Winter Vegetable Harvest

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Winter Vegetable Harvest

Dark leafy greens, portly squash, and knobby roots. Winter vegetable recipes create comforting meals sure to sustain us through the coldest months of the season.

Dark leafy greens, portly squash, and knobby roots. Winter vegetable recipes create comforting meals sure to sustain us through the coldest months of the season.

As an added bonus, winter vegetables are a good source of fibre and are packed with good-for-you vitamins and minerals to help keep the annual cold weather sniffles and sneezes at bay.

Take, for example, the humble kale, an ancient form of cabbage whose leaves do not form a head. It has for many years been touted as a superfood, and for good reason. Just 2 cups (500 mL) of raw, chopped kale delivers over 250 percent of our daily recommended intake of vitamin C, nearly 1,500 percent of vitamin K, and 400 percent of vitamin A—nature’s multivitamin!

And while everyone knows that it is good for us to eat our veggies, the benefits of Mom’s sage advice now extend beyond personal well-being. By incorporating more local, seasonal vegetable options into our meal plans, we are also helping the planet by reducing our carbon footprint. Even small changes have a big impact. So take advantage of this season’s vegetable bounty, draw inspiration from the following recipes, and invite a few loved ones around for dinner—your friends and the environment will thank you!

Winter Veggies 101

Choose Use Store
Cabbage: green, red, and Savoy Choose cabbage that is rich in colour with crisp, tightly packed leaves. It should feel heavy for its size, and the cut end should not look dry or browned. Crisp and refreshing when raw, cabbage becomes sweeter the longer it is cooked. It’s great braised, stir-fried, stuffed, pickled, fermented, or added to soups. A whole head of cabbage will keep for 2 weeks if loosely wrapped in plastic and kept in the refrigerator. Sliced cabbage will keep 4 to 6 days kept the same way.
Kale: curly or dinosaur Choose kale that is dark green with crisp leaves and thin stalks. After trimming away woody stalk, kale leaves can be steamed, boiled, sautéed, baked, braised, added to soups, or finely sliced and used raw in salads. Wash and dry thoroughly then store in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer for up to 4 days.
Brussels sprouts Choose sprouts that are firm and bright green, and have tightly packed leaves. The sweetest ones will be smaller than a ping pong ball. Sprouts can be boiled, roasted, sautéed, braised, steamed, used raw on a vegetable platter, or sliced thinly to add crunch in salads. Trim stem end and peel away outer layer of leaves. Rinse and dry thoroughly then store in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer for up to 2 days.
Chicories: endive, escarole, and radicchio Related to lettuces but with sturdier leaves and a slightly bitter flavour, chicories with a freshly cut root end and whose crisp leaves show no sign of browning are best. In their raw form they add a bite to salads; however, cooking chicories by sautéing, braising, grilling, or broiling will tame some of their bitter taste. Wash and dry thoroughly to remove excess moisture, then store in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer for 3 to 4 days.
Cauliflower Look for firm, tightly packed florets that are creamy-white with no discolouration. Leaves should be fresh and green, and cauliflower should feel heavy for its size. Once trimmed and cored, cauliflower can be steamed, boiled, roasted, sautéed, baked, pickled, puréed, mashed, or eaten raw. Store whole, loosely wrapped in plastic in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Washed and towel-dried florets will keep in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Winter squash: butternut, acorn and spaghetti Choose firm winter squash (with unblemished skin) that feel heavy for their size. Great roasted, puréed, mashed, or steamed. Don’t forget to toast the seeds to top salads, soups, or just for snacking. Keep squash in a cool, dark place for up to 3 weeks and avoid refrigeration, as it will speed up ripening.
Broccoli Choose broccoli that feels heavy for its size, with a firm stalk and tight, richly coloured florets. Whether using the green, purple, or golden variety, try it steamed, roasted, sautéed, braised, or raw. Store in an open plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 10 days (if purchased very fresh).
Beets Choose bunches of beets that are firm, of similar size, and with greens attached. Beets are great raw, boiled, roasted, steamed, pickled,
or juiced. Beet greens are delicious sautéed.
Wrap in a damp paper towel and store in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer for 2 to 3 weeks.
Celeriac Choose firm, unblemished, small- to medium-sized roots that feel heavy for their size. Once peeled, celeriac is excellent puréed, roasted, mashed, sautéed, or shredded and served raw in salads. Best kept uncut, wrapped in a damp paper towel, and loosely sealed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Turnip Although they come in many sizes, choose smaller ones (about 2 in/5 cm in diameter) that are firm, without any blemishes, and heavy for their size. Their slightly peppery taste is mellowed if roasted, mashed, baked, stewed, or braised. Store in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer for up to 1 week.
Jerusalem artichoke (sunchokes) Look for firm sunchokes with unblemished tan skin. With a unique taste falling between an artichoke and a potato, they are delicious steamed, boiled, sautéed, mashed, or puréed. Kept in an open plastic bag in the refrigerator, they should last for up to 2 weeks.
Parsnip Choose firm, small- to medium-sized parsnips with an even creamy-white colour. Avoid large parsnips, as they can lack flavour and have a woody texture. Once peeled parsnips are delicious roasted, mashed, added to soup, or thinly sliced and served raw in a salad. Store in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Rutabaga Pick rutabagas that are firm yet smooth and feel heavy for their size. Great roasted, mashed, braised, or added to stews. Store in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper drawer for up to 3 weeks.

Recipes

  • Warm Broccoli Salad with Roasted Onions and Chili Oil
  • Roasted Cauliflower with Hazelnuts, Raisins, and Capers
  • Endive Tart Tatin
  • Parmesan Kale Chips

Satisfy your cravings with kale

Maintaining a strict exercise program can be a challenge, and many of us know all too well what happens when we deprive ourselves of little indulgences here and there—we gorge! Thankfully, these crispy Parmesan Kale Chips will satisfy cravings, but without the added calories of potato chips. Not to mention they provide a host of nutrients necessary for a healthy body, such as dietary fibre; calcium; and vitamins K, A, and C.

Pump it up!

Forgot a bunch of kale in the back of the refrigerator? Revive limp and tired looking winter greens by letting them sit in a cool water bath for 20 minutes. Dry well and use as you would normally in your favourite cold weather dishes.

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