What’s In Season This Winter (and how to include them in your meals)
Living by my motto of the 80:20 principle and keepin’ it real with you – I’m quite happy to admit that I have a box of frozen berries and a bag of frozen mango in my freezer (which yes, I happily whiz up into smoothies or raw porridge bowls in the middle of winter).
I still regularly buy fresh tomatoes and very rarely, but sometimes buy stone fruit all the way from America.
But 80% of the time I try to buy locally, seasonal fresh produce. This is because it ensures we are getting the most nutrition from our food because it hasn’t been stored for half the year in a cool room depleting in nutrition.
An added bonus is that we are doing our bit towards saving the planet.
We all know that growing and transporting food is incredibly energy intensive. It certainly contributes a fair share of the toll on our precious resources like water and fuel. Obviously, when we buy “out of season” the produce has to be shipped across the world to reach us, significantly adding to that environmental cost.
So in case you’ve failed to notice how bloody freezing it is at the moment and how everyone has pulled out their woolly jumpers, trackies and Ugg boots (or maybe that’s just us here in Geelong?), clearly it’s well and truly winter here in Victoria.
To celebrate, I wanted to share with you “What’s in Season” this winter and “How You Can Use It” in your meal planning so that 80% of the time you can feel smug about doing your bit for your families health and the environment too.
Here it is:
Starting with FRUIT
Poached pears are synonymous with winter desserts…in my opinion anyway.
This Baked Pear recipe by The Mindful foodie is amazing.
If poached pears aren’t your thing, my other favourite pear dessert is this Carrot Cake Chia Pudding Recipe from Jessica Cox.
Apples can definitely be enjoyed on their own and are great for lunch boxes!
Alternatively, you can stew some sliced up with a cinnamon quill and a teaspoon of cloves until tender and serve it with a dollop of full fat natural yoghurt or some homemade granola as a sweet snack.
Apples are also the perfect addition to your breakfast options like this coconut muesli mix.
Or you could give these Spinach Crepes with Chickpea and Apple Tahini filling by Green Kitchen Stories a go.
If you really can’t be bothered with recipes, you can simply freeze ripe bananas and whiz them up into this banana ice cream for a sweet treat.
Grapefruit always makes me think of my mum.
Why, you may ask?
Because I shared half a grapefruit with her every morning for breakfast for as long as I can remember.
So if you can cope with their tartness, grapefruit is delicious eaten on it’s own!
But if you’re not that adventurous, pairing grapefruit in a salad with winter lettuce leaves and some punchy cheeses is sure to be popular. Try this Winter Grapefruit Salad recipe from Food52 or this Citrus Salad by Green Kitchen Stories.
Kiwi Fruit is delicious on it’s own. Just cut it in half and scoop out the flesh for a portable, tasty snack.
They also make for a fabulous addition to smoothies, fruit salads and salsas.
Lemon juice is wonderful at bringing out the natural acidic flavour of our food.
Plus is so versatile! Lemon can be added to enhance both sweet and savory dishes so don’t just think about adding it to your salad dressings and marinades. It’s fabulous in desserts too!
I particularly love adding lemon to fish, lamb and chicken and I use it as the basis for most (if not all) of my salad dressings.
Don’t just stop at the juice though, you can use the zest to further enhance the flavour or even try preserving them.
As with lemon, lime juice is equally wonderful at bringing out the acidic flavours in food and can be added to enhance both sweet and savory dishes too.
Why not give this tangy salsa recipe a go?
Mandarins & Oranges
Citrus fruits are in season during winter.
Personally I think mandarins are the perfect snack for little people. Easy to transport around in a lunch box or handbag, simple to peel and so delicious.
I particularly love adding citrus flavours to my baking like these delicious Choc Orange Tarts, or My Spelt Sourdough Hot Cross buns (which you can make as a loaf to save messing around with the buns).
Orange or mandarin segments are a brilliant way to jazz up a salad. Try this Lentil, Beetroot and Orange Salad recipe from Taste.
And don’t just stop at food, add some orange peel next time you whip up a batch of my Spicy Chai Tea.
Moving onto VEGETABLES…
Roasted, grated, boiled. Beetroot is one of my favourite (and most utilised) veg.
Keen for a snack? Try Stacey Clare’s Beetroot Chips. After a new salad recipe? This Roast Pumpkin, Beet and Cannellini Bean Salad by Jessica Cox is delicious and Green Kitchen Stories have you covered with this Raw Apple and Beetroot Quinoa one.
Photo credit: Green Kitchen Stories
Next time you’re looking for a celebration cake recipe, give this Chocolate Beetroot Cake recipe a go by The Nutrition Guru and The Chef.
“Meat and 3 veg” is a winning winter meal, of which one of the “3 veggies” could be simply steamed broccoli.
If you want to try something new, give Deliciously Ella’s Warm Buckwheat and Broccoli Salad a go.
Sarah Britton of My New Roots has all winter veg (including broccoli) covered in her Winter Abundance Bowl recipe. Heidi from Apples Under My Bed has glammed up the humble broccoli with this silky, salty bagna cauda sauce recipe.
I was never a fan of brussel sprouts growing up. I either hadn’t given my taste buds time to mature or we were cooking them wrong.
You could add some shredded cabbage to any winter dish really.
Try my Deconstructed Sushi Bowl for starters.
Or if you’re feeling like trying something a little different this Okonomiyaki (Japanese Pizza) recipe by 101 cookbooks is super simple and sooo yummy (when topped with kapmanis!).
If Asian food isn’t your thing then my Pulled Pork Sliders with Slaw should do the trick?
Carrots are another family staple you can easily include into your meals on a regular basis.
You can literally do anything with carrots. They are great for snacking on raw with a yummy dip, easily grated, steamed, roasted…
If you’re after some inspiration, here are some of my fave carrot recipes:
Sarah at My New Roots has made these carrots taste like lollies.
Photo credit: My New Roots
George Eats has just shared a fabulously Creamy CocoNutty Thai Carrot Soup recipe. I don’t know how many times I’ve made this Carrot Cake recipe from Bianca at Wholefood Simply. It’s super simple and delicious!
I used to hate cauliflower.
I thought the only way one could possibly enjoy it was by drowning it in cheese sauce.
I was not alone in thinking that. Carl agreed.
That was until we started actually giving it a go. And boy have we changed our tune.
We’ve made pizza bases using cauliflower check out Alex T’s Cauli Pizza Base recipe.
Photo credit: Alextcooks
We have also substituted it for white rice (here’s a recipe) on more than a number of occasions, roasted it countless times to add to salads. I even rubbed it with Indian spices and yoghurt and baked it whole in the oven following this recipe by the amazing Sarah Britton from My New Roots and lastly, enjoyed it in this cauliflower soup recipe.
I’ve been converted. Cauliflower is delicious.
Celery is another wonderful raw snack option. It’s great to cut up into sticks and dipped into hummus and nut butters.
I also use diced celery in my spag bowl sauce or taco filling. It sautés off perfectly with onion and garlic to add another dimension to your dishes.
Onions and Leeks
If you’re after a Creamy Potato and Leek Soup recipe without the butter and cream this one is delicious.
If soup isn’t tickling your fancy, this Lemony Leek Frittata with Goats Cheese by The Kitchn may be more your thing?
Snow Peas and Beans
We planted out some winter veggies in our brand new veggie patch this year and so far the only thing we’ve been able to enjoy has been a handful of snow peas. Regardless, we still shriek with excitement each time another is ready to be picked.
We like using them in Well Nourished’s Asian Soup recipe best!
Photo credit: Well Nourished.
And this is a really yummy Green Bean Recipe by 101 Cookbooks, showcasing some other wonderful winter ingredients.
Potatoes hardly need an introduction and if you’re anything like me, you no doubt already have a caveat of recipes up your sleeve and a number of novel ways to include them in your meal planning. *Cough Roasted in Duck Fat *cough *cough.
Just in case you want some more inspiration though, my favourite Winter Roast Chicken and Dutch Cream Potato recipe is this one by Karen Martini.
We also love Well Nourished’s Vegetarian Shepherds Pie Recipe.
Baked sweet potato is a staple in our house. Try this AHHMAZING Big Comfy Sweet Potato recipe by Sarah Britton at My New Roots.
And never struggle with soggy Sweet Potato Fries again with Jessica Cox’s recipe!
It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I love rhubarb.
There are loads of different greens available right through winter. Think Silver Beet, Spinach, Lettuce and Kale.
This Winter Rainbow Panzanella by My New Roots pairs kale with some yummy winter veggies for a vibrant meal.
Blanching greens and sautéing them with a healthy fat like olive oil is a fabulous way to eat them. Try this Hearty Garlic Greens recipe from Martha Stewart.
I always add a handful of spinach to my smoothies. Once it’s all blitzed up, you can’t tell it’s in there making it an easy way to boost your veggie intake without really trying!
So there you go – oodles of inspiration from the best of the best to help you keep you enjoying fresh fruit and veggies right through winter!
Tell me, what’s your favourite winter recipe?
Brigid is The Wholesome Mum to two gorgeous daughters, Lilly and Georgie. And wife to handsome, funny Carl.
She spends a big portion of her days making sure their household doesn't fall apart, that the girls are fed, clothed and everyone is generally happy. This can be tough with a 3 year old!
The rest of her time is spent divided between pottering around in the kitchen concocting up healthy wholesome recipes and running. She loves running!
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