How to Shop for Produce in the Winter Season

By Kate Wilke

Going to the grocery store can be difficult in the winter season if you don’t know what produce is in season and how to shop for vegetables and fruits out of season. Jenny Beth Kroplin RD, LDN, CLC and Sarah-Jane Bedwell RD, LDN, provide their advice on how to shop for produce in the winter months.

The most common fruits and vegetables in season through January, February, and March include:

  1. Brussels sprouts
  2. Clementines
  3. Collard greens
  4. Grapefruit
  5. Kale
  6. Kiwifruit
  7. Oranges
  8. Tangerines
  9. Turnips

Spring and summer fruits and vegetables are likely to come from another country where pesticide regulations and long transportation can cause a problem, Kroplin explained. The long transition period causes spring and summer produce to have a hefty price tag in the winter season. Not only does the delivery process cause prices to rise, but also the lengthy gap between picking out of season produce to the time the items are purchased allows the fruits and vegetables to lose a large amount of their nutrients. “I typically recommend taking advantage of all produce that is in season because it is less expensive, more nutritious, packed with fresh vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, full of flavor, and creates variety in the diet,” said Kroplin.

Frozen fruit is a great alternative in the winter months. “This will be more budget friendly, and the produce has been picked and frozen at peak nutrition value,” said Kroplin. Bedwell further explained, “Summer fruits are picked and frozen immediately so the nutrients are locked in. In fact, they may be even more nutritious because they are not traveling overseas or sitting on the store shelf for days. Another bonus: There are no additives in frozen fruit because the freezing process preserves them. Frozen fruit is pre-washed, so it really is the most convenient form of fresh fruit in the winter.”

When looking at fresh produce, Kroplin advises looking at color and texture to gauge nutrient value. “If the fruit or vegetable has a vibrant color with a healthy firmness, it more than likely holds better nutritional value than if the color is dull or browning with a squishy or slimy texture,” said Kroplin.

Out of season produce is not only less nutritious, but also less flavorful. Bedwell lists out of season produce as fresh berries, summer squash, fresh corn, fresh tomatoes, melons, and apples.

Have some fun with cooking winter produce and rest knowing you gained the best nutritional value. Opt for frozen summer and spring fruits and vegetables because of their lower price and higher nutrition.

Image Credit

Categories: Home, Your Nutrition

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