Savour the season: 3 winter fruits and vegetables we loveJuly 6, 2023
You don’t have to be a fancy foodie or a pro chef to appreciate seasonal produce. As the cold weather sets in, now’s a great time to have fun in the kitchen with winter fruits and vegetables.
There are so many exciting seasonal ingredients to celebrate this time of year. Our favourite winter fruits and vegetables are apples, lemons and parsnips. Winter cooking with these seasonal staples not only guarantees superior flavour and peak freshness, but it’s also a more sustainable way to fill your plate.
Locally grown seasonal produce requires less transportation, which means fewer carbon emissions from long-distance shipping, and fresher, better-tasting and longer-lasting ingredients on your plate. Plus, seasonal produce tends to be more abundant during its peak harvest time, so farmers can grow larger quantities without relying on artificial processes.
Why we love apples in winter
Apples are the best winter treat you can get your hands on. These vibrant fruits are not only a delicious snack and robust ingredient for winter cooking but they also offer a great range of health benefits thanks to their fibre and antioxidant content.
With their juicy, crisp texture, apples come in a variety of colours and flavours, ranging from super-sweet to delightfully tart. As the winter harvesting season sets in, which typically runs from February to June, New Zealand’s apple orchards are bustling. So, grab a crunchy apple and indulge in classic winter cooking with flavour combos like apple and cinnamon or apple and pork.
How to keep apples fresh
The freshness of your winter fruits and vegetables all comes down to storage. The best place to store your apples is in the fridge, as the cool temperature helps maintain their texture and flavour. Be sure to keep them separate from other fruits and veggies, as apples release a gas called ethylene that can cause nearby produce to ripen faster. With proper storage, apples can last for about four weeks in the fridge. If you prefer to keep them at room temperature, apples will typically only stay fresh for around a week.
Our favourite apple recipe this winter
Spiced Apple & Pear Crumble with Vanilla Custard
Why we love lemons in winter
Your winter cooking is incomplete without a burst of fresh tanginess from an acid. Our favourite winter acid is, of course, lemon! These vibrant citruses are one of the best when it comes to winter fruits and vegetables, as they can elevate the flavour profile of both sweet and savoury dishes.
Lemons have a high acidity level that cuts through any greasiness or heaviness, imparting a clean and refreshing taste in your winter cooking. They also have the power to transform textures, whether it’s tenderising meat, macerating berries, or even ‘cooking’ ceviche.
Top tips for cooking with lemon
- Enhancing flavour: Adding lemon juice or zest to a dish can completely transform its flavour profile. The acidity of lemons has a brightening effect and enhances other flavours, whether they are bitter, sweet, or umami.
- Timing and cooking: For optimal results, add a squeeze of lemon right before finishing the cooking process. Cooking lemon for too long can concentrate the flavour, which may make it bitter. Adding lemon too early can also dull the colour of vegetables, while adding it at the end can brighten their colour.
- Balancing sourness: If you accidentally make a dish too sour with lemon, a tiny bit of sugar (added gradually) can help balance the acidity. This trick works even in savoury dishes and can rescue an overly tart flavour profile.
How to keep lemons fresh
For optimal freshness, it’s best to store lemons in the fridge, either in the crisper drawer or on a shelf. To prevent them from drying out, you can seal them in a container or zip-lock bag. This can maintain the quality of lemons for up to a month.
Our favourite lemon recipe this winter
Why we love parsnips in winter
Parsnips, the unsung heroes of winter fruits and vegetables, can bring a delightful sweetness to your winter cooking. With their high fibre content, these root veggies are great for your gut. They’re also a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and folate, adding an extra nutritional punch to your meals.
One fascinating aspect of parsnips is their response to frost. As the temperatures drop, parsnips undergo a magical transformation, becoming even sweeter and more flavourful. The starches stored within the parsnip are naturally broken down and converted into sugar as a defence mechanism against frost. This gives them that signature sweetness we love in our winter cooking.
How to keep parsnips fresh
Storing parsnips is quite simple. To maintain their freshness, store them in a cool, dark place. It’s essential to keep them away from moisture, as excess dampness can cause spoilage. By providing the right conditions, you can ensure that your parsnips remain at peak quality for a few weeks.
Our favourite parsnip recipe this winter
Like what you see?
HelloFresh makes cooking with winter fruits and vegetables easy with our scrumptious range of Winter Warmers recipes. They’re all full of delicious seasonal ingredients and comforting flavours, perfect to level up your winter cooking. Take a peek at our menu and see all the delicious winter recipes you can sink your teeth into!
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