Welcome to our new series on seasonal fruits and vegetables!
When I first started cooking I didn’t understand what was even meant by “seasonal” when it came to food. It wasn’t until I started gardening and shopping at our local farmers markets that it hit home.
Every vegetable and fruit has its season—a season when it is ripe and plentiful, when it tastes the best, and costs the least.
Some say our bodies are designed to eat the foods that are in season around us. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I do know that in middle of winter I crave a big pot of stew with plenty of root vegetables. And in the middle of summer, I rejoice in eating juicy berries and fresh ripe tomatoes.
We in Northern California are blessed to be surrounded by some of the best weather and soil for growing fruits and vegetables. In fact, we grow much of the nation’s produce. So, if it’s in season here, it is likely available at markets across the country.
So, what’s in season in January?
Citrus starts to make an appearance in force. Our lemon trees are loaded with fruit, as are our mandarin orange, blood orange, and navel orange trees. Ruby red grapefruit grown in Texas is full on in season as well.
You can find root vegetables like beets, turnips, parsnips and celery root still in season in January. Sometimes by January parsnips can get a bit woody inside, so look for smaller ones, and if you find that yours have a tough fibrous core, don’t be afraid to return.
Look to the brassicas for your winter green veggies–cabbage, collards, kale, kohlrabi, broccoli and cabbage. Collards are especially sturdy and are good luck for the new year!
Finally, there’s winter squash! You can still find plenty of butternut squash and acorn squash.
Here are some terrific recipes for using the best of January produce. Enjoy!
CITRUS: MANDARIN ORANGES, BLOOD ORANGES, GRAPEFRUIT, LEMON
Grapefruit Avocado Salad: Grapefruit and avocado make the perfect pair in this cheerful, healthy salad! Dressed with a light citrus vinaigrette.
Lemon Chicken: Easy lemon chicken recipe! Not too lemony, just right. With garlic, butter, lemon, thyme, and rosemary.
Beet Citrus Salad with Kale and Pistachios: Healthy and Colorful Beet and Kale Salad! Paleo and vegan, with red and golden beets, blood orange slices, kale, and toasted pistachios.
Lemon Meringue Pie: The BEST lemon meringue pie! Tart and creamy lemon custard filling with a mile-high billowy meringue top.
ROOT VEGETABLES: BEETS, TURNIPS, PARSNIPS, RUTABAGAS, CELERY ROOT
Roasted Root Vegetables with Tomatoes and Kale: Warm up your winter with this cheerful ragout of roasted root vegetables with tomato and kale! It takes about as long to make as it does to roast the root vegetables. Hearty and nourishing.
Roasted Beets with Balsamic Glaze: The BEST way to cook beets? Roasted! These ruby red beets are oven roasted and tossed with orange zest and a balsamic glaze. So good!
Celery Root Mash: A great side to steak or chicken, tastier than mashed potatoes with half the carbs!
Turnip and Potato Patties: Are you a turnip lover? If so, try these delicious turnip and potato patties! They’re a cross between pancakes and fritters, but made with turnips and potatoes.
Cider Vinaigrette Roasted Root Vegetables: Beautiful roasted root vegetables—garnet yams, parsnips, carrots, beets—tossed in an apple cider vinaigrette and roasted until tender and caramelized.
Brassicas: Cabbage, Cauliflower, Kale, Collards
Sweet and Sour German Red Cabbage: Braised Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage, German-style! Only 4 basic ingredients, so easy to make. Perfect with to serve with pork.
Southern Style Collard Greens: Slow cooked collard greens with a ham hock, onions, vinegar and hot sauce. A classic with BBQ!
Kale Salad with Balsamic, Pine Nuts, and Parmesan: This Kale Salad with Balsamic, Pine Nuts and Parmesan is our most requested salad over the holidays. It’s a crowd pleaser!
Kale Pesto: Missing summer pesto? Make this Kale Pesto with lemon, almonds, garlic, Parmesan, and fresh leafy kale. Perfect winter pesto and great with pasta!
Cauliflower Cheddar Soup: Best soup ever on a chilly day! Delicious, smooth, creamy cauliflower soup with sharp cheddar cheese
WINTER SQUASH: BUTTERNUT SQUASH, ACORN SQUASH
Roasted Butternut Squash Kale Sauté: Great side dish for the winter! Roasted cubes of butternut squashed tossed with balsamic sautéed onions, kale, pecans, dried cranberries.
Roasted Winter Squash with Cilantro Chimichurri: Use a mix of squashes, like acorn squash and delicata squash. The cilantro chimichurri makes this simple dish into a showstopper.
Butternut Squash Apple Soup: Simple and easy butternut squash soup! A tart green apple adds just the right balance for the squash.
Vegan Stuffed Squash with Brown Rice and Mushrooms: Use acorn squash or other winter squash. Vegan or vegetarian main course.