You can’t get enough vegetables.
Winter veggies in the cruciferous family of broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbages pack a healthy dose of anti-oxidants to ward off colds and flu this time of year!
Leafy green veggies are also abundant. Kales, chard, and greens such as mustard or collards are excellent choices. Keep in mind that some greens are much more hearty than others. Lettuce, although grown most of the year, it is subject to climate changes such as cold, wind, rain, and freezing temps at night. This can cause brown tips on the edges of the leaves. When choosing lettuce, I recommend romaine lettuce. It holds up better during the cold and wet weather during this time of the year. Moisture is the enemy of lettuce. Since moisture causes lettuce to break down, make sure to dry it off after you bring it home from the market and store it in a cool, dry place.
Root veggies such as potatoes, carrots, parsnips, turnips, radishes, beets are also in season. These vegetables are great for soups and stews. Keep in mind that since these grow beneath the ground, pesticides that are in the soil and then taken up in the water supply, cannot be all washed off!
Some of our favorite summer veggies, like tomatoes, are hard to find right now. But if you are craving some of that summertime goodness and just can’t wait until July—try hothouse or hydroponic types. Most of these tomatoes are imported simply because they are just not in season!
What about Fruit?
While veggies are abundant, fruit is boring this time of year. On the domestic market, we really only see fruits like apples and pears. Look for later Fall apples such as Fuji, Braeburn, and Pink Lady. Apples that were first to come out in the fall season like Galas are now past their prime, coming out of cold storage and not likely to be crisp. While Bartlett Pears are winding down, look for D'Anjou, Bosc, or Comice varieties. The Comice pear is divine!
Citrus is in season and kiwi is great at this point in time. My favorite is the Satsuma mandarin orange, the little one they put in cans, oh they are a treat when fresh! Their season is very short. Eat them in December while they last! They are a very good source of Vitamin. C.
Another seasonal gem is the persimmon. I prefer the Fuyu variety as it can be eaten ripe or unripe with a sweet, nutty flavor. The Haichiya has a small window of optimal ripeness and will taste bitter if you don't get it right!
Most other fruit will be imported. As a rule, try to stay away form anything conventionally grown in the imported market. It is largely unregulated and loosely monitored. Organic imports are safer, but still require wisdom and research when purchasing. Definitely stay away from any fruit imported from Chile. Even organic fruit is risky because it comes on a huge ship into port and is detained for up to a week. At best, it is over a week old when it ARRIVES at the store. Nutrient value goes down as many vitamins are water-soluble and oxidize.
If you’re feeling discouraged about your fruit options consider stocking up on avocados, mangos and pineapples! They are all on the ewg.org relatively safe list and can be included on your shopping list for fruit variety this time of year!
Becky Bassham is purpose driven, goal-oriented health educator, who, after working as a medical imaging specialist and seeing sickness and disease from the inside out, committed her life to helping people to become healthier by preventative tactics.