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Food

Your December Produce Guide: Eating Seasonally This Month

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We’ve made it to the year’s final month, but we haven’t run out of new produce in season to fill our kitchens with. While you’ll still find several fruits and vegetables in peak season during the late fall months, including cranberries and pomegranates, there is new produce available to test our culinary skills.

What’s in season now? 

Across the United States, many of us experience varying climates, which often affects what produce is available and accessible in our region. So while the produce in season in your area might differ in December, we’re sharing a few options for seasonal eating this month to provide some inspiration for you in the kitchen–and on your next run to the grocery store or farmer’s market. Here’s a list of some of the fruits and vegetables in season this month, along with some recipe ideas to test out using these seasonal fresh ingredients. 

Mandarin Oranges

From mid-November through early February, you can find fresh mandarin oranges in certain regions. Similar to regular oranges, mandarin oranges can be a great source of vitamin C, though slightly less than a navel orange. They also provide our bodies with several antioxidant phytochemicals, including beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin, which protect the body from free radicals and are the predecessor to vitamin A to aid in our development, eyesight, growth, and immune response.

Are you looking for more inspiration? Mandarin oranges are an excellent portable snack for the on-the-go. Like many other fruits, these citruses can be canned later. They’re the perfect addition to your salad, especially with cabbage and sesame seeds added into the mix, as well as to your baking for a mandarin orange cake or scones.

Collard Greens

Collard greens can be planted in the late summer for an early autumn and winter harvest. These are a group of nutrient-dense leafy vegetables that contain green leaves and tough stems that are removed before the vegetable is consumed. Collard greens provide our bodies with various vitamins and nutrients, including vitamins A, C, K, and B-6. They also provide calcium, iron, fiber, magnesium, thiamin, niacin, and choline. They can help strengthen our bones, promote better heart health, aid in our vision, and can help improve our cholesterol.

Are you looking for more inspiration? Collard greens are a staple in Southern cooking, with countless recipes to try when it comes to a braised version of this veggie. You can also try these Mother Earth collard green wraps for another option.

Parsnips

You can find parsnips in season from October through May. This root vegetable provides our body with vitamins C and K, folate, and trace amounts of calcium, iron, and riboflavin. In addition, parsnips provide our body with fiber to aid digestion and help lower our cholesterol, antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties and improve and support our immune system.

Are you looking for more inspiration? This root vegetable, similar to a carrot, can be boiled, roasted, sautéed, or whatever your heart desires. Cut or dice the parsnips and marinade them in a honey mixture with your preferred herbs or in some garlic butter for the perfect side; make them into a purée, slice them and add them to a salad for an extra crunch, or use them as an addition into this season’s chicken soup.

Endive

Endives are in season from late fall through early spring. This vegetable falls into the Cichorium family, which includes radicchio. This vegetable comes in two varieties: curly endive (or frisée), which has curled, dark green leaves, and escarole, which has smooth leaves and a yellow center. Endive can provide our body with nutrients, including beta-carotene, which our body converts into vitamin A. It’s also a good source of folate to help our bodies produce new red blood cells and potassium to aid heart health.

Are you looking for more inspiration? Endives can be a perfect addition to your salads, adding some extra crunch and a trace of bitterness. However, when cooked, this veggie’s flavor transforms into a nutty, sweet addition to the dish. Endives can be roasted, seared, or braised with your preferred seasoning for a nice side.

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