If you walk through the produce section in the grocery store this winter, you will see all your normal fruits and vegetables. Are you making a salad and want cucumbers or bell peppers? You can purchase them! Do you want a fresh tomato to go on a sandwich? You can purchase it, too! However, just because all produce is available in the grocery store this winter doesn’t mean it is grown locally. Have you thought about where your produce is coming from, and have you really paid attention to the taste? Maybe I’m the only one that thinks so, but locally grown produce just seems to taste better. A fresh, locally grown tomato in the summer months tastes very different from a tomato purchased in the grocery store in the winter. In addition to a great taste, seasonal produce will also cost less. So, what produce is being grown around here this winter?
When you’re creating your side dishes at dinner, think of these vegetables: beets, bok choy, cabbage, carrots, collards, kale, mustard greens, spinach, onions, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, Brussels sprouts and turnip greens. For a fresh fruit grown in North Carolina, apples are going to be your go-to choice! There are so many different types of apples. You can experiment with the varieties to see which flavor you prefer this winter. In North Carolina, the major apple varieties include red delicious, golden delicious, rome beauty and galas, but there are many more! You can also find oranges, pecans and peanuts during the winter season. If you’ve never eaten some of the produce listed above, check out new recipes and experiment with a new option. Here are a couple of recipes to try this winter!
Winter Salad, Serves 4
4 cups spinach
½ red onion, sliced
1/2 cup mandarin oranges
1 red delicious apple, thinly sliced
1 cup pecans
½ cup gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon honey
Sprinkle of salt
- In a small bowl, whisk together garlic clove, vinegar, olive oil, thyme, mustard, honey and salt. Set aside to use as the dressing.
- In a large bowl, add spinach, apple, red onion, oranges, pecans and gorgonzola cheese.
- When ready to serve the salad, drizzle dressing over and gently toss to coat.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!
Roasted Carrots, Serves 4
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut, then halved into two-inch segments
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
Sprinkles of salt and pepper
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place carrots in a large bowl. Mix with olive oil, thyme, oregano and salt and pepper.
- Spread onto a baking pan and cover with foil.
- Cook in oven for 20 minutes.
- Remove foil from covering the carrots and toss. Cook for another 10 minutes or until carrots have become tender.
- Once tender, remove from oven and sprinkle fresh parsley over the top.
Note: Roasting is a great way to enjoy most vegetables. Follow the same steps with different vegetables to roast them. You can experiment with different seasonings!