Winter Greens

Winter is here, but that doesn’t mean the gardening season or the availability of fresh vegetables is over. While frost and snow can kill off a lot of produce, there are still plenty of vegetables that can withstand cold, harsh winters. The sugar found in the water of these winter vegetables causes them to freeze at a lower temperature. This helps them to survive when the weather turns frosty. Due to that lower freezing point, several winter vegetables taste sweeter in the colder months. This makes them optimal for harvest this time of year. 

What are some of the best vegetables to eat in December, January and February?

1 .    Kale – Not only is it one of the healthiest vegetables in the garden, but it thrives in colder weather. Kale has vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. The benefits have been linked to everything from being an anti-inflammatory to reducing the risk of cancer.

2.    Carrots – They are harvested in the summer, but the popular root vegetable actually reaches its peak sweetness in the fall and winter. Carrots convert stored starches into sugars to keep their water cells from freezing. This makes them taste extra sweet during the winter months. Additionally, they’re an excellent source of vitamin A. This which is essential to eye health, immune function and proper growth and development.

3.    Swiss Chard – Tolerant to cold weather, this colorful veggie is low in calories. Although it still contains large amounts of vitamins A, K, C, magnesium and manganese.

4.    Radishes – Known to be cold-hardy and able to survive in freezing temperatures. This red-toned vegetable packs a spicy, crunchy punch with each bite.  Vitamins B and C, potassium and even isothiocyanates are in radishes. These have potential cancer-fighting properties.

5. Parsley – One of the few herbs that don’t die out when the weather turns chilly. The aromatic green is loaded with everything from vitamins K, C, and A to iron, folate, and calcium. It’s an excellent source of certain flavonoids that have been shown to be helpful in slowing memory loss and maintaining brain health.

Naoko Nagaya, RD - Nutrition

Heritage members do you want more information on nutrition and healthy eating? Schedule a session now with Naoko Nagaya