A Short & Sweet Vegetable Guide for the Winter Season

By on November 1, 2014

By Justin Doochin−

Yes, winter is coming to a close, but for many winter vegetables, it’s still considered peak season! While winter is commonly associated with hot chocolate, sledding, and Snuggies, fresh produce seems to be left off the list too often. Why not start the New Year off right by eating vitamin-rich cold-weather foods all winter long. Below are some great vegetables to eat this winter, accompanied by a few delicious Asian cuisine recipes.

The Veggies

Beets

These beautiful purple bulbs are rich in vitamins A, B, C, and potassium, as well as containing cancer antioxidants called betalains. Beets can be stored for up to a month if sealed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. However, the green leaves attached the beets (which are also high in nutrients) should not be store for more than a week.

Broccoli

While broccoli is harvested and eaten year round, for a sweeter, less bitter taste, consume during the fall. These miniature trees are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and fiber. In order to get the most nutrients out of your broccoli, be sure to choose broccoli heads with tight green buds and moist green stems. When storing, place (unwashed) in an open plastic bad in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

broccoli

Cabbage

Loaded with vitamins and minerals that are said to reduce cholesterol and risk of cancer, most cabbages are ready for harvest during fall and winter. Cabbages can keep for up to a week in the refrigerator if tightly sealed in plastic.

Brussels sprouts

As a cousin to the cabbage, Brussels sprouts hold the same nutrients and health benefits as the cabbage. Because the peak season for Brussels sprout consumption is September through February, I love incorporating these vegetables in my winter dishes. Although Brussels sprouts can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 weeks, you might need to peel the first outer layer off if browned while stored.

Winter Squash

Don’t be intimidated by their hard outer layer, winter squashes are loaded with nutrients such as carotenoids, vitamin A, and potassium. Whether its acorn, butternut, or kabocha squash, these gourds are prime winter produce, hitting the market in late September through March. Since winter squash continues to ripen after being picked, they should be consumed between 1-2 months of harvesting.

wintersquash

Sweet potatoes

While sweet potatoes are harvested year round, they are best and most popular from September through February. It is said that sweet potatoes are ranked number one vegetable for most nutrients and health benefits. Packed with vitamins A, C, and antioxidants, sweet potatoes are also a great source of dietary fiber. Store these veggies outside the refrigerator in a dry place for up to 2 weeks.

sweet potatoes

Parsnips

While these long, pale, carrot looking veggies might not bring the color most vegetables bring to the table, they are loaded with fiber, folate, vitamin C and potassium. Although I enjoy parsnips year round, they are at their best from late fall to early spring. When storing, be sure to place in plastic bad for no more than a month in the refrigerator.

parsnips

Snow Peas

A stir fry necessity, snow peas are packed with loads of Vitamins C and K. Unfortunately, snow peas only stay fresh for a few days in the fridge, so it’s best to cook immediately after buying.

Kale

While grown in warmer climates, Kale is best consumed during the colder seasons. This veggie is packed with vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, C, K, and E, as well as calcium, iron, and potassium. This incredibly healthy plant also helps aid in digestion and cancer resistance. After washing and patted dry, store these greens in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks in a plastic bag.

kale

Delicious Asian Cuisines

Asian Broccoli Stir-Fry

brocstirfry

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 4 cups small fresh broccoli florets
  • 1 can (8 oz) Sliced Water Chestnuts, drained
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cup La Choy Teriyaki Stir Fry Sauce-Marinade
  • 2 teaspoons Soy Sauce

Directions

  1. Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add broccoli; cook and stir 2 minutes. Add water chestnuts and water. Cover; cook 2 minutes more or until broccoli is crisp-tender. Stir in stir-fry sauce and soy sauce.

Szechuan BBQ Pork and Veggies

bbqporkandveggies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Hunt’s Original Barbecue Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons Soy Sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • PAM Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 3/4 pound pork tenderloin, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 cups baby carrots (2 cups = about 9 oz)
  • 2 cups fresh snow pea pods

Directions

  1. Stir together barbecue sauce, honey, soy sauce and crushed red pepper in small bowl; set aside.
  2. Spray large nonstick skillet or wok with cooking spray; heat over medium-high heat. Add pork; cook 4 to 6 minutes or until cooked through, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add barbecue sauce mixture and carrots; cook 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pea pods; cook 2 minutes or until pea pods are bright green and mixture is hot, stirring occasionally.

Author Bio: Justin writes about healthy living and food on behalf of PF Chang’s frozen dishes, Asian frozen meals inspired by the signature flavors of the Bistro’s Asian cuisine.

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A Short & Sweet Vegetable Guide for the Winter Season