What Does “In Season” Mean?
I’m sure that we have all heard that when going to the supermarket, it is helpful to your purse and your health to seek fruits and vegetables that are in “In Season”. But what exactly does “In Season” mean?
Well, the term “In Season” refers to the time of year that the particular fruit or vegetable in question is harvested. Keep in mind, that we are not talking about the general time of year that the food is grown as grow times and harvest times differ. We are speaking to the time of year when the fruit or vegetable is ripe and ready to be harvested.
Benefits Of Buying In Season
There are two main benefits to the consumer who actively seeks out and purchases fruits and vegetables that are in season.
The first and most obvious benefit is to the consumer’s pocket book. When fruits and vegetables are in season, they are more readily available to stores, which lowers their price to the consumer. Who doesn’t like saving money?
The second, less obvious benefit of buying in season is that the food you are buying is actually more healthy for you. Fruits and vegetables that are in season are at their peak of flavor and nutrition. Enjoy the most flavorful food and a more healthy body by shopping for food that is in season!
Top Ten Winter Vegetables
Kale is a delicious leafy green power food that has one of the highest nutrient contents of any food. It can be used in smoothies, salads, or stir fries. Kale can be harvested at any time of the year, but is at it’s peak in the winter. Kale contains more vitamin C than an orange and is also especially high in vitamins K and A.
2. Brussels Sprouts
Brussels Sprouts are a member of the same super food family as Kale. These delicious little treats look like small heads of cabbage and are called for in many seasonal dishes. Brussels Sprouts are full of antioxidants and are especially high in vitamin K and A. Besides being a great source of vitamins and antioxidants, Brussels Sprouts are a great source of protein. Incorporating just half of a cup to your daily diet will have your well on your way to meeting your healthy Omega 3 Fatty Acids requirements.
Carrots are a popular and delicious root vegetable that are common in recipes for all seasons. Though they can be grown and harvested throughout the year, carrots are considered to be in season in the winter due to the fact that cold weather causes them to convert their starches into sugars to avoid freezing. This means that carrots are at their peak of flavor and nutrition in the winter months. Carrots are a good source of carbohydrates, fiber, and potassium.
4. Swiss Chard
Swiss Chard is another leafy green that is packed full of delicious nutrition. This vegetable is low in calories and high on nutrition and taste. A treat for the eyes as well as the palette, this kale-like veggie has colorful stems. Swiss Chard is high in vitamins A and C. Swiss Chard does not need to be salted as it already contains sodium.
Parsnips are a crunchy root vegetable similar in appearance and texture to the carrot. Like carrots, the parsnip will convert starches to sugar in frigid temperatures making them an ideal winter snack. Parsnips provide a tasty source of vitamin C, Folate, and Manganese.
6. Collard Greens
Collard Greens belong to the same family as our Kale and Brussels Sprouts. Collard Greens are the most cold hardy of the three making them an excellent choice of foods to grow or buy during the winter months. Collard Greens have a slightly bitter taste that has been contributed to the high level of calcium found in the plant. Just one cup of Collard Greens will deliver nearly one third of your daily value of calcium. This plant is often used to supplement the diet of those seeking to increase their bone health as it also contains high levels of vitamin K which has been known to improve bone health.
Rutabagas are a highly underestimated root vegetable. Like the Carrot and Parsnip, the flavor and nutritional value of the Rutabaga improves in the winter months. One cup of cooked Rutabaga can deliver nearly half of the recommended daily value of vitamin C and nearly 20% of your daily value of potassium. A fun fact about the versatile Rutabaga is that all parts of the plant can be consumed!
8. Red Cabbage
Red Cabbage is from the same family as our other frost friendly greens and is similar in taste if not appearance to regular green varieties of cabbage. The Red Cabbage variety, however is found to be higher in antioxidants and nutrients than it’s green siblings. Just one cup of cooked Red Cabbage delivers 85 percent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C as well as significant levels of vitamins A and K.
Radishes are the powerhouse of our winter root crops. They are lovely to behold with their rich jewel toned skin and pack a punch when it comes to unique natural flavors. The Radish boasts a strong peppery taste making it a wonderful addition to salads and stir-fry dishes. Rich in vitamins B, C, and potassium, the Radish is a one of a kind veggie.
While Parsley is often used as a mere embellishment for the plated dish, the wise consumer will eat Parsley any way they can get it. Parsley withstands cold weather much better than most herbs which is why it is included in our winter season plants. Simply one ounce of parsley contains over half of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C and fulfills your daily recommended intake of vitamin K. Parsley is great as a spice in most dishes and makes an excellent addition to a plated dish.
Happy Healthy Shopping
Now that you have learned about the many health benefits of the top ten in season vegetables of winter, go forth to improve your health and happiness! Happy healthy shopping everyone!