People may not realize it, but winter is a time of some of the most nutritious vegetables all year long. As you have all had a chance to see by now, colorful produce extends much further than just in the summertime. The cooler months bring an abundance of different fresh foods. Some are more delicate, like the leafy greens that otherwise get scorched in the summer’s heat. Others, like beets, are heartier, having spent months growing underground and developing complex flavors that define this season’s harvest.
A winter favorite that often shocks people is citrus, which not only tastes the best and is at its peak in this time of year but provides us with essential vitamins for our immune system and aids in digestion. We just brought in delicious Cara Cara oranges which are bright orange on the outside with strikingly red fruit on the inside. These are seedless and have a uniquely sweet and tart flavor that some even compare to berries. Try these as they are or juice them for some of the best fresh orange juice you’ve ever had.
These brightly colored foods, like rainbow swiss, rainbow carrots, and the different varieties of cabbages, are indicators of densely packed health benefits that everyone should be taking advantage of. In culinary school, we learn the importance of these pigment compounds and the different techniques for preserving magnificent colors. For instance, green vegetables like Brussels, kale, and broccoli should be cooked in salted water and for only brief periods of time to maintain the brightness of the chlorophyll. White vegetables, like cauliflower, are full of anthoxanthins, and these do well in acidic water, so adding lemon juice to your blanching water not only adds fantastic flavor to the finished product but makes the white stand out. When cooking beets in water, keep the whole bulb intact to avoid the red pigment from leaking out into the water. This red pigment is rich in antioxidants.
Check out our other new additions to the CSA tables, like the natural remedy that is turmeric root, zesty lemons and limes, and tasty shallots which add great flavor to so many recipes.
Not sure of what something is? Don’t hesitate to ask our crew at the CSA about their favorite vegetables and ways to prepare them! Our staff is quite knowledgeable and loves to share their tips and tricks.