Last of the Winter Harvest
Hello foodlovers. Winter is well and truly here so I hope that this post finds you warm and comfortable at home or sitting in a coffee shop with a cup of your favorite warming beverage. Winter can be a difficult time for grocery shopping as many of our favorite fruit and vegetables are no longer in season - so what are you going to make for dinner? The main staples that people are used to in winter are soups, squash, citrus and beans but the good news is that there is still plenty of produce available - it just may not be what you are used to seeing so lets take a look at some of the more delicious and interesting produce currently appearing in the farmers markets and farm stands right now:
Tangelo: These are a hybrid citrus fruit that is easily recognized by the "nipple" where the stem joins the fruit. There are two varieties of tangelo; the Orlando tangelo, and the Honeybell. The Honeybell is a cross between a tangerine and a pomelo, hence the name tangelo, while the Orlando tangelo is a hybrid of a tangerine and a grapefruit. Both varieties are very juicy and easy to peel with the Honeybell being larger and sweeter than the Orlando. Like all citrus fruits they are high in vitamin C - perfect to help stave off colds - high in fibre and one of my Mom's favorites; so I know it well. Use the zest in recipes whenever possible too as it contains many compounds that have anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties.
Asian Pear: Also known as an Apple Pear, they were originally bought over by the Chinese during the goldrush days and are now enjoying a resurgence in popularity. They are large, sweet and juicy like pears but can be eaten when still firm and crisp like an apple. They also don't oxidize and turn brown as quickly as apples so are perfect for platters and kids lunch boxes. While high in fibre and vitamin C like many fruits, they also contain significant amounts of vitamin K which is important for bones and blood health--great for the winter months.
White Guava: There are about 100 different guava species with skins of many different colors but inside they are either pink or white. They are high in minerals, one of the highest sources of antioxidants and have three times as much vitamin C than oranges or lemons! A perfect fruit for helping stave of winter ailments. The white guava also has significantly more Vitamin C and minerals than the pink variety so we are blessed to live where an otherwise tropical fruit still grows at this time of the year!
Purple Mustard Greens: We all know that greens are good for us - a good source of minerals, vitamins and phyto-nutrients, they are high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory and natural detoxifying properties. Mustard greens are particularly rich in vitamins A, C and contain extremely high amounts of vitamin K which is necessary for healthy blood and bones. Nutritionally, purple mustard greens are no different to the standard green variety but they add color to a dish making it more likely your kids won't leave it on the plate because it's green!
So much of the winter produce in the markets and farm stands just happens to be full of vitamin C! Coincidence? I think not - more like nature is trying to tell us what to eat...
Now let's get creative and use some market fresh produce to make a warming winter dinner. Something that always satisfies on a cold winters eve is is a dish full of warming roast vegetables:
Winter Vegetable Pan Roast
Root vegetables have an affinity for each other and you can’t go wrong with almost any combination. Things that grow together, go together. Cut them into uniformly sized pieces so they will cook at the same rate. Then douse them with good olive oil, sprinkle them with sea salt, and add fresh herbs and a good squeeze of those tangelos you picked up from the market. This can be served as an accompaniment to another dish ( like a side salad of those purple mustard greens) or as a warming repast on a its own!
- 4 cups root vegetables (potatoes, sunchokes, celeriac, parsnips, beets, carrots, etc.)
- 2 red onions, peeled and cut into slim wedges
- 4 small shallots, peeled
- 4 whole cloves garlic, peeled
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 or 2 teaspoons ground chile, like aleppo or urfa biber
- 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
- 3 tablespoons tangelo juice
- 2 teaspoons tangelo zest
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or foil.
Peel the root vegetables, if desired, and cut them into chunks of roughly the same size (about 2 inches). Place in a large bowl and toss with remaining ingredients. Spread on prepared pan in a single layer and roast until very tender and caramelized, about an hour, turning with a spatula once or twice. Serve warm or at room temperature, drizzled with more olive oil, juice and salt, as needed.
I hope that you all have a warm and cozy day and wish you well until our next blog (which I promise you won't have to wait so long for next time). Until then eat healthy and get plenty of vitamin C!