Every year millions of people follow the cycle of losing a few pounds coming up to summer but then putting those pounds back on again come the cold weather months. No doubt, there are many reasons for this phenomena but certainly one share factor is that many of the "popular" fresh fruits and vegetables of the warm months are either not available or have to shipped. These end up being not quite as fresh and overly expensive. So people tend to use substitutes for that needed part of their diet with foods of let's say, lesser quality. Well, this does not have to be the case. There are plenty of fresh produce items available during the cold months if you know that to look for and are not afraid to move a little off of the mainstream eating path. Here are a few examples.
This seasonal fruit wonder is harvested sometime in October or early November. Most of the cranberry crop is frozen for further processing. The remaining cranberries are for the fresh market. When buying fresh look for those cranberries stored in shallow bins or boxes with perforated containers. Circulating air slows decay. Because harvest occurs in late autumn, cranberries for fresh market are frequently stored in barns without mechanical refrigeration.
Ideas: Use in relishes or winter fruit salads. Add a little artificial sweetener or dried fruits like raisins to balance the tart flavor. Buy fresh and freeze what you don't use as they freeze very well.
This fruit is only available fresh for about 2 months (October / November) a year. Luckily though it remains fresh and stores well for a period of time. An extremely healthy member of the squash family is popularly used in pies and other deserts as is a low-fat sweetener. However potential uses in your diet are far more numerous.
Ideas: Topping for Vegetable Pizza, Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin Dip.
This vegetable is a close relative to the carrot. It is generally sweeter and contains more vitamins than the carrot. Parsnips are not harvested until after the first frost of the year as the process of going through a frost makes them sweeter. Just about any recipe calling for carrots can use parsnips as a substitute.
Ideas: Vegetable Soup, Stir fried with Soy Sauce.
Grown only in cool / cold area climates, this root vegetable is the result of a mix between cabbage and turnip. I think it is the most under rated vegetable in terms of overall taste and uses. It can be raw, cooked, used as a base for soup, added to salads. It is extremely high in Vitamin C.
Idea: Mixed with or instead of potatoes served mashed (awesome).
If you are not already familiar with these fruits and vegetables, why don't you give them a try? Your food IQ will definitely be improved.