What is winter food?

Not all kinds of meat, fish, fruit and vegetables are available during the whole year.

A bunch of carrots.

Root vegetables are considered winter food

Food is seasonal, particularly fruit and vegetables; although modern cultivation and conservation methods sometimes make it look like it is not so.

It is true winter is not an exciting season as spring, when many vegetables are new and tender and some exciting produce, like asparagus or the sweetest strawberries, come to the market, or the bountiful autumn with the harvest season and some special ingredients, like mushrooms. Nevertheless, there is plenty of good winter food to go about.

Most of game meats have a winter season and would not be available any other time. Try a new recipe or try a favorite with game meats.

Root vegetables also give the best during the winter; try them both, roasted or mashed. Place some celeriac and Swede, cut into thick sticks, on a tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and cook them with your roast for the last 35-45 minutes for a flavorful side dish. These vegetables have plenty of taste, be light with salt and pepper.

Jerusalem artichokes also have a winter season. Have you tried them? Scrub and peel, dump speedily into cold water and lemon juice to prevent loss of color, then boil in water with salt and more lemon juice for 15-20 minutes or steam for 20-25 minutes and drain -As an alternative, remove skin after cooking. Serve Jerusalem artichokes with melted butter or Hollandaise sauce, as side vegetable, or make them into a silken puree.

Why do people like winter food?

People eat winter food because there is a need for warming dishes and some produce is at its best in the winter.

Citrus fruits are at their best in winter. Tangerines and Navel oranges are sweet, juicy and at their peak during winter. Blood oranges have a particularly short winter season.

Be creative and use citrus in sweet and savory dishes. Orange segments are great in a fruit salad, and in a salad with baby leaves, nuts and feta cheese served on the side. Bake them with herbs to accompany roast pork or chicken.

Brussels sprouts, cabbage and other vegetables in the family make a healthy winter.

Have you tried the delicate King cabbage? I have recently discovered the trick is not to cook King cabbage for too long, 4 minutes in a covered pan will do – never boil it- and serve with butter, salt and pepper to taste. For a Mediterranean option, sauté shredded King cabbage with slivered garlic in olive oil –add1/2 tsp paprika for sweet flavor or a hint of chili flakes for spiciness; stir-fry shredded king cabbage with slivered garlic, ginger and soy for a taste of the East. Boil your favorite pasta shapes as per package instructions; fry chopped bacon in butter and add shredded King cabbage for the last 4 minutes, toss over the warm cooked pasta and top with grated cheese.