Winter Vegetables

By : | | On : January 29, 2015 | Category : Food & Health, Healthy Living

Although we can get a lot of vegetables year round, there are some vegetables that taste best during the winter season. For some vegetables, once the weather is colder, the sweeter the vegetable may get. Other times, the vegetables are better grown in a colder climate. Here are some of the best winter vegetables to eat. 

1. Brussels sprouts

It almost resembles a mini-cabbage and is part of the same family. Although the taste is a little different from its cousin the cabbage. Brussel sprouts grow in a stalk. It is high in vitamins C and K. Fights inflammation and can help lower cholesterol levels. A good source of folic acid. Try pan fried brussel sprouts with shallots and a splash of apple cider. Let it simmer and reduce. 

2. Snow peas

Snow peas are widely used in Chinese cuisine, but can be used in a lot of recipes. It has a nice crispy texture when cooked. These are an excellent source of vitamin C, K, iron, and manganese. These little legumes are rich in fiber. Pan fry some with garlic and soy sauce. 

3. Winter squashes

Butternut, kabocha, and acorn squash are at their best during the fall and winter season. These beautiful golden flesh are loaded with vitamin A, C, and potassium. It also has fiber to help with your digestive system. 

4. Beets

This deep red earthy vegetable are loaded with antioxidants called betalains. This can help fight cancer and other diseases. They’re rich in vitamins A, B, C, potassium, and folate. Beets are great as a side and can be made into a soup. They also have a natural sweetness to them. 

5. Cabbage

This vegetable is readily available all year long, but it thrives during the winter season. The colder it is, the sweeter it is. Cabbage is packed with vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamins C, K, and folate. It also has antioxidants, fiber, and anti-carcinogenic compounds. This vegetable has been claimed to reduce cholesterol and lower risk of cancer and diabetes. Eat it raw as a salad or in a soup. 

6. Rhubarb

Rhubarb looks like a celery stick. Instead of being green, the stalk is red with green leaves. For a while now, I had never seen or heard of a rhubarb before until I saw it on cooking shows. Rhubarb contains vitamin K, lutein, and antioxidants such as lycopene and anthocyanins. These compounds can help promote a healthy heart, eyes, and immune system. The rhubarb is used in pies as well. Try it as a jam or in a salad. 

7. Kale and Collard Greens

These dark green leafy vegetables are still as popular as ever. Like the cabbage, the colder the weather, the sweeter. They’re both rich in vitamins A, C, K, and E. Also rich in iron, calcium, manganese, potassium, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Kale and collard greens are part of the brassica vegetable family which means they help aid in digestion, lowering cholesterol, and protect the body against cancer. 

8. Turnips and Rutabagas

These 2 root vegetables are very similar to one another. You may purchase a rutabaga thinking it was turnip. A rutabaga is actually a cross between a turnip and cabbage. Rutabagas have a rougher texture and tougher skin. Rutabaga also a sweeter flavor over the turnip. To tell the difference between the 2 roots, you just have to look at the color. Turnips are usually white, while rutabagas have a more yellow tint. They’re both a good source of vitamin C and contain your dietary fiber. 

9. Parsnips

If you’ve never seen a parsnip, it looks like a carrot except for a khaki-like color. The parsnip is a relative of the carrots and parsley family. Parsnips contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. It’s particularly high in folate. It also has fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, E, K.  Combine parsnips with other root vegetables and season with rosemary. Roast in an oven until tender.

10. Escarole and Frisee

A chicory that’s best during the fall and winter season. You may see these vegetables in salads. The word frisee is used to describe a variety of endive that is curly with pale-green leaves. The leaves on a frisee are smaller than the escarole. These may have a slight bitter flavor to them. They have a rich blend of nutrients, especially folate, vitamins A and K. Also high in fiber and potassium. Try these chicory salads in a light vinaigrette.

Try some of these winter vegetables to warm those cold nights. If you’re snowed in in some parts of the country, we hope you’re braving it out during this storm. January is almost over, so stay tuned for many more updates to come. February will bring many big events. There’s the Superbowl game this Sunday, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and Lunar New Year is almost upon us. Stay warm till then.

Image credits: http://kiyosumi.jp/

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