Winter produce needs more appreciation. We’re here to provide it!
One of the easiest ways to lead a more sustainable lifestyle is to buy in-season produce— bonus points if it’s local! When you go to any regular grocery store, the vast majority of the produce that you see is actually out-of-season and, is therefore, also imported. Many people assume that because the winter is cold and harsh in most regions across the country, that winter produce would be non-existent, that is, if they don’t already think that all of the produce in the grocery store was in-season year-round, already.
Don’t get us wrong, sometimes buying out-of-season can’t be avoided and can be a good thing, too! Many local farms have special greenhouses that allow farmers to grow produce that is both out-of-season and non-native. However, this isn’t as common since it can be more expensive and time-consuming. Therefore, over half of all fresh fruit and nearly a third of vegetables that Americans buy are actually imported from other countries. The major problem with this is that there is a ton of energy, material, water, and fuel that is wasted in the process of importing millions of pounds of produce overseas. Generally, the less something has to travel, the less it wastes.
However, refusing to buy imported produce and instead, focusing on growing out-of-season or non-native produce has some drawbacks, too. Most crops won’t grow or require more energy, water, and sustenance to grow under those circumstances. This means that a lot is also wasted by growing produce in the wrong place at the wrong time. So, what’s the solution to avoid all of this extra waste for a piece of fruit or veg? Buy seasonally!
Winter produce rocks. Carrots, celery, broccoli, potatoes, and citrus fruits are all winter-grown and are some of our favorites. If you want to shop smarter and waste less, take a look at all of the produce that’s in-season and exclusively shop those items. Also remember that even if a certain kind of produce might not have been grown in your state, it sure traveled far less than it would have if it crossed the ocean.
Here are some of our favorite things that you can make with winter produce:
- CARROTS & POTATOES ROASTED WITH ONION AND GARLIC
- If you’re looking for a delicious side to accompany a roasted chicken or piece of meat, look no further! This quick dish uses only in-season vegetables. Talk about a hearty, healthy, and tasty side dish!
- CREAMY MUSHROOM SOUP
- Mushrooms are another awesome in-season item and soup is the perfect meal on a cold winter day. We recommend adding some leeks (also another in-season item!) to this recipe for some extra flavor!
- CLASSIC PEAR TART
- Who said produce always had to be healthy? Incorporate winter produce into your dessert with this delicious and in-season pear tart!
- CLEMENTINE CANDLE
- Ok, so this isn’t a recipe, but making a clementine candle is something totally cool to do with your clementine peels! Every time we eat one at home, we make a candle with it and it smells delicious!
- ORANGE POMEGRANATE SALAD
- Make the most of citrus and pomegranate season! This tasty salad packs a lot of flavor for a healthy dish!
With tasty treats like watermelons and juicy tomatoes, summer produce gets all of the hype. However, winter produce is awesome and we make the argument that it is actually the best season for produce. If you think about it, most vegetables that meals are built around use winter produce. The next time you write off winter produce as lame or nonexistent, keep in mind that it’s the reason why we are able to enjoy mashed potatoes!
When you shop in-season, and more importantly, when you shop at local farmers markets if you are able to, it has a tremendous impact on conserving more and wasting less. Not to mention how healthy and tasty doing this would be. If that still isn’t a convincing enough argument, in-season produce costs less! Save money, enjoy your produce, and help keep the world a little greener. Bon appetit!