December Produce Guide
Hello December and welcome to month 12 of our monthly Seasonal Produce Guides!
We are finishing up the year with an explosion of color, from garnet beets to saffron orange clementines, and purple cauliflower (what will they think of next?) to emerald kiwifruit. Remember to “eat the rainbow” when it comes to produce; the more variety of color, the better for you.
While we can still find pomegranates, apples, and pears in the market, it’s because they store well chilled. Those harvests are mostly over and what are coming in now are the first of the citrus — mandarine oranges. Buy them by the boxful!
This is a great time for brassicas — cauliflower, romanesco broccoli, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards and kale. And of course we couldn’t start winter without root vegetables like turnips and beets, or winter squashes like butternut and kabocha.
Scroll down for recipe ideas of what to make with December produce. Do you have a favorite dish to make with winter fruits or vegetables? Let us know in the comments!
What’s in Season in December?
- Mandarin Oranges – December is the month for mandarin oranges — satsumas, clementines, and tangerines. Halos and Cuties brands are super sweet seedless clementines. Great for a Vitamin-C packed snack!
- Meyer Lemons and Buddha’s Hands – Meyer Lemons are more thinly skinned and less tart than regular lemons. Buddha’s Hands look like fingers of lemon peel, use them for zest. You can find both Meyer lemons and Buddha’s hands at farmers markets.
- Kiwifruit – Make sure a kiwifruit gives a little to the touch before cutting it open. Scoop out the fruit with a spoon. Chop and add to salads or make kiwi salsa!
- Wild mushrooms – Depending on where you live, you may be able to find fresh porcini, chanterelles, and other wild mushrooms. (They like rain.) Sauté them with a little butter and tarragon or herbes de Provence.
- Beets – Roast them, pickle them, cook beets into a soup or serve them with salads. Choose golden beets if mixing with other foods so you don’t have to worry about beets staining everything red.
- Turnips and Rutabagas – By the time December comes around, the baby turnips have grown up. Mature turnips and rutabagas can be on the bitter side, but are great mashed with cream or butter, or cooked into patties. Blanch turnip greens and toss them with pasta, white beans, lemon, and Parmesan.
- Winter Squash – Spaghetti squash, acorn squash, butternut squash, and kabocha, these winter squash will last months stored in a cool spot.
- Collard Greens – The sturdiest of leafy greens, collard greens are considered good luck for the new year. They love being cooked with bacon or ham.
- Kale – If you’re craving pesto in the winter and there’s no basil to be found, kale pesto is the next best thing.
- Kohlrabi – Sputnik-shaped kohlrabi come in purple and light green and tastes similar to broccoli stems. You can eat it raw in salads, or steamed, boiled, baked, grilled, or roasted.
- Cauliflower – Roast cauliflower florets or grate and steam cauliflower to make cauliflower rice.
- Romanesco – A brassica like cauliflower and broccoli, romanesco look like a 3D math project with fractals. They taste closer to broccoli than cauliflower, cook them the same way or use them in a salad.
- Brussels Sprouts – To get the freshest Brussels sprouts, buy them on their stalk. Sauté or roast them whole or halved, sprinkle with lemon juice and Parmesan.
- Chestnuts – Nothing better to remind you of the holiday season than freshly roasted chestnuts (see this guide by Tori Avey). Just make sure you score them first before roasting them, or they’ll explode (this I say from experience). If using in recipes, jarred chestnuts work better than fresh. Look for both fresh and jarred chestnuts in December.
Keep scrolling down for more recipe ideas!