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Your guide to wonderful winter fruits and vegetables

I’ve written previously about the benefits of eating seasonally so I won’t go into them again. Suffice to say that, the more you adopt food choices that reflect the season, the better for your wallet, the environment, your taste buds and your health. (If you want to know more, read How eating with the seasons can make you happy).

So what’s in season for winter?

Winter is upon us and for the next few months here in Melbourne, it is going to be cold and a bit wet. If you have a slow cooker or a heavy casserole it’s time to pull them out of the cupboard. They are fantastic for soups, stews and all sorts of slow-cooked recipes which are perfect for winter (and great for the freezer). So make good use of them over the colder months.

Many of the winter fruits and vegetables start coming through in autumn. However, there are a few different varieties that come into their prime when the days are at their coldest.

Try these winter beauties

  • Beurre Bosc pears – Try them poached with a stick of cinnamon or simply add them to your porridge.
  • Mandarins and Seville oranges – They’re full of vitamin C to help fight winter bugs and their water content helps boost your fluid intake during the colder months.
  • Rhubarb – It grows all year round but it’s at its peak over winter and it’s lovely stewed or in a crumble, served with some natural yoghurt.
  • Broccoli– Such a fantastic food for your liver amongst other things. I like it lightly steamed and served as a side or perhaps in a stir-fry or a  pasta dish such as Super easy pasta with pesto and greens.
  • Cauliflower – This is similar to broccoli in its health benefits. Cook it in a similar way or try adding it to some mash. Another option is cauliflower “rice”. You can just blitz it in a food processor, warm it through in a pan and add your favourite spices and vegetables for your own version of “fried rice”.
  • Brussels sprouts – Some people love them, others hate them. I used to be in the latter group but they’re growing on me. They have to be well cooked. My preference is steamed and sprinkled with some dukkah or tossed in with your roast vegies.
  • Kale – Kale can be an acquired taste but don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it. Steam a few leaves (minus the “spine”), drizzle them with lemon juice and sprinkle chopped almonds or hazelnuts on top for a crunchy warm side salad.
  • Broad beans – These are also known as fava beans. They are a great source of key minerals such as iron, copper and manganese as well as some B vitamins and fibre. Add them to soups and casseroles or make your own baked beans.
  • Artichokes – Globe artichokes are used in herbal medicine to support liver function. They are beautifully nutritious. Artichokes can be a little tricky to prepare so I love it when I see them on a restaurant menu. Try them with pasta or risotto.
  • Beetroot – Mmmm, I love beetroot. Recent studies have demonstrated the benefits of beetroot on blood pressure and the cardiovascular system. But did you know they also improve athletic performance? Toss a few beetroots in with your next roast.

Hmmm….thinking about warming winter meals somehow makes the cold weather a little more bearable don’t you think?

If you have a favourite winter fruit or vegetable please add your suggestions in the comments below.

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