Winter Produce Guide

Let the recipes of winter warm you with hardy root vegetables, tangy cranberries, robust greens, and citrus fruits.

Healthy Winter Produce

Photo: Randy Mayor

Healthy Winter Produce

As each year ends, a new season arrives. And with it a supply of fresh ingredients that offer you comfort from the cold. From hardy root vegetables to bright, sweet citrus, winter produce delivers a surprising range of flavors for you to enjoy with family and friends.

Winter Blood Oranges Guide

Photo: Anna Williams

Blood Oranges

Blood oranges are best eaten fresh—out-of-hand, or in salads, salsas, or marmalades. The two most popular varieties are the dark-fleshed Moro, which is available from December through March, and the delicately flavored Tarocco, which you can find from January through May.

To select, pick those that are firm to the touch and heavy for their size. Avoid any fruits with mold or spongy spots.

Beet, Blood Orange, Kumquat, and Quinoa Salad
Blood Orange Sangria
Fennel, Blood Orange, and Watercress Salad 
Blood Orange Layer Cake
Shrimp Salad with Blood Oranges and Slivered Fennel

See More: Season's Best: Citrus Fruits

Winter Beets Guide

Photo: Oxmoor House


Fresh beets are now commonplace on fine-restaurant menus. With hues ranging from yellow to purple, they lend themselves to dramatic presentations.

To select, choose small to medium beets with firm, smooth skin and no soft spots, with stems and leaves attached.

Easy Pickled Beets
Beets with Dill and Walnuts
Spiced Beet and Carrot Soup
Golden Beet, Greens, and Potato Torta
Roasted Carrot and Beet Salad with Feta, Pulled Parsley, and Cumin Vinaigrette

See More: In Season: Beets

Winter Pomegranates Guide

Photo: Oxmoor House


Although the membranes of pomegranates are bitter and inedible, the pulp and seeds contribute a juicy, sweet-tart flavor to many winter recipes.

To select, choose pomegranates that feel heavy, are bright in color, and are free of blemishes.

Pomegranate and Pear Jam
Pomegranate-Orange Salsa
Sparkling Pomegranate Cocktail
Blackened Shrimp with Pomegranate-Orange Salsa
Pineapple and Orange Salad with Toasted Coconut

See More: Pomegranate Power

Winter Kumquats Guide

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner


Fresh kumquats are in season as early as October and as late as June, but they're most plentiful from December through April.

To select, test with a gentle squeeze, and buy only firm fruit.

Kumquat-Cranberry Cornmeal Loaf
Cranberry-Kumquat-Date Relish
Kumquat Jam
Pepper-Crusted Beef Tenderloin with Kumquat Marmalade
Pear Relish

See More: In Season: Kumquats

Winter Turnips Guide

Photo: Oxmoor House


Often called winter greens, turnip greens are actually available almost year-round. But in deep winter, they become sweeter. The greens aren't the only good product of this vegetable, however. The roots can be boiled and mashed or roasted and pureed; they can also be cubed and tossed with butter or used raw in salads.

Roasted Winter Vegetables
Beer-Braised Beef with Onion, Carrot, and Turnips
Spicy-Sweet Turnips
Guinness Lamb Stew
Chickpea and Winter Vegetable Stew

Winter Leeks Guide

Photo: Oxmoor House


Although leeks resemble large green onions, they're milder and sweeter. Leeks are usually cooked since they're very fibrous when raw.

To select, buy leeks with crisp leaves and blemish-free stalks.

Braised Leeks with Warm Pancetta Dressing
Leeks à la Grecque (Greek-Style Leeks)
Halibut with Leeks
Chicken Fried Rice with Leeks and Dried Cranberries
Creamed Corn with Bacon and Leeks

Winter Parsnips Guide

Photo: Randy Mayor


This hardy root vegetable enjoys cool climates—it requires frost to convert its starches to sugars and to develop its sweet, nutty flavor.

To select, look for small to medium-sized parsnips with beige skin. They should be blemish-free and firm.

Pasta with Black Kale, Caramelized Onions, and Parsnips
Roasted Root Vegetables
Chicken and Parsnip Soup
Roasted Vegetable Couscous with Chickpeas and Onion–Pine Nut Topping
Crispy Root Vegetable Latkes with Beet Puree

See More: In Season: Parsnips

Winter Kale Guide

Photo: Oxmoor House


Consider using kale as a stand-in for spinach in other dishes. Its sturdy leaves are excellent sautéed and added to casseroles.

To select, look for a deep blue-green color and choose small bunches devoid of any signs of wilting or discoloration.

Bacon and Butternut Pasta
Garbanzo Beans and Greens
Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Kale, Poached Eggs, and Toasted Breadcrumbs
Apple-Walnut Kale Salad
Braised Chicken with Kale

See More: 14 Kale Recipes

Winter Cranberries Guide

Photo: Gentl & Hyers


Unlike any other fruits, cranberries need to be cooked to release their full flavor and to absorb that of other ingredients—one of which is sugar.

To select, you probably won't be able to choose them individually, so check the see-through plastic to make sure you get bright, intensely colored berries.

Cranberry, Cherry, and Walnut Chutney
Classic Cranberry Sauce
Upside-Down Cranberry-Ginger Cake
Orange-Cranberry Pork Stew
Cranberry Curd

See More: Cranberry Sauce and Relish Recipes

Winter Lemons Guide

Photo: Oxmoor House


Whether you use the juice, the zest (rind), or the slices, the acidity of lemon adds to the balance of flavor in all types of food.

To select, look for smooth, brightly-colored skin (green means under-ripe), and lemons that feel heavy for their size.

Meyer Lemon Chicken
Lemon-Earl Grey Squares
Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta
Lemony Chicken Saltimbocca
Seriously Lemon Tart

See More: 10 Things to Know About Lemons

Winter Oranges Guide

Photo: Anna Williams


Whether sectioned, sliced, juiced, or zested, these juicy fruits are a kitchen staple.

To select, choose firm oranges that have smooth skins and are not moldy. Don't worry about brown patches on the skin; this does not indicate poor quality.

Oranges with Caramel and Cardamom Syrup
Broccoli Slaw with Oranges and Crunchy Noodles
Pineapple and Orange Salad with Toasted Coconut
Tomato-Citrus Salmon
Tuscan Cake with Citrus Compote

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