12 must-have fruits and vegetables to eat this winter

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12 must-have fruits and vegetables to eat this winter

Its winter and that means lack of choice among produce, right?  Not true.  In fact, winter can be a wonderful time to try out a wide variety of fruits and veggies we may often overlook during other seasons.  This time of year, we see a lot of orange and red in the produce section, thanks to oranges, sweet potatoes, and apples predominately displayed, but take a closer look.  You’ll find some real treasures just waiting to be discovered.  Here are 10 winter fruits and veggies deserving a second look this cold, long winter helping you warm up to these nutritious finds:

Fruits

1.   Blood oranges

Here’s a tangy, citrusy fruit easily added to winter salads, desserts, and drinks for zest with a tantalizing pop of color.  Like other varieties of oranges, blood oranges are a valuable source of vitamin C and fiber.  Their deep red color will turn a holiday meal into an eye-pleasing sight

2.  Rhubarb

Whether you love rhubarb or not, this stalk vegetable with a distinct tart and sour taste loves cold temperatures.  To reduce its tartness and to bring out its best flavor rhubarb is best sweetened with sugar, honey, or fruit juice.  This low-calorie veggie is also a good source of vitamins C, A, and some calcium. 

3.  Grapefruit

Not for seniors only, pink grapefruit (as opposed to white) is sweeter, but both types of full of vitamin C, thiamin, B6, folate, pantothenic acid, magnesium and potassium.  Peel and eat, or add to salads. 

4.  Kiwi

Packed with vitamins C, E, K, folate, potassium, and copper and be sure to eat the brown, fuzzy exterior – it’s good for you!  You can peel and slice a kiwi but one of the easiest ways to eat them is to cut off the top near the stem, and spoon out the flesh. 

5. Pomegranate

Looking for a fruit with a little more pizazz than the usual apples, oranges and bananas?  Be on the lookout for the “jewel of the winter” – pomegranates.   Packed with vitamins C, E, K, folate, potassium and copper, this winter beauty has an outstanding nutritional portfolio making it a true nutritional gem and one of the world’s most popular fruits.  Their beautiful pink flesh cradling ruby-red arils inside is a welcome burst of color on a gloomy winter day. 

6.  Avocado

How did a rather drab green, bumpy fruit rise to the top as an in-demand health food?  It could have a lot to do with the fact they are loaded with healthy monounsaturated fat and antioxidants good for your skin, hair, eye, and heart health and may even relieve arthritis pain.  Add them to salsas, blend in a smoothie, use a slice on a sandwich or mash them with shredded cheese and use as a topping on a baked potato.

Vegetables

1.  Artichokes

Never tried artichokes?  There’s always a first for everything.  This veggie has two times a year when it is best to buy – early spring and again in early winter.  Even though this naturally savory and delicious veggie can be conveniently bought in a can any time of year, fresh artichokes are always a great choice.  Loaded with folate, vitamin C, and fiber-rich, artichokes are a great addition to a winter palate.  Try them in a warm appetizer, as a side dish, or in a salad. 

2.  Cabbage

No matter how you fix it – steamed, sautéed, or raw – cabbage is a cruciferous veggie working hard for your health.  Packed with almost 100% of your daily requirements for vitamin K, vitamin C, and fiber, this health booster also contains phytonutrients that naturally lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, strengthens bones, and boost your immune system. 

3.  Kale

 Touted as a superfood, kale really does live up to its reputation.  This leafy green with an earthy flavor, will supply you healthy amounts of vitamins A, C, and K and along with some calcium. 

4.  Parsnips

Looking for a way to switch up your repertoire of fruits and veggies – parsnips are your answer.  This taproot belongs to the carrot family of root vegetables.  Versatile and crunchy, parsnips are a sweet vegetable and a rich source of many health-benefitting nutrients – potassium, manganese, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, and fiber.  Try them roasted to bring out their natural goodness.

5.  Radishes

Rabbits love radishes and so should you. Their eye-catching bright red color makes these crunchy little veggies a real treat.  A good source of vitamin C, try sautéing them with other vegetables in a stir-fry or cook them by themselves with a little salt or sugar bringing out their best flavor for a perfect side dish.

      6.   Snow peas

A favorite in stir-fries, slightly sweet snow peas are rich in vitamins C and K, low in calories and packed with a delicate crunchy texture pleasing to the palate.  They have a short lifespan in the refrigerator so be sure to use them within a few days of purchasing.