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kencko's guide to winter fruits and vegetables

With shorter days and colder nights, it’d be easy to think that winter must be a rough time for fresh produce. But that’s not the case, at all.

Fruits and vegetables, in season, in the winter? Doesn’t the cold scare tasty produce away? Although it feels like the sun is hiding more and more, there are plenty of fresh and in-season fruits and veggies to eat that are perfectly ripe this time of year. 

 

As we come to terms with the cold weather and accept that scarf season is officially upon us, let’s talk fruit and veg. You tend to get the tastiest, freshest, and best-value ingredients when you shop for in-season produce. 

 

For more information on the types of fruits and veg to buy and a deep dive into seasonality, read our guide to seasonal vegetables and fruits

 

In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown on the best winter fruits and vegetables, as well as our go-to recipes for simple and delicious meals.

 

Winter vegetables

 

Let’s start with winter seasonal vegetables. There’s a surprising amount of produce available in the colder months. While it may not feel as bountiful as peak summer, cold weather crops are just as delicious. 

 

Depending on your region, there may be some variation in what you have available. You enjoy fruit and veg at peak flavor when you buy seasonal produce. You typically get more for your money with in-season produce and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time; it’s a win-win. 

 

Beets

 

Beets are all about the cool weather. They are pretty hardy vegetables that can cope with frosts. You can even continue to harvest them throughout winter in slightly milder climates. Beets are in season between fall and spring but are available in storage for most of the year. 

 

When buying fresh beets, the greens will be attached. The greens should be bright. If the beets are small or medium-sized, they should be more tender. Look for beets that are heavy for their size with smooth roots and no cuts. 

 

Beets are rich in potassium, folate, fiber, vitamin C, and iron. The versatile veg tastes excellent roasted and made into a salad. 

 

You can find beets in our beet that bowl. Top it with a dollop of yogurt and sunflower seeds for the ultimate Borscht vibe. Think bold and delicious; ideal for winter. 

 

Broccoli

 

While you can find broccoli all year-round, it actually prefers a cooler temperature. The colder weather keeps broccoli from flowering and ensures it is sweet and tender. When you get veg throughout the year, it’s easy to forget about seasonality. But, like many cruciferous veggies, it tastes the best in the cooler fall climate. 

 

Broccoli is a great source of vitamin K and calcium, nutrients crucial for strong and healthy bones. The green veg is also rich in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and folate. One cup of broccoli provides 2.3 grams of fiber, 5-10% of your Daily Value (DV). 

 

 Broccoli creamy soup 

Ingredients: 1 ½ cups of broccoli (cut into pieces), 1 medium potato, 1 leek, 1 medium onion, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 Tbsp of olive oil, 1 bunch of coriander, 51oz of water / vegetable broth, salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions:

1. Wash the leek and cut it into pieces. Peel the potato, onion and garlic cloves, cut the potato and onion into cubes.

2. Heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onion and garlic and let it sautée for 2-3 minutes. Add the broccoli, the leek and potato cubes and stir and let it sautée for 2-3 minutes. Add 51 oz of water or vegetable broth and cook until the vegetables are tender.

3. Remove from the heat, add the coriander and reduce to a puree. 4. Season with salt and pepper and serve with a drizzle of olive oil (you can also add croutons and fresh coriander leaves). Note: you can adjust the water/broth amount to your preferred consistency.

 

Brussels Sprouts

 

We can’t write a list of must-have vegetables in the winter season without giving Brussels sprouts a shout out! While they tend to make a big show around Christmas, Brussel sprouts are versatile and delicious throughout the colder months. If you can, buy Brussel sprouts on a stalk as they will last much longer than pre-cut ones. 

 

Brussel sprouts are high in nutrients like vitamin C and K, antioxidants, and fiber. They belong to the brassica family alongside veg like broccoli, kale, and cabbage. Brussels sprouts boast a sulfur-containing compound called glucosinolate, which is responsible for that bitter and distinct flavor

Spicy Honey Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Ingredients: Brussel sprouts, honey, olive oil, red chili pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt, pepper.

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 2. Wash 1 pound of Brussel sprouts, dry, and cut into ¼ pieces. Place into a bowl. 3. Add 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp honey 1 tsp garlic powder, 1tsp salt, and 1 tsp of red chili pepper flakes and mix until evenly coated. 3. Spread Brussel sprouts out on a baking sheet evenly and bake for 15-20 minutes or until Brussel sprouts are brown around the edges. 4. Remove and serve as desired.

 

Cabbage

 

A coleslaw star, cabbage tends to get sweeter the cooler the weather, an effect known as the cabbage becoming “frost kissed.” Cabbage is known to thrive in the colder months and can even be picked in winter. The flavor is much crisper when raw and transitions to sweet the longer you cook it. 

 

The humble cabbage is surprisingly full of goodness. It’s a good source of vitamins C and K, fiber, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. 

 

In Vietnamese and German cuisine, stuffed cabbage rolls are a staple where you wrap meat and fillings with fresh cabbage. 

Grilled cabbage

Ingredients: 1 medium cabbage, 3 tablespoons of olive oil or melted butter, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp paprika

Instructions

1. Cut cabbage into 8 equally sized wedges.

2. Mix together olive oil or butter with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and paprika. 3. Coat each wedge evenly with the seasoning mixture. 4. Wrap each wedge in aluminum foil and grill on medium heat for 15-20 minute. Remove and serve as desired.

 

Carrot

 

You can buy carrots from either winter storage from local farmers or fresh in more temperate regions. While a classic orange color comes to mind with carrots, you can find them in purple and white too. The vivid orange or red hue tends to be the sweetest color of carrots. Eat carrots raw, roast, or grill them. 

 

One serving of carrots provides a whopping 184% of your DV for vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for your eyes, growth, cells, and immunity. Carrots are also a good source of fiber, vitamin K, potassium, calcium, and lutein. 

 

Our souper-fast bowl includes carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, and other fresh ingredients for a high-fiber meal. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley for that extra kick. 

 

Kale

 

Kale can do it all. It thrives in spring, autumn, and even those cold winter months. The cooler temperature actually helps to keep kale sweeter. 

 

You can get different types of kale like curly, red, baby, and cavolo nero. Curly kale is the most common and probably the one you will encounter. Either add it raw to a salad for some crunch or braise it with some garlic for extra flavor.

 

Kale contains several nutrients like potassium, vitamins A, C, and K, and fiber. It’s also a good plant-based source of calcium, essential for strong bones and teeth. 

Kale Salad with beets, apple, goat cheese + maple dijon shallot dressing

Ingredients:

Salad: 8-10 oz of kale, chopped (4-5 cups), 1 apple, chopped (preferably sweet like a honey crisp), 2 medium beets, chopped , ¼-½ cup goat cheese crumbled, ¼ cup chopped walnuts. 

Dressing: ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup minced shallot, 2-3 cloves garlic, finely minced, 1.5-2 tbsp dijon mustard, 1-2 tsp maple syrup, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp oregano, salt to taste

Instructions:

1. In a mason jar, or small bowl, combine olive oil, shallot, dijon mustard, maple syrup, lemon juice, oregano.  Shake ingredients vigorously.  Add salt to taste, shake again.  Set aside.

2. In a large salad bowl, add shredded kale. Coat kale with dressing and using your hands, with kitchen gloves on, massage dressing into kale to soften and marinade the kale.

3. Add in chopped apple, beets and toss.  

4. Top salad with chopped nuts and crumbled goat cheese. Add additional leftover dressing as desired.

 

Winter fruit

 

Despite the colder weather, you can still get your hands on an array of seasonal winter fruit. Here are our must-haves for your fruit bowl this season.

 

 

Grapefruit

 

Although they are more tart with a bitter flavor, grapefruits share a similar taste and acidity profile to oranges. Grapefruit comes into season in January, but they stay sweet until about early summer. They are grown in California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona. 

 

Like other citrus fruits, grapefruit contains vitamins A and C, antioxidants, potassium, fiber, and choline. Grapefruit is especially high in vitamin C, an important nutrient for immune health. Eat grapefruit on its own as a healthy snack, as part of a cocktail, or even turn into a marmalade. 

 

 Grapefruit Salad Ingredients: 

Salad: 2 avocados (peeled and sliced), 2 grapefruits (peeled, segmented / sliced in halves, seeds removed), iceberg lettuce, roasted almond slices to taste.

Dressing: 1/2 shallot, minced, 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 1/2 teaspoons lime zest, 3 tablespoons lime juice, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 teaspoon maple syrup / honey, salt and black pepper to taste.

Instructions: 

1. In a small bowl, mix the vinaigrette ingredients.

2. Prep the grapefruit into segments, sliced in halves.

3. Peel and slice the avocados.

4. Assemble salad: arrange slices of avocados and grapefruit segments on a plate on a bed of a few lettuce leaves. 

5. Spoon dressing over the salad as preferred (keep the leftover dressing in a jar closed tightly and in the fridge - use in other salads) and add the roasted almond slices.

 

Kiwifruit

 

Kiwi is commonly available during the colder months. It’s harvested from winter through spring in more temperate regions. Look for kiwifruit with no blemishes. They should react a little to pressure but not be very soft. 

 

The fruit is full of nutrients like fiber, vitamins C, E, and K, and folate. Kiwifruits are ideal as a quick snack on the go, or you can even turn them into delicious kiwi ice cream. 

 

 Kiwi Jam w/ Chia Seeds 

Ingredients: 10 medium sized kiwis, 1/4 cup of chia seeds and 2 tbsp of honey/maple syrup or sweetener of your choice.

Instructions:

1. Peel the kiwi and cut them into chunks.

2. Blend the kiwis into a purée. 

3. Add the sweetener and blend again until thoroughly mixed.

4. In a mixing bowl mix the kiwi purée with the chia seeds and whisk until all ingredients are combined.

5. Transfer the mixture into a jar and put in the refrigerator to allow the chia seeds to hydrate. It should be thick like jam in about +/- 3 hours. Use it as a spread, along with some yogurt or as you enjoy the best! 

 

Lime 

 

Limes are acidic and tart, making them ideal for cooking and cocktails. One of our favorite winter fruits, make sure to choose bright green and firm limes. They should have some give but not be overly soft. 

 

Like other citrus fruits, limes contain healthful nutrients like vitamins A and C, fiber, magnesium, and calcium. 

Chili Lime Salmon

Ingredients: 4 salmon filets, 1 Tbsp honey, zest of one lime, juice of one lime, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (optional), salt and pepper to taste.

Instructions:

1. Mix together the honey, lime zest, lime juice, chili powder, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using) in a small bowl.

2. Brush mixture on salmon filets. Let marinate if desired or cook immediately. Bake at 400 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes or until cooked through.

 

Lemon  

 

Lemons just work for so many dishes: sweet and savory. Whether adding a dash of lemon to guacamole or topping off delicious pancakes, it’s a kitchen staple. You can find lemons in season from winter through summer. Lemons should be bright yellow with some give. 

 

The citrus fruit contains vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and folate. Lemons are also a good source of hydration and health-boosting nutrients. 

Lemony Garlic Pasta

Ingredients: 10-12 ounces whole wheat pasta, 3 tbsp of butter or olive oil, juice of 1 lemon, zest of ½ lemon, 3 cloves minced garlic, ¼ cup parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, fresh basil to garnish

Directions:

1. Bring salted water to boil on the stove and add in pasta. 2. In a separate skillet on medium heat combine butter or olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and garlic. Let cook for 1-2 minutes. Add ¼ cup of pasta water and parmesan cheese and bring sauce to a simmer, stirring regularly for 4-5 minutes. 3. Drain cooked pasta and add to skillet to combine with sauce. 4. Salt and pepper to taste.

 

Apples

 

The final fruit in our must-have winter produce list has to be apples. While they are available all year, they peak from late summer to early fall. Apples come in a ton of different colors and varieties, including Red Delicious, Gala, and Granny Smith. Interestingly, apples are the most widely consumed fruit in the world. 

 

The fruit is ideal as a quick and healthy snack on the go, in a pie, or baked goods. Try smearing with your favorite nut butter for an extra boost of protein and healthy fats. 

 

Apples are rich in fiber and vitamin C. They also contain potassium, vitamins A and K. Eating apples has been linked to lowering the risk of heart disease. They are rich in soluble fiber, which can help reduce cholesterol and support overall health. 

 

 Apple Vegan Cake:

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup applesauce, 1/3 cup agave / maple syrup / honey, 3 tbsp coconut oil, 1 cup oat milk (or any other of your preference), 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 apple (chopped into small cubes), 1/4 cup raisins, 1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts.

Applesauce: pick your favorite apples (5-6), wash them, cut into small cubes (you can use with the peel on or off - as you prefer), cook them for 20 minutes with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and a little bit water (just so them don’t stick to the pan / pot). Let it cool of a bit and then turn into puree using the blender. (you can use any applesauce leftovers to add into a yogurt and do a yogurt parfait!)

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 356° F.

2. In a bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.

3. In another bowl mix the apple puree with the sweetener of choice, coconut oil, plant-based milk of choice and apple cider vinegar.

4. Add the liquid mixture to the flour, and with a spatula mix it in slightly and carefully.

5. Add the small cubes of apple, the raisins and the chopped hazelnuts and mix again with the spatula carefully.

6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or any other cake pan of your preference), spread the mixture, and bake for 40/45 minutes.

 

There are plenty of fruit and vegetables that thrive throughout the winter months. While it’s not the season for strawberry picking, there’s so much produce to enjoy. What better way to eat fruit and veg than when it’s at its peak of flavor and taste? Trust us; once you start to eat more seasonally, you won’t turn back. 

 

Love to eat more fruit and vegetables without the hassle of seasonality? We have you covered. All kencko bowls and smoothies are freeze-dried. This means they lock in the nutrients so that you can enjoy in-season fruit and veg any time of the year. 

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