How to Shop Seasonal in Winter

How to Shop Seasonal in Winter

Let’s face it: when it comes to fresh fruits and veggies, the produce aisle can seem a little…ho-hum…in winter. 

Sure, you’ll probably still see some summer staples at the grocery, but their colors are less vibrant, their scents and textures less appealing, and their labels reveal they often come from other countries. 

Winter shopping doesn’t have to be a drag. Sure, you won’t find a fuzzy, fragrant peach, but you can find ways to eat fresh food seasonally, even when you’re wearing boots instead of flip flops! 

Why Shop for Seasonal Fresh Produce? 

Shopping seasonally usually means shopping locally, or relatively locally. Chances are those sad-looking strawberries on the shelves in February were shipped to your grocery from far away. This means that tiny container had a pretty substantial impact on the environment. It also means the extra shipping costs are likely to hit your wallet. 

Plus, for produce to survive transport and be ripe at the store, it’s usually been picked way before its prime. That means those berries won’t be as flavorful as when you find them fresh — or as nutritious. 

That’s right. Seasonal fresh produce is higher in nutrients. There’s a reason certain plants thrive in certain conditions — they were built for it. And when plants thrive, they’re packed with all the nutrients nature intended, which they pass on to you. When produce is shipped, it can lose some nutrients between point A and point B. 

Bottom line: Eat seasonal to save the earth, help your wallet, and boost your health! 

Which Fresh Produce Is in Season in Winter… in Kansas? 

There simply aren’t enough hours of sunlight in winter to sustain a robust growing season in Kansas. (However, we make better snowmen here than they can in Florida. Just sayin’.) But even though farmers aren’t harvesting crops, some use greenhouses and other methods to extend their production season. 

There are many cold-climate vegetables that are harvested in late fall that can help you eat fresh during the cold winter months. In general, dark leafy greens and root vegetables grow well in cooler temperatures

With uncommon options like parsnips and fennel, and classics like potatoes and onions, winter is a great time to experiment with new flavors and hearty favorites.  

So, mix up your plate and your palate, and branch out this winter with some seasonal finds: 

  • Beets 
  • Broccoli 
  • Brussels sprouts 
  • Cabbage 
  • Carrots 
  • Cauliflower 
  • Fennel 
  • Kale 
  • Leeks 
  • Lettuce 
  • Onions 
  • Peas 
  • Potatoes 
  • Radishes 
  • Spinach 
  • Turnips 

No matter what season it is, you can find great tips and recipes by ingredient at Kansas Living Magazine

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And if you absolutely MUST have some strawberries, there are still ways to enjoy summer fruits and veggies during winter. Canning, freezing, and drying are great methods to preserve seasonal foods and enjoy them throughout the year. So, stock up on those, too. Even better, buy local!