Eating seasonally is one of the most important things you can do for yourself—it will not only save you tons of money, but will also fuel you with essential nutrients, keeping you looking and feeling your best!
As a Swiss-based food blogger, I’m always busy working on creating new recipes featuring each month’s best produce. Although I do use frozen fruits and vegetables when I don’t have a fresh ingredient on hand, I try to stick as much as possible to what’s in season, guaranteeing that my meals are both delicious and nutritious!
With the colder temperatures on the rise, November’s produce selection seems to be quite small compared to Summer’s rich variety of fruits and vegetables. There are still lots of powerful ingredients available this month to enhance each of your dishes at home. I’m thinking hearty soups, casseroles and pies! Let’s take a look at what’s in season this November.
Depending on the varieties you pick, some apples are great for sweet desserts and breakfast foods while sourer versions are perfect for salty dishes, like stuffing chicken or including in a salad. I cook a lot with apples, with my favorite way to use them being in muffins, cakes and breads.
In season all year round, beets are great in salads, juices, and roasted dishes, and can be combined with salty or sweet ingredients.
Brussels sprouts tend to be at their best when roasted, but can also be included in salads and processed thinly to include in slaws.
Cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables to include in slaws, with either a sweet dressing or an Asian-style vinaigrette. Cabbage can be eaten raw or cooked, although I always prefer it in its raw state.
Carrots are one of my favorite vegetables to cook with! They’re great puréed in soups for their sweetness and consistency, and are so deliciously crunchy in salads. I use them in a wide variety of recipes ranging from Spanish cuisine to Asian. They can be kept for 3-4 weeks in the fridge, which makes them the perfect vegetable to have on hand to quickly add to a recipe.
Bitter and crisp, or sweet and nutty, endives completely change flavors when eaten raw or cooked. They’re often used raw in salads to tone down sweetness.
Believe it or not, but garlic is one of the world’s healthiest foods! There are several benefits to eating garlic that outweigh the disadvantage of having bad breath. Closely related to onions, shallots and leeks, garlic has very few calories but is packed with vitamins, such as vitamin B6 and C, as well as manganese, selenium and fiber. I use garlic in a vast majority of my recipes, ranging from simple vegetable side dishes and salads to meat and poultry.
Do not confuse Jerusalem artichokes with regular artichokes — they’re two different ingredients! Jerusalem artichokes are in fact tubers that grow under a sunflower plant, whereas regular artichokes are flower buds. The key to buying the best Jerusalem artichokes is to look for pale brown ones, making sure that they’re a bit hard to touch. They store well in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks and can be used in a variety of recipes, ranging from pastas and roasted dishes to soups and salads.
Part of the cabbage family, kale owes its incredibly healthy reputation to all the vitamins it boasts – ranging from A and C to B6 and K– and to its good omega-3 fatty acid. Kale comes in different colors, such as green and purple, and can be cooked in a variety of ways.
Kiwi doesn’t look like much, but once peeled it unleashes all its zesty yet sweet flavor, making it a great addition to salads and desserts. Full of vitamin C, it’s a great meat tenderizer and makes a delicious marinade for all sorts of meat dishes.
Belonging to the same family as onions, leeks have a slightly stronger taste that becomes sweeter the longer you cook them for. Only the white part of the leek can be eaten, which means that this is a vegetable that requires quite a lot of prepping. Cleaning leeks is also of utmost importance, as dirt gets easily stuck between the leaves. The easiest way to clean leeks, in my opinion, is to slice them in half, part the leaves and let them sit in cold water for 15 minutes. The dirt will easily drop to the bottom of the bowl.
Onions come in red, yellow and green varieties which can all be used in different ways. I tend to cook with yellow onion the most often, reserving the red and green onions for salads. There are exceptions to this and I often experiment cooking with red and green onions too!
Half-carrot and half-parsley, parsnips are closely related to the latter in terms of taste and appearance. They’re much sweeter than carrots when cooked and make great creamy soups thanks to all the starch they contain. The best parsnips are small and midsize ones, and one should always make sure to pick ones that are firm and not shriveled or spotted.
Pears tend to be harvested when they’re mature but not ripe, and are best eaten when ripe! To pick a mature pear that hasn’t ripened yet, touch the top part of the fruit. If it’s still hard to touch, then it’s not ripe yet. I tend to buy pears and leave them on the kitchen counter for a couple of days until they ripen totally.
Pumpkin and butternut squash are some of my favorite Fall/winter ingredients to cook with. Winter squash is very low-cal yet full of so many nutrients and vitamins, including vitamin A, fiber and anti-oxidants among others.
Quinces have smooth golden skin but hard flesh, making them edible only once cooked. When cooked, the flesh softens and becomes less bitter, releasing all the sweetness of the fruit. Given their high pectin content, quinces are the perfect fruits to convert into jellies and jams.
Romanesco has huge detox benefits for the body, given that it’s full of disease-fighting minerals and vitamins. It can be cooked in so many ways, ranging from steamed, boiled and roasted to even eaten raw.
Spinach is such a versatile ingredient that can be included in salads, pasta dishes, sautés, quiches and many more dishes. Although I do prefer my spinach fresh, I always have a bag of frozen spinach in the freezer to use whenever I need it.
Just as nutritious as cabbage and broccoli, watercress is full of vitamins and can be eaten both cooked and raw. Watercress is a leafy aquatic plant which has been ranked as the healthiest vegetable in the world, as it is packed with over 15 vitamins and minerals, beating spinach in iron levels, milk in calcium levels, and oranges in vitamin C levels.