Eat Your Winter Veggies!

In the U.S. where so many vegetables and fruits can be found all year round, it’s easy to forget that these foods actually have seasons, for the most part.  I’ve become interested in eating foods that are naturally available during any given time of the year.  That’s not to say I will refuse to eat an apple in the spring, but it does help to support local growers of various foods.  And since I don’t want to show you the usual suspects (Broccoli!), I thought I’d share a few vegetables with you that you may never have heard of or seen!

Cardoons

Courtesy of Giuliano Hazan

Although it looks like celery, don’t be fooled.  It’s actually a member of the thistle family, closely related to the Artichoke.  It calls for a long, cool growing season, but is sensitive to frost.  You should be able to get it fresh around this time of year.  I found a tasty sounding recipe for using this vegetable over at Honest-food.net for Cardoon Gratin.  If you love cheese as much as I do (you don’t), this is a great recipe for you.

Fennel

Courtesy of Susan

I’d heard of this vegetable before, but I’d never used it in cooking until very recently.  Aren’t those fronds fabulous?  Fennel is at its best from fall to early spring, so now’s the time to dig in!  The best way I can describe the taste for you (I ended up cutting it up like an onion and roasting it) is that it’s a little bit like… licorice.  Anise.  I found a recipe that uses it in a different way:  Mashed Potatoes with Fennel.  Mmmm.

Sunchokes

Courtesy of Stephanie M

These look a lot like ginger root, to me.  But apparently they taste more like a mix between artichokes and potatoes.  I found a website that had two recipes involving these little tubers, you lucky ducks!  Head over to Together In Food to find recipes for a breakfast hash, and one for sunchoke chips!

Kohlrabi

Courtesy of Meeta Khurana

Another fancy looking vegetable that is best eaten in winter.  I thought maybe I could sneak another gratin by you guys… if that’s okay.  This recipe also sounds amazing, and can be found over at What’s For Lunch, Honey?  Apparently, the dijon mustard does wonderful things to the taste of the kohlrabi.  You know, that’s probably the most fun I’ve ever had pronouncing a vegetable’s name.

Belgian Endive

Courtesy of ieatgrass.com

Last, but not least, we have some Belgian Endives for you.  The leaves are bitter, but I’m about to show you a recipe that will make good use of these slender, cabbage looking veggies.  Take a peek at localfoods.about.com (so unassuming, so full of wonderful recipes!), and you’ll find a very easy-to-make creamy endive soup recipe waiting for you.  Prep time: 10 minutes.  Cook time: 20 minutes.  What better way to end a cold, winter day than by throwing together a creamy, warm soup?

I really should stop writing these on an empty stomach! Unfortunately, I don’t have any of these vegetables laying around currently.  But I’m looking forward to trying out at least one of these recipes this upcoming weekend.  :)

Comments

  1. Jolene says:

    I love reading about vegetables, and have many books on just the benefits of them, what season they’re in, and how to cook them. (I’m a vegetarian). Really enjoyed reading this article <3

    1. Leila says:

      Hey thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed it! :) You’ll have to let us know if you try any of these recipes, and how they turn out.

  2. Thanks for the reference! Hope folks discover and love the sun chokes otherwise known as Jerusalem artichokes (though they have no relationship to artichokes).