Winter can be a depressing time of year for produce aficionados in North America. Fresh berries have to be flown in from another continent and they’re just not as good by the time they make it to Canadian soil.
As tasty as they are, carrots and apples stored from the fall harvest start to get a bit old. And the fruits in season in other parts of the world, like clementines, have a depressingly large carbon footprint.
The good news is that there’s a wealth of produce that even Canadians can enjoy fresh (and locally) during the coldest, darkest months of the year. Whether it’s because they’re still growing somewhere on this continent, they have a very late fall (or early spring) harvest, or they store exceptionally well, there’s more available to you than potatoes during these chilly months. You just need to do a bit of research, ask some questions of your green grocer, and get creative in the kitchen.
Here are ten vegetables that are still fresh and delicious this time of year, with suggestions on how to cook them — some of them expected, some of them out of the box.
When stored somewhere cool and dry, leeks can last throughout the winter just as they are when they come out of the ground. And if they are overwintered, fresh leeks can be usable as soon as early April.
Get the recipe at Picklebums
With a season that goes from mid-fall to early spring, fennel can be enjoyed all winter. It’s great in soups, roasted, or even just thinly sliced and tossed in salad. You can also eat the fronds, which have a completely different taste than the bulb — one plant, two flavour profiles!
Get the recipe via Sonisfood
Planted in early spring, endive can be harvested into December and stored for winter eats. Endive is often eaten in salads but adding cheese and braising can only improve it, right?
Get the recipe via Jean-Georges Vongerichten/ Epicurious
Knobby celeriac doesn’t look like much, but it tastes great. You can start harvesting it in early fall, but its long growing season means you can haul it up into the winter, giving you months of the year when you can make this celeriac soup with fresh roots.
Get the recipe via Simply Delicious Food
This vegetable, which so many of us avoided when we were kids, has new popularity with paleo dieters — turns out it makes a pretty good pizza crust. It’s also being appreciated for how well it works in Indian cuisine, and how surprisingly great it tastes when roasted. Cauliflower is technically a fall vegetable, but it’s grown year round in warmer climates, and something about it just reads winter.
Get the recipe via Pure Wow
If you think cardoons taste like artichokes, you aren’t imagining it — they’re both in the same family of plants. In season during winter and early spring, this thistle-like vegetable requires some prep to eat, including peeling, trimming, and cooking. But it’s popular in Mediterranean cuisine for good reason, and works well in this Persian recipe too.
Get the recipe via Turmeric & Saffron
If you like kale and chard, you’ll want to give this green a try. You can find it year round but it’s at its peak from fall to spring. You may know it as rapini or broccoletti, but whatever you call it, this leafy green vegetable is perfect wherever a hint of bitterness would really make your dish.
Get the recipe via Lifescoops
Think you hate Brussels sprouts? You’ve probably never had them roasted. Sticking these little brassicas in the oven until they’ve begun to caramelize will add a welcome touch of sweetness to the taste, and completely change your mind about them. They’re a fall veg, one that has a taste that improves with a bit of frost exposure, but like their cousin, the cabbage they can be stored for winter eating.
Get the recipe via Life Style 365
There’s more to squash than just butternut, as great as that one is. These bulbous veggies store well, which means they’re available — and inexpensive — all through the winter. And there’s more that you can do with squash than make soup, though we do recommend that as well. Try pureeing it to add to pasta sauce, cubing it to throw in curries, mixing it with egg to make a pizza crust, or baking it into muffins. just to give you a few places to start.
Get the recipe via Saffron Lane
This vegetable has confused more than one recipient of a produce box. If you’ve ever eaten broccoli stems (which you should!), the taste of kohlrabi will be familiar to you. Like those stems, kohlrabi is great simply shredded or thinly sliced and tossed into salad. It also makes a nice crunch for the top of tacos or pulled pork sandwiches when cut into matchsticks. But it’s really surprisingly delicious cooked as well.
Get the recipe via A Couple Cooks
ALSO ON HUFFPOST