eaten boiled, steamed, stir-fried. Orecchiette with Turnip greens are a typical Puglia specialty.

FRUIT

Apple

Available all year round, Italian apples are at their best from September through January. Cinnamony flavored and ugly-looking Annurche apples are a delight, and gourmands await winter months in order to indulge in these little mouthfuls of happiness. The most popular varieties besides the Annurche are Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith and Golden Delicious.

Clementine

Better catch them while they last, which is a small window between November and February. This sweetest variety of tangerine is sweet and tangy, contains no seeds and is recognisable by its loose, baggy bright orange skin. Clementine segments can be eaten on their own or dipped in melted chocolate. The zest can be candied or used to make “mandarinetto” liqueur, a close relative of limoncello. As opposed to Mandarins, which originated in China, and Tangerines which arrived in Europe in the 1800’s by way of North Africa, exported through the port of Tangier (hence the name), the Clementine varietal was created by a French missionary in Algeria over 100 years ago, named Marie-Clement Rodier.

Loti or Kaki (Persimmon)

Though originally from the Orient, you’ll see plenty of persimmon trees in the Italian countryside. The actual fruits are quite firm until they ripen, at which point they become voluptuously soft, with a silky mouthfeel and the texture of a water balloon. The many varieties of persimmon ripen from October through March. Ripe persimmons are very delicate, and you’ll see them in Italian markets carefully packed in padded styrofoam trays or mesh.

Pomegranates have always been highly prized for their flavor, but their recent emergence as a highly nutritious superfood, packed with antioxidant vitamins, has made them even more popular. Available as the colder months set in, pomegranates appear in Italian markets in November in their shiny orbs, blushed with red or yellow. Inside, scores of edible tiny white seeds are held in jewel-like ruby sacs of sweet, juicy flesh. The sacs themselves are packed tightly in a bitter, pale yellow pith.

Pear

In season from September through to January, pears boast sweet, granular flesh which is delicate and that bruises easily when ripe, so always buy slightly underripe (they should be firm but not hard). Pears ripen from the inside out!

Quince

When ripe, quince are very fragrant, with smooth, golden yellow skin. Their hard, bitter flesh is used almost exclusively for cooking, rather than eaten raw. Once cooked, the flesh develops a deeper flavor and turns a golden pink. Quinces contain high level of pectin, which makes them great for making jellies, jams and other preserves, such as the Italian quince paste, cotognata, which is often served with cheese. Quince is in season from late September through January.

NUTS & DRIED FRUIT

Chestnuts

Fresh chestnuts are around from the end of September to the end of January. Caldarroste (open fire-roasted chestnusts) are sold on the street in Italy, releasing their unique comforting and Christmassy aroma. The sweet, crumbly nut also provides Italians (and Tuscans, in particular) with chestnut flour which is employed in interesting desserts like castagnaccio (a gluten-free brownie of sorts, added with raisins, pine nuts and rosemary needles) and necci, which are delightful chestnut flour pancakes. In contrast to other nuts, chestnuts have a low oil and a high water content (hence their unique, soft texture) and should never be eaten raw. An old Italian wives tale says eating raw chestnust will give you head lice!

Dates

Dates are sweet, with a rich, deep flavor and a lush, slightly chewy texture. The mahogany brown Medjool variety is the sweetest, and tastes a little like toffee. Dates are one of the oldest cultivated fruits: it’s thought that they were a staple part of the Babylonian diet 8,000 years ago. At Christmas time Italians indulge in dried fruits and nuts, and dates – either stuffed with almonds, plain, or smeared with salted butter – are a big part of that sweet meal ending. Dried dates are available the whole year round, but the fresh type are at their best between October and January.

The Best Fruits and Vegetables to Eat This Winter

1. Cabbage

Time to head to the cabbage patch, kid! This super-healthy, budget-friendly vegetable is a close cousin to other cold-weather favorites like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, and broccoli. Cabbage is loaded with vitamins and minerals (Vitamins C and K and folate, in particular), fiber, antioxidants, and anti-carcinogenic compounds called glucosinolates. Some studies claim that the spherical vegetable can even reduce cholesterol and lower risk of cancer and diabetes.

  • Peak Season: While some strains of cabbage are available starting in July, most varieties love cool weather and are ready for harvest through the fall and winter.
  • Storage Tips: Tightly wrap individual heads of cabbage in plastic and stash in the refrigerator to keep ‘em fresh for up to a week.
  • How to Eat It: Cabbage’s nutritional benefits are most pronounced when raw, so slice up a few leaves to add crunch to salads or stir fries.

2. Brussels sprouts

These trendy sprouts are finally getting their turn in the spotlight. The Brussels sprout, aka cabbage’s mini-me, boasts some of the same health benefits as it’s big bro. Like other cruciferous veggies, Brussels sprouts have high levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants that can protect DNA from oxidative damage.

  • Peak Season: September through February
  • Storage Tips: Brussels sprouts will keep in the fridge for a few weeks. The outer leaves will shrivel, so remove them just before cooking your sprouts.
  • How to Eat It: Toss halved sprouts with olive oil and roast until crispy and brown. Top with a light coating of brown butter and sage for a decadent (but still healthy) side dish.

3. Winter squash

Get ready to taste the gourdy goodness! Acorn, butternut, kabocha, and delicata squash are all at their prime during the fall and winter. Golden squash flesh is loaded with healthy goodness like carotenoids, Vitamin A, and potassium.

  • Peak Season: Winter squash hit the markets around late September and stick around through early March.
  • Storage Tips: Even though they seem pretty solid, squash continue to ripen once they’re picked. Slow down the process by storing them in a cool, slightly humid environment (like, say, a basement or cellar). Under the right conditions, squash will keep for up to three months.
  • How to Eat It: Since squash is healthy, fairly inexpensive, filling, and darn tasty, it’s no wonder there are thousands of awesome recipes for them. Get started with these five delicious dishes.

4. Potatoes

Spuds get a bad rap, but they’re a staple food in many cuisines for good reason. Sure, potatoes are starchy and high on the glycemic index, but they’re also filling, inexpensive, and boast an impressive nutritional profile including potassium, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, and even protein. Fancy purple taters may even help lower blood pressure and boost antioxidants. While sweet potatoes are considered a healthier choice (since they’re loaded with beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, and fiber), regular old white spuds are still nutritious as long as you don’t fry ‘em or mash them with tons of butter and cream.

  • Peak Season: Various varieties of potatoes are available year-round.
  • Storage Tips: Store potatoes in a dark, cool, well-ventilated area for about one month. Keep spuds away from onions and apples. At room temperature, potatoes will keep for one to two weeks.
  • How to Eat It: Try a healthier take on the classic baked potato bar. Twice-baked spuds stuffed with kale, broccoli, and cheddar make for a tasty and comforting meal.

5. Onions

Ideal for flavoring anything from soup, to grain salads, to pasta, to meat, onions are a year-round kitchen all-star. They might make you cry, but onions are actually pretty healthy. The unassuming veggies are low in calories but surprisingly high in vitamin C and fiber. The oils found in onions can lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels and raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

  • Peak Season: Various types of onions are available all year round.
  • Storage Tips: Stash onions outside the fridge (they can go soft if refrigerated) in a cool, dry place for several months.
  • How to Eat It: Sautéed white onion jazzes up this fig, ricotta, and arugula flatbread pizza.

6. Beets

Sweet, earthy, and deep red, beets are pretty unique in the vegetable aisle. Beets contain antioxidants called betalains, which can help fight cancer and other degenerative diseases. They’re also rich in vitamins A, B, C as well as potassium and folate. They’re also a natural source of sugar (about nine grams per serving), so those looking to cut down on sweet stuff should take note. Not bad for a bright-red bulb, right?

  • Peak Season: Beets are available early spring through late fall.
  • Storage Tips: Store beet roots in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a month.
  • How to Eat It: Toss roasted beets and carrots with lentils and plenty of fresh herbs and spices to make a hearty, healthy vegetarian main dish.

7. Celeriac

Celeriac is probably the ugly duckling of winter produce. It looks like a misshapen, greenish-white blob covered in little roots. Appetizing, right? But beyond the odd exterior, celeriac boasts a tasty, subtle flavor — somewhere between parsley and celery — and a hearty texture. It’s low in calories, high in fiber, and rich in vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant) and phosphorus (which contributes to strong bones and teeth).

  • Peak Season: September through March.
  • Storage Tips: Like other root veggies, celeriac will stay fresh in the fridge for up to a month.
  • How to Eat It: Sub in celeriac for almost any root vegetable. Cube and sautée it for a tasty, healthy substitute for hash browns.

8. Carrots

Did your mom ever tell you to eat carrots for healthy eyes? Bugs Bunny’s favorite food is loaded with the antioxidant beta-carotene, a compound that converts to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is essential for a strong immune system and healthy eyes, skin, and mucus membranes. The orange veggies are also loaded with vitamin C, cyanidins, and lutein, which are all antioxidants. Some studies show that eating carrots can reduce risk of cancer and even prevent cardiovascular disease.

  • Peak Season: Available through late fall, although some varieties are harvested through the winter.
  • Storage Tips: Like many root vegetables, carrots will keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for several weeks.
  • How to Eat It: Bring out carrots’ natural sweetness with a side dish that combines the orange veggies, cinnamon, orange juice, and maple syrup.

9. Turnips and rutabagas

These purple-and-white bulbs might look like potatoes, but they’re actually related to cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Confused yet? Perhaps because of this oh-so-confusing identity crisis, turnips and rutabagas are often (unfortunately) overlooked in the produce aisle. But they boast the same nutritional perks as other cruciferous veggies (namely cancer-fighting glucosinolates, vitamins C and K, folate, potassium, fiber, and calcium), plus their slightly sweet taste is a boon to nearly any dish.

  • Peak Season: Available all winter long.
  • Storage Tips: Keep turnips and rutabagas in the fridge for a few weeks or in a root cellar for several months.
  • How to Eat It: What’s cheesy, gooey, and surprisingly good for you? A lightened-up simple turnip gratin! Rutabagas can be subbed in for any dish that calls for turnips.

10. Parsnips

These (white) carrot look-alikes are packed with nutritional goodness. The long, pale, tapered root veggies are loaded with fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and folate. Like carrots, they have a slightly sweet, earthy flavor that goes well with nearly any winter soup, stew, or casserole. Half a cup of cooked ‘snips contains 17 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C and just 55 calories.

  • Peak Season: Parsnips are at their best in the late fall and early spring.
  • Storage Tips: Store parsnips in a bag in the refrigerator for three to four weeks.
  • How to Eat It: Combine roasted parsnips with Granny Smith apples (and a few other essential ingredients) for a smooth, fall-flavored soup.

11. Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes might win the award for “Most Versatile Tuber.” These orange-hued delights are loaded with fiber, beta-carotene, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants. Plus, since they’re fairly low on the glycemic index, they’re great for filling up without getting weighed down.

  • Peak Season: Sweet potatoes are available year-round, but they’re best in the fall.
  • Storage Tips: Keep sweet potatoes in a cool, dry place outside the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  • How to Eat It: It wouldn’t be fair to pick one of these 45 sweet potato recipes and not try the rest. Pro tip: Sweet potato brownies are a thing.

12. Raddicio

Besides being one of the most fun words in the English language, radicchio (pronounced ra-DIK-kio) is a member of the chicory family along with endive and escarole. Its red and white, slightly spicy and bitter leaves are loaded with vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin K. Plus, this leafy veg is extremely low in calories, so add it to any dish for a low-cal dose of crunch and flavor.

  • Peak Season: There are three main varieties of radicchio available in the U.S., Chiogga, Treviso, and Tardivo. Tardivo radicchio is available throughout the winter.
  • Storage Tips: Keep it in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic for up to three weeks.
  • How to Eat It: Sautéed radicchio adds a kick (and a nice serving of vitamins and minerals) to this easy pasta dish.

What’s In Season All Year Round [Seasonal Produce Guide]

Many people enjoy produce out of season. Eating out of season is certainly better than going without fruits and vegetables, but there is much to be said for enjoying produce in season. The produce tastes better, is fresher and has higher nutritional content; it’s also cheaper.

If you are the experimental type, you can have a lot of fun by focusing on in-season produce. In North America, certain fruits and vegetables aren’t in season year-round. You’ll need to wait until the appropriate season for other produce, but your local farmers market should have plenty of tasty, seasonal organic food to keep the kitchen adventures going.

Year-Round

The group Fruits & Veggies-More Matters has a comprehensive website listing seasonal produce. Fortunately, quite a few (more than a few, really!) goodies are listed for year-round pleasure. They include:

  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Lemons
  • Snow peas
  • Coconut
  • Banana squash
  • Bananas

If a fruit is out of season in your part of the country, it is likely in season elsewhere in the United States. For instance, in California, apples are in season from approximately July to November.

The sheer diversity of the United States means that some produce is in season in different parts of the country at different times. California is a good guideline for the rest of this article. After all, this state tops the list for agricultural production. Of course, factors such as weather can, at times, push the seasonality of produce a month forward or backward. The following list is divided into months, but many of the fruits and vegetables are in season for at least a month or two on both sides of the listed month.

It may seem like nothing grows in the winter, but that’s absolutely not true. Some seasonal produce thrives in the winter time, such as dark and leafy kale or asparagus. Enjoy winter produce by incorporating it into hearty soups and stews, flavorful casseroles or comforting desserts.

  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Grapefruits
  • Grapes
  • Mushrooms
  • Yams
  • Beets
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Dry onions
  • Green onions
  • Guava
  • Kale
  • Kiwis
  • Pineapples
  • Summer squash
  • Valencia oranges
  • Winter squash
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Cabbage
  • Green peas
  • Mustard
  • Navel oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Passion fruit
  • Avocados
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Celery
  • Collards
  • Kumquats
  • Lemons
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Turnips
  • Tangelos
  • Tangerines

With the start of spring, the amount of produce in season begins to expand. We shed some of those comforting dishes of fall and winter, and opt for meals that are fresher and brighter. Think buddha bowls, colorful stir fries and yummy granola parfaits.

  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Blood Oranges
  • Chard
  • Grapefruits
  • Green onions
  • Medjool dates
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Turnips
  • Basil
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Cherries
  • Cucumber
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Nectarines
  • Passion fruit
  • Raspberries
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Apricots
  • Asian pears
  • Beets
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Dry onions
  • Eggplant
  • Figs
  • Okra
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Potatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Summer squash

Summer is often the major harvest season. Fruits are plenty and the heat can influence what we cook or make in the kitchen. To keep temperatures in your home cool, opt for nutritious green breakfast smoothies or overnight oats, hearty salads or other raw plant-based dishes. Don’t forget to fire up the grill and head to the park or beach for some good food and good times.

  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Cherries
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Grapefruits
  • Lemons
  • Melons
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard
  • Navel oranges
  • Nectarines
  • Okra
  • Peppers
  • Plums
  • Potatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Valencia oranges
  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Basil
  • Cherries
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Melons
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Peppers
  • Plums
  • Potatoes
  • Sapote
  • Spinach
  • Summer squash
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Avocados
  • Basil
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Chili pepper
  • Grapefruits
  • Collards
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Green beans
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Melons
  • Mustard
  • Nectarines
  • Okra
  • Persimmons
  • Plums
  • Potatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Sapote
  • Spinach
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Winter squash

There’s more to fall than pumpkins (and pumpkin spice for that matter). Root vegetables such as sweet potatoes and beets are some of our best friends for the season. We also love apple everything this time of year from apple pies, to crumbles to crispy apple chips. Fall’s seasonal produce really ushers us back into our kitchens to cook and bake all things warm and fuzzy.

  • Apples
  • Asian pears
  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Chili pepper
  • Dry onions
  • Oranges
  • Collards
  • Corn
  • Cucumber
  • Grapes
  • Green onions
  • Guava
  • Kale
  • Nectarines
  • Okra
  • Passion fruit
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Peppers
  • Persimmons
  • Pineapples
  • Plums
  • Potatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Sapote
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Avocados
  • Basil
  • Cabbage
  • Carambola
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Cherimoyas
  • Chili pepper
  • Grapefruits
  • Eggplant
  • Grapes
  • Kale
  • Kiwi
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lemons
  • Lettuce
  • Mushrooms
  • Mustard
  • Okra
  • Pumpkins
  • Pomegranates
  • Potatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Sapote
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatillos
  • Tomatoes
  • Turnips
  • Yams

Don’t worry if you do not live in California. This handy tool from Sustainable Table lets you input your state and the time of the year, or the produce you have in mind. Now get exploring; there’s no time like the present to enjoy in-season produce!

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Bay Area Seasonal Fruit & Vegetable Guide

January

Fruit

Citrus (grapefruits, mandarin oranges, pomelos)

Brussel Sprouts
Cabbage
Celery Root
Greens (arugula, collards, dandelion, kale)
Parsnips (root crops)
Squash (winter)

February

Citrus (grapefruits, navel oranges, pomelos)

Asparagus
Artichokes
Cabbage
Celery
Greens (escarole, kale)
Leeks
Radishes
Squash (winter)
Turnips

March

Citrus (mandarins, kumquats)

Asparagus
Cabbage
Pea Shoots
Radish
Snow Peas
Squash (winter)

April

Citrus (grapefruits, kumquats, meyer lemons, tangerines)
Pineapple guava
Rhubarb
Strawberries

Asparagus
Avocadoes
Broccoli rabe
Carrots
Cauliflower
Fava beans
Fennel
Green garlic
Nettles
Peas
Spinach

May

Berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, mulberries, raspberries, tayberries)
Rhubarb

Artichokes
Asparagus
Avocados
Cauliflower
Greens (collard, kale, chard)
Peas

June

Apricots, nectarines, peaches (stone fruit)
Berries (blackberries, blueberries, mulberries, raspberries)
Cherries
Loquats
Melons

Artichokes
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Corn
Fava beans
Greens (collard, kale, chard)
Peas

July

Artichokes
Avocados
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Green beans
Snap peas
Squash (summer)

August

Berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)
Figs
Grapefruit
Grapes
Melons
Nectarines, peaches, pears, pluots, plums (stone fruit)

Artichokes
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Okra
Snap peas
Squash, summer
Sunflower sprouts
Tomatoes

September

Apples
Berries
Grapefruits
Jujubes
Nectarines (stone fruit)
Pears
Pomegranates

Artichokes
Asparagus
Bok choy
Brussel sprouts
Celery
Eggplant
Okra
Snap peas
Squash (summer, winter)
Tomatoes

October

Apples
Dates
Figs
Grapefruits
Pears

Vegetables

Avocados
Bok choy
Brussel sprouts
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Eggplant
Fennel
Greens (arugula, kale, collard greens, swiss chard)
Okra
Snap peas
Tomatoes
Squash (winter)

November

Apples
Dates
Grapefruit
Pears
Persimmons
Pineapple guava
Pomegranates

Greens (arugula, collards, dandelion, kale, chard)
Bok choy
Broccoli
Brussel sprouts, cabbage
Cauliflower
Eggplant
Fennel
Okra
Snap peas
Squash (winter)

December

Citrus (oranges – cara cara, mandarin, navel; meyer lemons; grapefruits)
Pears
Pomegranates

Beets
Boc choy
Broccoli
Brussel sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Cauliflower
Eggplant
Fennel
Greens (arugula, chard, collard, dandelion, kale)
Leeks
Parsnips (and other root crops)
Snap peas
Squash (winter)
Sweet potatoes

Find seasonal fruits and vegetables at a local farmers market near you. Buying directly from farmers helps prevent waste in the delivery process.The fewer people handling the produce and the shorter distance it travels, the less likely fruits and vegetables are discarded along the way.

Related Content

San Francisco Farmers Markets
Shop Local
Grow Your Own Herbs: Parsley, Cilantro, Basil!

Additional Resources

Farmer’s Market Finder – Interactive map – Ecology Center
Vegetables in season in the Bay Area (PDF) – Center for Urban Education and Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA)
Fruits in season in the Bay Area (PDF) – (CUESA)
California produce in season – by month, Natural Resources Defense Council
10 reasons to support farmers markets – CUESA

Fresh loquats can sometimes be found in late spring and early summer at San Francisco farmers markets.

Think of the experience of eating a perfectly ripe, juicy summer tomato—its rich red color, perfect consistency, bursting with flavor. Buying in-season fruits and vegetables always taste better—and that’s not the only benefit, according to Lisa Hayim, RD, a dietitian in New York City. When you purchase produce at peak season, you get more natural nutrients, she says. “Because seasonal fruits and vegetables don’t undergo lengthy transit times to get from farm to your kitchen, these integral vitamins and minerals are more likely to be preserved by the time you’re ready to eat your produce,” she says.

You’ll also save money: Shorter travel times for your produce means lower shipping costs, which lowers the grocer’s price—savings that get passed on to you at checkout. There’s also the law of supply and demand, says Lindsey Pine, a dietitian in Los Angeles, California. “When fruits and veggies are in season, the farmers will most likely have an abundance of the crop and prices will go down.”

If you’re looking for the freshest of the fresh, your local farmer’s market is a great place to start. Look out for the 6 signs that farmer’s market produce isn’t fresh or local. And if you’re short on shopping time, join a community-supported agriculture association (CSA) for fresh, picked-that-morning produce sourced directly from a local farm. And when you’re shopping at the grocery store, you can buy in season with this guide to ensure you get the biggest nutritional bang for your buck. Don’t miss these 13 secrets your farmer’s market isn’t telling you.

Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com

December

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Grapefruit

Kale (Don’t like kale? These 11 superfoods could be the next kale.)

Leeks

Mushrooms

Oranges

Papayas

Parsnips

Pears

Pomegranates

Rutabagas

Sweet potatoes

Tangelos

Tangerines

Turnips

January

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Grapefruit

Kale

Leeks

Lemons

Oranges

Parsnips

Rutabagas

Tangelos

Tangerines

Turnips

February

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Grapefruit

Kale

Leeks

Lemons

Oranges

Parsnips

Rutabagas

Tangelos

Tangerines

Turnips

Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com

March

Artichokes

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Cauliflower

Leeks

Lettuce

Mushrooms

Parsnips

Pineapples

Radishes

Rutabagas

Turnips

April

Artichokes

Asparagus

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Leeks

Lettuce

Mushrooms

Pineapples

Radishes

Rhubarb

Spring peas

May

Apricots

Artichokes

Asparagus

Cherries

Lettuce

Mangoes

Okra (Okra is one of the top foods that can reduce stress.)

Pineapples

Radishes

Rhubarb

Spring peas

Strawberries

Swiss chard

Zucchini

Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com

June

Apricots

Blueberries

Cantaloupe

Cherries

Corn

Kiwi

Lettuce

Mangoes

Peaches

Strawberries

Swiss chard

Watermelon

Zucchini

July

Apricots

Blackberries

Blueberries

Cantaloupe

Corn

Cucumbers

Green beans

Kiwi

Kohlrabi

Lettuce

Mangoes

Okra

Peaches

Peppers

Plums

Raspberries

Strawberries

Summer squash

Swiss chard

Tomatoes

Watermelon

Zucchini

August

Acorn squash

Apples

Apricots

Blueberries

Butternut squash

Cantaloupe

Corn

Cucumbers

Eggplant

Figs

Green beans

Kiwi

Kohlrabi

Lettuce

Mangoes

Okra

Peaches

Peppers

Plums

Raspberries

Strawberries

Summer squash

Swiss chard

Tomatoes

Watermelon

Winter squash

Zucchini

Tatiana Ayazo/Rd.com

September

Acorn squash

Apples

Beets

Butternut squash

Cantaloupe

Cauliflower

Eggplant

Figs

Grapes

Green beans

Lettuce

Mangoes

Mushrooms

Okra

Peppers

Persimmons

Pomegranates

Pumpkins (Pumpkin isn’t just for caring; it has many healing health benefits.)

Spinach

Sweet potatoes

Swiss chard

Tomatoes

October

Acorn squash

Apples

Beets

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Butternut squash

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Cranberries

Grapes

Leeks

Lettuce

Mushrooms

Parsnips

Persimmons

Pomegranates

Pumpkins

Rutabagas

Spinach

Sweet potatoes

Swiss chard

Turnips

Winter squash

November

Beets

Broccoli

Brussels sprouts

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Cranberries

Leeks

Mushrooms

Oranges

Parsnips

Pears

Persimmons

Pomegranates

Pumpkins

Rutabagas

Spinach

Sweet potatoes

Tangerines

Turnips

Winter squash

Eating like the French – seasonal eating

French outdoor markets don’t stock strawberries in December or oranges in June, but instead sell produce the way nature intended – by season. Learn the seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Eating in season is probably rule number one when it comes to traditional French savoir-vivre. Here in France this way of eating is not only logical but practical. Unlike in North America where just about any fruit or vegetable is available 12 months of the year thanks to refrigerated transport trucks and Hydroponics, in France’s outdoor markets and even in the grocery stores, you cannot find strawberries in December or clementines (tangerines) in June. Fresh produce is bought and sold according to the natural cycle of winter, spring, fall and summer.

It’s true that in some French stores nowadays you can find certain varieties of apples all year around. But if you pay attention to who buys them, in Paris anyway, it’ll be the tourists, the new comers, the visitors, and perhaps every now and then, the young who are cooking for themselves for the first time. As a general rule, the French tend to stick to their seasonal eating habits.

I have to admit that when I first came to France I had no idea when certain fruit or vegetables were in season. Well, that’s not completely true. I knew that citrus fruit were winter produce because when I lived in Florida January was the cultivating season for oranges and grapefruits. Yet, for the most part, when I arrived in Paris, I thought France had a very small selection of produce in their grocery stores compared to what I was used to at Whole Foods, Loblaw’s or Publix.

Over the years, quite contrary to my first impressions, France has introduced me to a whole world of fruits and vegetables I never knew existed. Like fresh prunes, Mirabelle and figs in autumn, or black tomatoes, chestnuts, black radishes, elderberries or even sunroot or parsnip. I grew up eating carrots, celery with peanut butter, potatoes with sour cream, strawberries sprinkled with sugar, bananas and grapes.

I thought lettuce came in three varieties: Iceberg, Romaine and Bagged Mix.

In an effort to share some of the knowledge I’ve gained by immersing into the French culture, here is a list of fruit and vegetables by their proper season.

Bonnes courses!

Spring

Vegetables

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • English or Snow peas
  • Fava beans
  • Green beans
  • Green garlic
  • New potatoes
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Bitter lettuces (Arugula, French/Belgium endives, Escarole, Chicory)
  • Vidalia onions
  • Zucchini

Fruit

  • Apricots
  • Cherries
  • Strawberries

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Summer

  • Beets
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Fresh herbs
  • Garlic
  • Green beans
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Summer squash
  • Summer lettuce (Romaine, Mâche, Butterhead, Oak Left green/red)
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Limes
  • Mangos
  • Melons
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Tomatoes

Fall

  • Arugula
  • Beets
  • Bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage (green, Napa, red, Savoy)
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Green tomatoes
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Parsnip
  • Pumpkins
  • Radishes
  • Rutabagas
  • Shallots
  • Shelling beans
  • Turnip
  • Winter squash (acorn, butternut, spaghetti)
  • Apples
  • Cranberries
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Kiwi
  • Mirabelles
  • Pears
  • Persimmons
  • Pomegranates
  • Prunes

Winter

  • Avocados
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage (green, napa, red, savoy)
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Chard
  • Fennel
  • Green onions
  • Kale
  • Parsnips
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Turnips
  • Wild mushrooms
  • Winter squash (acorn, butternut, spaghetti)
  • Yams
  • Citrus (grapefruit, lemons, oranges, tangerines)
  • Dates
  • Pears

Winter fruits in Spain

Winter is not a season when we immediately think of fruits. Not as much as in summer at least when it is hot and the body asks for something fresh and light. However, from November to March, in Spain we have at our disposal a good variety of winter fruits that will help us to fight colds and feel more energetic.

Discover the WabiHost fruit selection below to follow a Mediterranean diet, one of the healthiest in the world. And if you visit Madrid, do not forget to ask us for help.

Classic flavours

Although November is not yet technically winter, the body already begins to ask for comforting food. Since the beginning of autumn we already have delicious pears and apples (Reineta and Granny Smith in December) that are easy to obtain since they are grown in our territory. They are also quite cheap because they do not need to travel long distances to reach our tables. Besides, they are healthy simply because they in season. Let us not forget how versatile they are! In Europe we use them to make compotes, jams and sauces for meats as well as for cakes and pies. They go super well with those warm flavours like cinnamon, vanilla, chocolate and nuts.

After All Saints’ Day in Spain, chestnuts become really popular. These are usually roasted, peeled and eaten warm in the street. They are excellent to fill you up. They can also be used to create rich hot creams, sauces, fillings, desserts and puree that go well with poultry and pork. Walking through Madrid in these cold months is much more pleasant with a cone of hot chestnuts to warm our hands.

Grapes that are normally harvested in autumn can be easily obtained in early winter. Usually these grapes are sweeter than the autumn ones because they are allowed to mature longer in the plant, thus creating more sugar. Such grapes are used to make sweet wine, ideal for the after-dinner – another tradition of Spain. The Mistela for example is a very sweet and common wine / liqueur from Valencia but you can find it in Madrid if you know where to look. If this option tempts you, WabiHost can take you to know these tasty traditional liqueurs.

A delicious and healthy fruit that begins to appear in September and can be harvested normally until well into December is the pomegranate. This autumn / winter fruit has always been highly appreciated since antiquity for its sweetness and acid touch that pleases and refreshes. Although they are difficult to peel, the truth is that they are becoming fashionable again thanks to its attractive deep red color and its unique flavour. They go well in salads and desserts. You can also make a delicious juice with them that you can drink fresh or reduced with a little sugar and lemon. This creates a thick syrup with a very intense color to sweeten drinks, dressings or create sauces for game, poultry and pork. My suggestion: duck with pomegranate, a great delicacy.

I am lucky to have access to an exclusive and organic crop of pomegranates from the beautiful province of Córdoba. So I have experimented and collected countless original recipes, among some older ones, that use this delicious fruit as a key ingredient.

The truth is that dates (as well as apples, pears and bananas) can be found today in Spain throughout the year, but traditionally it is a typical fruit of the months of November and December. There are many houses in which this fruit is used to complete the Christmas trays and make desserts with a strong influence from the other side of the strait with almonds, walnuts and cinnamon. You can also eat them with yogurt and oatmeal for a healthy and energy-leaded breakfast since they are rich in natural sugars and dietary fiber. Very few know that there are actually several types of dates, all with somewhat different characteristics.

The cherimoya is a tropical fruit not very difficult to find, especially in Malaga and Granada in Spain from where one of its varieties is native but rarely consumed at home today. It is already available at the end of autumn until February and is internationally appreciated for its medicinal properties.

The citrus

The most representative winter fruits of this season are citrus fruits. And rightly so because its rich supply of Vitamin C helps us to prevent colds and other very common ailments when the defences go down. We are familiar with several examples: mandarins, oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit. The latter are ideal for those who are on a diet after the Christmas’ feasts as they stimulate the metabolism. All these fruits are excellent for making cakes and biscuits, sauces and to season salads…or just to drink as juice in the morning. They can also give an acid touch to broths, soups and stir-fries.

These acidic fruits are popular not only because they are healthy but also because of their low cost and versatility. They also tend to last long. In fact, sailors used to carry loads of lemons in their long voyages overseas to avoid scurvy, a disease caused by vitamin C deficiency. It is rare for a market not to have these winter fruits in their posts, so there is no excuse not to give them a place in our kitchen during these cold months. There are many people who do not know what to do with them other than juice which is a pity. I have my own compendium of recipes and ideas that I share with my guests and they always end up happy.

Sometimes when I go to buy my fruit at the market the seller gives me a tangerine as a snack during my walks. It is the best thing about buying regularly in the same stalls.

The exotic winter fruits

There are some winter fruits that have become very popular in recent years. Such is the case of the mango that begins its season in autumn but you can get easily in December. This can be used for healthy and sweet smoothies, drinks (something less healthy in reality), desserts and meat accompaniments if you like bittersweet dishes.

Another fruit perhaps a little less known but equally exotic is the persimmon. This fruit, native to Asia but grows very well in Spain. There are mainly two varieties, one more astringent and the other sweeter. It is rich in vitamin A and C in addition to potassium, iron and magnesium. Although it may also appear in autumn, it is usually collected in December and January as well.

Many people dislike this fruit for its astringency, but few know that it can mature naturally at home. You just need a strong liqueur like brandy or cognac and a clean hermetic container. Rubbing the fruits with a little of any of those alcoholic beverages and leaving them for a week or two in a closed container, these fruits lose their astringency. They become pulpy, sweet and soft. Ideal to eat as a dessert or at breakfast. This is a trick that I learned from my beautiful mother-in-law and one of the many I share with my visitors.

The truth is that although sometimes we feel more like having chocolate than a fruit salad in these cold months, we cannot underestimate their importance in our diet. Many times it is not just a matter of taste, but also of knowing what we have available this season and how we can consume it. For that, a regular visit to our markets is essential. In them we can find seasonal products that besides being rich and more economical, help us maintain a varied diet rich in colour and flavour.

We cannot forget that in the market stalls we have friendly people who will help us make the best decisions when buying and preparing our food. I’m talking about sellers in traditional markets who know their own products very well. They will be happy to share their knowledge with us. Whenever I visit them I go with something priceless as one or two new ideas for some delicious dishes. Those are the gems that one takes when connecting with the local culture.

WabiHost works to create a bridge between visitors and locals. If you want to be part of this, visit Madrid with us and you will feel at home.

It sure is cold outside! You’re definitely not going to stumble upon a strawberry outside anytime soon. But winter isn’t all bad. Thanks to modern methods of extending the growing season, farmers are able to produce fresh food well into winter.

It can be easy to ignore what produce is actually in season come December when you can walk into any grocery store and it still looks like summer. Thanks to shipments from South America and beyond, we are spoiled, eating whatever we want, whenever we want. But if you want to eat food that hasn’t been picked before its prime, artificially ripened, and trucked thousands of miles, it’s worth considering making your selections from this list.

Depending on where you live, these crops may continue to grow locally, or they’ll be trucked in from shorter distances. Plus, they’re naturally in season this time of year so they’ll taste best.

Here’s what to look for this month:

Apples

Even though the apple harvest is over, apples store well, so those apples offered in December, are still local and juicy. Apples can last 1 to 2 months in slightly cool temperatures, but up to 6 months when stored professionally (30ºF to 40ºF with high humidity), so December has nothing on your apples.

Beets store even better than apples do. In slightly warmer areas, they’re just being harvested now. In cooler regions, they’ve been stocked up. The bright right color and their nutritious, flavorful root, make them a natural around the holidays.

Broccoli

Broccoli can be grown year-round. It’s actually less bitter and has a sweeter taste when harvested in cooler temperatures of early winter.

Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts have been ignored for years, but thanks to delicious new recipes, they’re more popular than ever. And right now, the mini-cabbages are back in season. If you see then still on the stalk, snatch them up — they last even longer that way.

Cabbage.

Cabbage

The cooler the weather at harvest, the sweeter the cabbage. Select cabbages that feel compact and heavy for their size. Cabbages keep for a pretty long time when stored properly with the bit of humidity in the vegetable crisper.

Carrots.

Carrots

In much of the country, carrots are harvested through early winter, but they also keep well in storage, so they’re available from local stock for quite a while. Carrots grow well year-round in temperate areas, so they’re pretty much available semi-locally all year long.

Cauliflower.

Cauliflower

This cool weather crop is at its tastiest in the fall and winter.

Clementines.

Clementines

Every year when the sky goes grey and snow falls, we long for the fresh flavors and bright bursts of color brought by citrus fruits. Clementines are the first citrus fruits to hit peak season. They’ll start to swamp stores by early December. Try adoring your cheese or charcuterie board with a few fresh clementines this season to add some color.

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Cranberries

Cranberries are harvested in New England and parts of the Midwest. They’re sold fresh well into December. Try them in this delicious recipe for baked brie with cranberry jalapeño jam.

The cool weather means sweeter kale. Cook it up in stews, smoothies, salads, and just about anywhere for a nutritional boost.

Onions

Onions store well, so with a later summer and fall harvest, December is still perfectly prime time for an onion.

Oranges/Tangerines

There is a reason children used to get oranges in their Christmas stockings. These popular citrus fruits come into market by early to mid December.

Pomegranates

Another popular fruit for the holidays, thanks to its sparkling bright red arils, pomegranates only grow in warmer climates, but they’re available fresh at the store from October through December. Try them in appetizers or on salads.

Potatoes

Potatoes will have been harvested in the fall from most local growers, but they store well through December, and even later.

Radishes

Radishes are in season. Chop them up for salads or as a garnish. They can sometimes be used in place of an onion. Even dipping them in salt and eating them raw is pretty popular.

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes store well, so you’re still probably getting local sweet potatoes through December.

Winter Squash

Winter squash is a very versatile vegetable for the cooler months. Use it in soups, stews, side dishes, salads, or string spaghetti squash as a pasta substitute. Most have thick skins that need to be removed, but it’s a great, fresh option for December, and even later.

Also see, Brie, cranberry and pecan stuffed mushroom appetizer.

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Fruit in season december

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