Some of our readers have fretted over which vegetables are best in the winter. We did a little research and found this list of veggies that seem to love cooler climates. Specific crops and harvest dates will depend on your region’s climate and many of these are only available locally in temperate regions. If you happen to live south of the boarder, you may be lucky enough to have a ‘year round’ farmer’s market. If you do, this is a great place to buy freshly grown produce.
Beets In season in temperate climates fall through spring, and available from storage most of the year everywhere else. Fresh beets are often sold with their greens still attached. Ask if they are GMO beets because most of the U.S. grown beets are.
Belgian Endive Mostly “forced” to grow in artificial conditions, and are thus available year-round. Their traditional season (when grown in fields and covered with sand to keep out the light), is late fall and winter.
Broccoli Like many cruciferous vegetables, can be grown year-round in temperate climates so we’ve forgotten it even has a season. But, like the rest of its family, it tastes best (that is, more sweeter than its cousin broccoli raabe) when harvested in the cooler temperatures of fall in most climates.
Broccoli raabe, rapini A leafier vegetable and cousin to broccoli, but it has a more bitter taste. They both like similar (cool) growing conditions.
Brussels sprouts Grows on a stalk, and if you see them for sale that way snap them up – they’ll last quite a bit longer than once they’re cut.
Cabbage Bright and crisp when raw and mellows and sweetens the longer it’s cooked. The cooler the weather it grows in, the sweeter it tends to taste (this effect is called “frost kissed”).
Cardoons Tastes a lot like artichokes; look for firm, heavy-feeling specimens.
Carrots Available from winter storage from local growers in many areas, and fresh in warmer and temperate regions.
Cauliflower May be grown, harvested, and sold year-round, but it is by nature a cool weather crop and at its best in fall and winter and into early spring.
Celeriac/celery root At its best in the cooler months of fall, winter, and early spring (except in cold climates, where you’ll find it during the summer and early fall).
Celery Great liver cleanser, at its best in the fall, with its harvest continuing through winter in warm and temperate climates.
- 1/2 tsp. freshly grated ginger
- 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar or more to taste
- 1 bunch celery – very thinly sliced
- 1/2 small red onion – very thinly sliced
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
In a medium bowl, combine the grated ginger and 2 tsp. vinegar. Toss celery and onion with ginger vinegar. Add more vinegar and salt to taste. Enjoy!
Chicories Cool weather crops that come into season in late fall (and last in temperate climates through early spring).
Curly Endive (Frisée) A chicory at its best in fall and winter.
Escarole A bitter chicory, in season fall and winter.
Fennel Natural season is from fall through early spring. Like most cool weather crops, the plant bolts and turns bitter in warmer weather.
Herbs Grown mostly in hothouses in cooler climates.
Horseradish At its best in fall and winter. Like so many other root vegetables, however, it stores well and is often available in decent shape well into spring.
Jerusalem artichokes/sun chokes Are brown nubs, that look a bit like small pieces of fresh ginger. Look for firm tubers with smooth, tan skins in fall and winter.
Kale Like many hearty cooking greens – cooler weather keeps it sweet.
Kohlrabi Comes into season by the end of fall, but stays at its sweet best into winter.
Leeks More than about 1 1/2 inches wide tend to have tough inner cores. The top green leaves should look fresh – avoid leeks with wilted tops.
Onions Stores well throughout the winter.
Parsnips Looks like a white carrot and has a nutty flavor. Look for thinner parsnips, since fatter ones tend to have a thick, woody core you need to cut out.
Potatoes Stores well in cool dark place.
Radicchio Like all chicories, radicchio is more sweet and less bitter when the weather is cool.
Radishes Especially the large varieties.
Rutabagas These are also known as “yellow turnips” and “Swedes” are a sweet, nutty root vegetables perfect in stews, roasted, or mashed with plenty of butter.
Shallots From storage bring a sweet and delicate onion-slash-garlic flavor to winter cooking.
Sweet potatoes Are often labeled “yams.” They store very well, and are available from local sources year-round in warmer areas, otherwise from late summer through winter.
Turnips Unfortunately have a bad rap they don’t deserve. They are wonderful in soups and stews and delicious when made like mashed potatoes. Fresh turnips have a sharp but bright and sweet flavor. Look for turnips that feel heavy for their size.
Winter squash Comes into season in early fall and usually lasts well into winter.
This is an edited list which was originally compiled By Molly Watson and published at about.com
Photo credit: Molly Watson©