Nourish Your Body In Winter: A Guide to Finding and Choosing Fresh Produce

by Melissa Chichester

As the landscape outside turns cold and frosty, it’s easy to feel like we’re missing out on the abundance of fresh produce we enjoyed during the warmer seasons.

However, with a bit of knowledge and effort, it’s possible to continue making healthy and nutritious food choices in the winter. 

Here are 7 tips to find fresh produce, store it properly, and keep your intake of fruits and vegetables high.

#1. Shop your local farmers’ markets or CSA programs

Contrary to popular belief, winter doesn’t mean the end of farmers’ markets or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. Many local farmers continue to produce fresh, seasonal vegetables throughout the colder months. 

Visit your local farmers’ market or explore winter CSA options in your area to discover a variety of winter vegetables such as kale, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and winter squashes. The types of produce available will depend on where you live. Connecting with local farmers not only provides you with fresh produce but also supports the community. 

#2. Eat more root vegetables and winter squash

Root vegetables are winter staples. These hearty vegetables not only withstand colder temperatures but also offer a wealth of nutrients. Carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, and parsnips are sources of various vitamins and minerals. Roasting these vegetables with a drizzle of olive oil and your favorite herbs can create a delicious and nutritious side dish for any winter meal. They’re also a delicious addition to soups and stews. Winter squashes, such as butternut and acorn squash, are also versatile choices. 

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#3. Explore specialty stores

In addition to outdoor farmers’ markets, specialty stores source produce from local and regional farmers, ensuring a supply of fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables even in the winter. Explore these markets to discover unique and diverse options that may not be readily available in your standard grocery store.

#4. Try frozen fruits and vegetables

While fresh produce is ideal, frozen fruits and vegetables are a convenient alternative. The freezing process locks in essential nutrients, making frozen produce a reliable source of vitamins and minerals. Stock up on frozen berries, broccoli, peas, and other favorites to add to smoothies, soups, or stir-fry. Another perk is that frozen produce is often more cost-effective and has a longer shelf life, allowing you to maintain a well-rounded diet throughout the winter.

#5. Prioritize citrus fruits

Did you know citrus fruits are at their peak in the winter? These fruits are not only delicious but also packed with vitamin C. Incorporate citrus fruits into your daily diet by enjoying them as snacks or adding them to salads. The bright flavors of citrus can bring a refreshing contrast to the hearty and warming winter meals.

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#6. Store your produce properly 

Before the era of year-round supermarkets, people relied on cold storage and root cellars to preserve fruits and vegetables for the winter. While not everyone has access to a traditional root cellar, modern refrigerators with humidity-controlled drawers can serve a similar purpose. Store root vegetables, apples, and cabbages in these drawers to keep them fresh for an extended period. This allows you to enjoy locally sourced produce well into the winter months.

#7. Prepare seasonal recipes

To make the most of winter produce, plan your meals around seasonal ingredients. Look for recipes that feature root vegetables, winter squashes, and hearty greens. Soups, stews, and casseroles are perfect for incorporating a variety of winter vegetables and creating warming, comforting meals. By planning your meals ahead of time, you can ensure that you have the necessary ingredients on hand, making healthy choices more convenient.

While winter may present some challenges in finding fresh produce, it’s entirely possible to make nutritious and delicious choices to support your well-being. By making intentional choices and staying connected to local food sources, you can nourish your body throughout the winter months, laying the foundation for a healthy and vibrant lifestyle.