It’s the start of the new year, bringing forth another month of winter produce with some additions. As we bask in the fresh feeling of a new year and start to think intentionally about our culinary goals for the year, what better way to start than with seasonal eating?
What’s in season now?
Across the United States, we’re all likely experiencing varying climates, which plays a role in what produce is available and accessible in our region. So while the produce in season in your area might differ in January, 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 produce in season this month and some recipe ideas to test out using these fresh ingredients.
From September to mid-February, we can find Brussel sprouts in season. Brussel sprouts are a great source of vitamins B6, C, and K, fiber, potassium, iron, thiamine, magnesium, and phosphorus. Their nutrients provide our bodies with protective antioxidants, which are needed to help reduce oxidative stress placed on our body’s cells as well as lower our risk of chronic disease. These veggies can also help support our heart health by reducing the risk of heart disease and our gut health by providing sulfur, which can help us defend our bodies against infection.
Looking for more inspiration? What was once possibly considered inedible by us as children have now become a wildly popular side dish on the dinner table and at every restaurant. These veggies are particularly delicious when roasted and marinated in whatever your heart desires – olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and honey, sprinkled with a pinch of parmesan cheese. They can be similarly sauteed if you prefer a stovetop route with oil tossed in salt, pepper, and any seasoning you choose. Raw, shaved Brussel sprouts can be a great addition to your salads for an added crunch.
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Sweet potatoes are available all year round but are at their peak in the fall and winter months. Sweet potatoes are rich in nutrients, including vitamins A and C, calcium, iron, thiamin, zinc, manganese, and both soluble and insoluble fiber. Due to the presence of both types of fiber, sweet potatoes can be a great help to our digestive system.
These starchy vegetables can also help manage type-2 diabetes to help improve blood sugar regulation and promote good eye health due to the presence of beta-carotene, which our body converts into vitamin A and is used to form light-detecting receptors within our eyes. The beta-carotene in sweet potatoes can also help with immune function due to vitamin A’s role in maintaining the mucous membranes within our gut and respiratory system.
Looking for more inspiration? Sweet potatoes can be an excellent swap for our typical white potatoes, whether creating a sweet potato mash, a baked sweet potato loaded with our favorite toppings, or sweet potato fries as a savory side. You can cut and roast the sweet potatoes and roast with garlic and herbs to serve at your next dinner, create a sweet potato casserole with a delicious pecan topping, or keep the holiday tradition going with sweet potatoes topped with ooey-gooey marshmallows. On the topic of all things sweet, this chocolate sweet potato mousse can help satisfy any sweet tooth during the winter months.
We’ve talked about butternut squash in the past, but winter squashes are a wide array, including acorns, red kabocha, hubbard, and more readily available from early fall through the winter. These squashes contain carotenoids, including beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, protein, vitamins B6 and C, fiber, magnesium, and potassium. Winter squash can aid heart health, with potassium helping counteract the effects sodium has on our blood pressure. Squash also contains a special type of carbohydrates that have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, in addition to properties that help regulate cholesterol and insulin.
Looking for more inspiration? Your winter squashes can be sliced, diced, roasted, baked into a casserole, or pureed into a hearty, silky soup. As an hors d’oeuvres, you can stuff a winter squash with a mixture of grains, cheese, and veggies (meat optional), or for a side dish, cook through the squash and give it a mash, choosing a sweet or savory route with cinnamon, sugar, and nutmeg or butter, garlic, and herbs.