A Guide to Winter Produce

Eating produce when it is in season is an important way to not only reduce our carbon footprint, but also to consume healthier and cheaper foods. Winter Produce, Ceres Bistro, Worcester, MAEating locally is one way to encourage local economic growth as well as reduce our use of fossil fuels.

If you choose to only eat produce that is in season, it will also do a lot for your wallet. Have you ever noticed how inexpensive corn on the cob becomes during the summer? A seasonal drop in price happens with most produce. The more abundant a fruit or vegetable is and the less that the stores have to pay for shipping causes its cost to lower.

But what happens in the winter, when the ground is frozen and nothing can grow? Not a lot, especially in New England, which is why root vegetables become so popular in the winter months, since they can be stored for long periods of time. Here is a list of some of the best foods to buy in the winter.

Beets

Beets (formally known as beetroots) are a root vegetable, and therefore can be consumed well into the winter months. Beets can be preserved even longer through pickling. If you can get a beet with the leaves still attached, be sure not to throw away the tops! Those can be eaten as you would spinach—in a salad or sautéed with garlic.

Leeks

Leeks are harvested through December in New England. Winter leeks tend to be smaller and more flavorful than summer leeks. Like their relatives onions and garlic, leeks add a unique flavor to dishes, and taste great when added to omelets.

Carrots

Carrots are a popular winter vegetable because they keep for a long time. While they are typically harvested through September, they are another vegetable that can be kept and sold for months after reaping. If you see purple or white carrots at a farmer’s market, consider giving them a try. They often tend to be more flavorful than regular orange carrots.

Onions & Potatoes

Like carrots, onions and potatoes are harvested in the fall, but then are preserved throughout the winter. Onions and potatoes are typically cured a bit before they hit the stores no matter what time of year, so it is unlikely that you’ll notice a difference in flavor.

Pears

While most fruits native to New England are long gone by the time winter rolls around, pears specifically cultivated for the winter can last for months. They are harvested before fully ripe, and then can be eaten all winter long. Pears can be frozen too, for an extended life.

Here at Ceres Bistro, we encourage the use of seasonal and locally-sourced produce. We find that fresher produce tastes better, which is why we change our menu seasonally. Visit us today to taste some of our dishes that highlight winter produce.

Where do you tend to buy your produce in the wintertime?