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The weather forecast signals a welcome change in seasons. When temperatures cool down, appetites for fall and winter seasonal produce warm up. It’s time to stock your fridge with healthy vegetables too good to miss this time of year.
Cool-Weather Produce: 7 Nutritious Choices for Fall and Winter
You’re making a shopping list and checking it twice. You want to include plenty of fall and winter produce. This list will help you decide when to buy the best seasonal produce, how to store it, and how to incorporate it into nutritious, hearty meals.
1. Brussels Sprouts
Of all the autumn foods in season, Brussels Sprouts stand out as one of the healthiest options. A nutty, slightly sweet taste makes this veggie a favorite cool-weather side or entree.
Buy at Peak: Brussels sprouts are full of flavor from September through February.
Keep It Fresh: Stalks and loose sprouts keep best unwashed in the crisper drawer.
Prep It Right: Trim sprout ends, and remove any loose leaves before a quick steam or slow oven-roast.
This fall veggie is highly valued for its impressive levels of antioxidants and fiber. Half a cup of broccoli delivers more vitamin C than half an orange.
Buy at Peak: Broccoli grows year round, but it’s especially flavorful in the fall and winter.
Keep It Fresh: Rinse before wrapping in a paper towel and storing in the crisper drawer.
Prep It Right: Preserve broccoli’s nutritious goodness with a quick steam or pan saute.
Carrots are one of the brightest examples of colorful fall produce in season. They get their high points for presentation and nutrition from impressive levels of beta carotene that converts into important vitamin A.
Buy at Peak: The season for most carrot varieties runs through late fall, but don’t miss winter harvest carrots.
Keep It Fresh: Trim away tops, rinse carrots and keep wrapped with damp paper towels in the crisper drawer.
Prep It Right: Enjoy carrots raw, simmered in soups and stews or pureed for colorful smoothies.
Mildly sweet, leafy kale is an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. A single cup serving provides a high dose of antioxidants and heart-healthy fiber.
Buy at Peak: Nutritious kale is available through the fall at grocery stores and farmers markets.
Keep It Fresh: Store paper towel-wrapped bunches of kale in plastic bags in your refrigerator crisper drawer.
Prep It Right: Blanch trimmed leaves before simmering, pan-frying or blending into healthy smoothies.
5. Napa Cabbage
Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, is both a fall and winter seasonal vegetable with a subtle, sweet flavor and powerful nutritional profile. It’s a delicious source of vitamin B9 which is considered essential to good circulatory health.
Buy at Peak: Napa cabbage is available both fall and winter.
Keep It Fresh: Wrap Napa cabbage with plastic wrap, and store upright in the coldest area of the refrigerator.
Prep It Right: Trim leaves as needed, rinse, and drain before adding to salads, slaws and stir-fries.
6. Sweet Potatoes
Flavorful sweet potatoes are a staple on the list of winter root veggies. One medium sweet potato delivers more than 400% of the RDA for vitamin A, plenty of healthy fiber and only 100 calories.
Buy at Peak: Look for premium sweet spuds from early September through the winter months.
Keep It Fresh: Sweet potatoes stored in a cool, dark space stay fresh for up to one week.
Prep It Right: Simple to prepare, sweet potatoes are prefect for roasting, boiling or stove-top grilling.
7. Winter Squash
Acorn, butternut and spaghetti are just a few varieties of winter squash that inspire healthy cold-weather cooking. This versatile veggie is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
Buy at Peak: Shop for your favorite winter squash from late September through the end of February.
Keep It Fresh: Stored in a cool, dark pantry, squash keeps for as long as three months.
Prep It Right: Winter squash is easily grilled, simmered and oven-roasted in all types of recipes.
From Our Farms to Your Table
Enjoy the change in seasons as you warm up the kitchen with fall and winter vegetables.
Dan Holt is an experienced produce professional who started in the industry as a quality assurance inspector in the early 1990s and leads sales at Hitchcock Farms as Vice President. Prior to joining Hitchcock Farms, Dan enjoyed success in organic, specialty and conventional produce and with independent operators, regional and national chains in North America and abroad. Dan continues his passion in produce through collaborative inspiration and promoting healthy and sustainable food.