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November 12, 2020 / Cathy Pedtke

January Seasonal Produce to Try

Red cabbage, sausage and apple salad with gorgonzola

Looking for some seasonal cooking inspiration? If you’re in the US, Canada or elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, here's our snapshot of what is in season in January! You may not think of January seasonal produce if it’s cold and snowy outside, but there are lots of storage crops and produce grown elsewhere at its peak right now.

Depending on your location, winter can limit the produce options available to you. If you have a PlateJoy subscription, the hard work is done for you as we remove many seasonal items like mangoes, strawberries, and eggplant.

Fresh produce can be more sparse in the winter months, but you can still fit lots of fruits and vegetables into your clean eating meal plan. Here’s a look at what’s in season in January.

Fruits

Depending on how far North you live, there may not be much growing near you. But January is peak season for citruses grown in warmer climates, so you can reap the benefits of these juicy, vitamin-rich fruits.

Grapefruit

grapefruit with crackers

Citrus fruits grown in warmer climates naturally come into season now, so they’ll be freshest and most flavorful. Grapefruit are among the largest citrus commonly available, and have a sweet-sour balance that makes them enjoyable by themselves or in sweet or savory dishes. For a fresh spin on grapefruit, we recommend this seared halloumi and grapefruit salad.

Apples

red and green apples with one cut in half

Certain varieties of apple can stay fresh in cold storage all through the winter, and will actually get a little sweeter with time. Try this filling red cabbage, sausage and apple salad with Granny Smith, Gala, or another hearty apple variety.

Oranges

Oranges with rosemary honey & hazelnuts

Oranges may be available year-round, but their peak season is November through May. In the Northern hemisphere, oranges were once a traditional holiday gift as an exotic treat during the cold winter months. They’re packed with vitamin C and immune-boosting nutrients, as well as fiber and water to keep you full and hydrated. For a simple dessert, try these oranges with rosemary honey and hazelnuts.

Lemon

woman cutting lemon into quarters

We tend to take lemons for granted as a readily available ingredient, but did you know that lemon harvest peaks November to March? In-season produce actually has more nutrients too, so take advantage of fresh lemons now to boost your vitamin C intake with these blueberry lemon coconut muffins.

Dried Fruit

assortment of dried fruit

You might only think of dried fruits as an ingredient in trail mix, but they’re a versatile part of your winter pantry! Unsweetened dried fruit is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and can be used in sweet or savory dishes. This arugula, dried cherry and quinoa salad is a quick and easy way to incorporate dried fruit into your meal plan.

Vegetables

January seasonal produce also includes hearty vegetables and dark leafy greens. Here are some of our favorites to add to your meal plan in January.

Cauliflower

woman holding cauliflower

Mild and versatile, cauliflower is a perfect replacement for starchy, high-carb ingredients like potato, pasta, and rice. This inexpensive winter vegetable is great to squeeze extra vegetables into kid-friendly recipes like BBQ mac and cheese with chicken and cauliflower.

Celery Root

Celery root

Also known as celeriac, this lumpy root is a close cousin to celery (you can use the tops like celery) and a hearty winter produce staple. You can slice it thinly and eat it raw in salads and slaws; or celery root can be cooked into soups or stews – you can even add it as a pizza topping!

Celery

head of celery with a knife

You have probably seen celery in the grocery store year-round, but even this commonly available item has a season! Celery is commonly harvested in late fall through early winter, and it can be stored fresh through to early spring. Out of season celery is often grown far away, or stored in a controlled environment for long periods. The crunchy green vegetable is very low in calories and provides water and fiber, as well as significant anti-inflammatory nutrients. Although not often featured as the main ingredient, it’s front and center in this shrimp, celery and cucumber salad.

Kale

man's hands chopping kale on a marble cutting board

Kale has enjoyed the spotlight among chefs recently, but it’s been a winter produce star for a long time. Some varieties grow through late winter and can withstand snow! Considered a superfood for it’s high levels of nutrients and low calories, kale is a smart addition to any meal. One of our favorite recipes is this vegan kale & chorizo stuffed delicata.

Leeks

leeks on a wooden cutting board with knife

Leeks are a member of the onion (or Allium) family, but are milder than the green onions they resemble. Firm and fibrous when raw, leeks soften quickly when cooked and caramelize like onions. Leeks are in season September through April, but are at their peak in January. Brighten up your winter with this warm and colorful turmeric braised chicken with roasted beets & leeks.

The Takeaway

Winter doesn’t mean you have to give up fresh fruits and vegetables. There is plenty of January seasonal produce on the menu! Not only does eating with the seasons offer health benefits, you’ll also find that buying seasonal produce is the most affordable choice. By cooking with fruits and vegetables that are in season in January, you’ll have produce at its peak ripeness and quality – which means the best flavor and most nutrients for you to enjoy. Having a meal plan that features seasonal produce is an easy way to maximize nutrition and insure you’re getting the best quality ingredients, which means the best flavor.

Cathy Pedtke
Recipe Coordinator @ PlateJoy

Cathy is PlateJoy's Recipe Coordinator and chef-in-residence. She is passionate about food justice and culinary education and believes everyone should have access to healthy, fresh food. She has a Master's degree in Gastronomy from Boston University, where she focused on food policy. When she isn't testing new recipes at home, she enjoys gardening, running marathons, and volunteering with local food recovery organizations.

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