As we come up to Christmas, many of the fruits and vegetables in season this month hint at the festive dishes to come – but they can also be used in a much wider variety of recipes, including your favourite winter warmer dishes!
Packed with vitamin C and fibre, navel oranges are basically the winter variety of the orange, and are sweet-tasting and easy to peel.
When are navel oranges in season?
Navel oranges are in season from around November until May.
How to cook with navel oranges
Navel oranges can be peeled and eaten as they are, or juiced, of course – but they can also be used in a huge variety of recipes, too.
They lend themselves well to salads. They can also be used to garnish meat, served with yogurt and granola, or over toast with melted brie, while their peel can be used to flavour cakes, biscuits and other desserts.
If you’re looking to make some homemade edible Christmas gifts this year, you could try making navel orange marmalade.
Clementines may be the smallest variety of the orange family, but they pack a big punch. They’re known for their sweet and tangy taste, and they’re full of fibre and vitamin C.
When are clementines in season?
They’re often associated with Christmas because they’re in season from November to January.
How to cook with clementines
The segments can be enjoyed as a snack on their own, of course. But they also work wonders thrown into salads with red onion, walnuts, brie or goat cheese with vinaigrette dressing. For something sweeter, try pairing segments with dark chocolate. Their zest can also be used in baking or marinades.
Savoy, white and red cabbage
Three of the most versatile and commonly used cabbages at this time of year are savoy, white and red cabbage – and they all have their own unique textures and flavours.
When are savoy, white and red cabbages in season?
White cabbage is in season from autumn until early spring. Red cabbage is in season from September until December. Savoy from November through April.
How to cook with savoy, white and red
Savoy cabbage has a mild, nutty taste. It’s perfect for throwing into a stir fry, or blanched with butter and garlic. Red cabbage has a more earthy taste, and is great served raw in salads and coleslaws. If you’re cooking it, make sure to add a little vinegar to the water.
White cabbage has a sweet, mild and earthy taste, which means it’s also great shredded and thrown in salads or coleslaw, as well as pickled or fermented.
Leeks are a popular member of the onion family. We love them because they are easy to prepare and cook, and an absolute must for winter recipes. Shredded into a soup base, or griddled – we’ll be using them all through winter!
When are leeks in season?
Leeks are harvested from September to May.
How to cook with leeks
Simplicity is key. After giving them a through wash, slice and cook with butter in a pan or in a roasting tin.
The leeks sweet, delicate flavour adds depth to soups, stews, frittatas, pies, tarts and pastas, but there are many ways to get a bit more adventurous with leeks, too. Use them to make Glamorgan sausages, add to risottos, or use them as the core ingredient in fritters.
This wintry vegetable is the large root of the celery plant. It’s sadly generally underrated and often mistaken for the turnip. But it has many unique qualities of its own. When cooked, its nutty flavour really comes to the forefront and can be a delicious addition to many dishes this December.
When is celeriac in season?
Celeriac is at its best from September through to April.
How to cook with celeriac
Boil, mash, roast as chips, or add to stews or soups. Try our celeriac and apple soup recipe on those winter days when you need warming up. And don’t waste the tops of celeriac – they’re great tossed raw into a salad or coleslaw.
Cavolo nero Kale
The deep, dark leaves of cavolo nero kale have a mild bitterness and earthy flavour. It’s high in nutrients too. The cousin of curly kale, cavolo nero is often used as a sweeter alternative to cabbages.
When is cavolo nero kale in season?
Kale thrives in the cooler months. Often nicknamed ‘black kale,’ cavolo nero is in season from July to early October.
How to cook with cavolo nero kale
Chop the leaves and sautee, steam or simmer before adding into stews, or lightly brush with oil and cook on a low temperature for kale crisps. You can even combine it with nuts and cheese for a twist on traditional pesto. It can also be enjoyed raw in salads.
Brussels sprouts have suffered with a bad reputation over the years but it’s totally undeserved. They just need the right cooking technique and a dish that helps them sing! Sprouts have a wonderful nutty, ‘cabbagy’ flavour, brought out when oven roasted in olive oil and salt.
Cook them this way and you’ll marvel at the way they become crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
When are Brussel sprouts in season?
These mini cabbages are in season from October to March.
How to cook with Brussel sprouts
They’re delicious eaten alone, or added into pasta dishes, or stir-fries.
Parsnips and carrots
Parsnips are an easy way to add sweetness to a plethora of winter dishes, especially the beloved Sunday roast. Their orange (and yellow and purple) friend, the carrot, can also add variety to dishes this December.
When are parsnips and carrots in season?
Carrots have one of the longest seasons in Britain; catch carrots at their best between mid-May through to the end of September. Pick up parsnips from October to March.
How to cook with parsnips and carrots
Carrots can be grated raw and uses in everything from salads to carrot cake. Honey roast them and add them as an accompaniment to roast dinners, or drop into soups, salads and stir-fries.
Parsnips take slightly less time to cook than the carrot. Bake them to further caramelise the sweetness of the vegetable. They’re also delicious in curries, soups and stews in place of potatoes.
Mixed salad leaves (winter varieties)
Winter varieties of mixed salad leaves are plentiful this time of year. You’ll find peppery mixes are abundant which can add interest to your favourite salad recipes. Why not try this Organic Peppery Salad Mix, which combines rocket, red chard, baby spinach and seasonal lettuce varieties.
When are mixed salad leaves in season?
Most salad greens are cool weather crops. Rocket is typically harvested from June to December.
How to cook with mixed salad leaves
Of course you can add bitter or peppery wintery salad leaves to your usual salad but rocket is also a great addition to pastas, risottos, tarts and pizzas. Don’t overlook the use of these flavourful leaves in homemade pesto.
Green Italian winter tomatoes
It’s difficult to think of a winter dish that doesn’t rely on the tangy sweetness of tomatoes. Ripe green tomatoes taste a lot like the red varieties, and are a great source of vitamins A and C.
When are Green Italian winter tomatoes in season?
Green tomatoes are typically in season through autumn.
How to cook with Green Italian winter tomatoes
Use green winter tomatoes much the same as you would red tomatoes – they’re perfect for roasting, seasoned with basil and eaten on their own, or adding to salads or pasta dishes.