Eating in season in winter

curlyarcacurlyarca Registered Users Posts: 8,449 Curl Connoisseur
I am a member of a CSA program in spring and summer. I love it. Everything is fresher and more flavorful, and yes, I get warm fuzzies knowing that a farmer doesn't have to sell his soul to the devil to stay in business. LOL

In winter I am pretty much on my own. This makes me sad and my diet bland. I hate buying produce in winter, but I am not always familiar with what's in season. CNN just had a report on flavorless and less nutritious tomatoes. The author of a book, "Tomatoland" said he interviewed a farmer and he said "I don't get paid for taste or smell, I get paid for yield." SMH. I love tomatoes, and this is why I usually rely on canned ones in winter.

What do you purchase and prepare in fall and winter? What is in season where you live?

"In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."

4a, mbl, low porosity, normal thickness, fine hair.

Comments

  • SariaSaria Registered Users Posts: 15,963
    I don't have a CSA, I just go to the farmers' markets, many of which are open year-round here.
    I get beans (we get great dried heirloom beans), grains (get oat groats, spelt, polenta, and others), root vegetables (carrots, salsify, rutabaga, sweet potatoes, various types of potatoes, sunchokes, parsnips, and many more), cabbage (including kale and mustard greens, often kohlrabi), fish, eggs (while they last), meat (pork, beef, rabbit, and lots more), dairy (great dairy, from buttermilk to cheeses), apples, mushrooms. Certain farmers also sell dried chilies, frozen fruit, pesto (different herbs), kimchi, sauerkraut, vinegars, honey, wine, and all sorts of miscellaneous items.

    Winter is also a pantry and freezer season. Canned tomatoes, pasta, rice, frozen cranberries, frozen anything from seasons past.

    It's also when I stray from local, though not from seasonal. I scoop up Meyer lemons once the season starts. Same for other citrus, like blood oranges. Pomegranates as well. And dates. In the fall and winter, I also load up on persimmons.
    I enjoy the tropical fruits like pineapple and fresh coconuts during this time. These fruits don't grow in NY, so it's the only time I get to enjoy them.
    I just don't buy things that do grow here when out of season, one because I don't care for them out of season, and two because I want to get them from the local farmers. Exception is herbs because I do use them year-round, and the market doesn't have them year-round. I don't use herbs like basil much in the winter though, since it's very much a spring and summer herb and feels somewhat odd (unless I'm making a few certain dishes).
    Of course, some people purée herbs and freeze them, which is a way to keep them nice and green. Then there are those who manage to grow their own without killing them. :p
    por-que-no-te-callas.jpg
  • NarniaNarnia Registered Users Posts: 1,770
    Wow, funny you post this. I'm really getting into eating locally, just in time for a long Canadian winter :P our farmers markets are closed Oct-May :(
    I recently posted on another forum (Chow) about buying in season/local foods in the winter. I'm curious to see some of the responses.


    Posted from my "smart"phone. 'Scuse crazy typos
    "Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”
  • SariaSaria Registered Users Posts: 15,963
    Winter is a time for hearty braises, spices, and more interesting salads.

    Cassoulets, celery root gratins, beef stew a la Niçoise, with some orange peel and olives, polenta with mushrooms and Gorgonzola, salad of endives and Meyer lemons and a creamy dressing, beet salads with labne, citrus salads (like grapefruit, avocado and chorizo oil), root vegetables julienned and put into a salad with shaved cheese and lemon juice and olive oil, or kohlrabi and apple slaw, braised pork chops with apples and sauerkraut, radicchio salads with pomegranate and toasted hazelnuts, braised cabbage, potato leek soups, osso bucco with gremolata, lentil soups with roasted lemon compote, risottos, lasagne, and so on. There's plenty of delicious food to enjoy in the winter (citrus season!).
    por-que-no-te-callas.jpg
  • HoneycurlsHoneycurls Registered Users Posts: 1,889
    I am so glad, curlyarca, that you started this thread. I am so ignorant about such things, though we have revamped our diets and eat almost nothing but fresh fruits and vegs and as organic as our newly limited income allows. In our efforts to eat healthy, we just go to the store and buy whatever fruits and vegs we like, not thinking about whether or not they are in season and from where they came.

    I grew weary of Farmers' Market shopping because every trip there left me increasingly more stabby and homicidal--rude, pushy, aggressive people. I don't do well with crowds, and it became such a chore that my disdain for the experience won out over my love of fresh fruits and vegs, so we stopped going. Also, we found a small produce stand that purports to be "like having a farmers' market every day." We even grew weary of shopping there, though, because we found ourselves running all over town to too many different stores on shopping day.

    So, after reading your post, I've been on the CSA site and am shocked to find that there are deliveries from several farms right in my city! I've never heard of CSA! I love this! Thanks again!
    OK, I admit it.....I'm an alias! I wasn't born with the name Honeycurls!
    :lurk: Dood, get over it; there's no time limit on lurking.

    I so busy runnin' allllllll over the place and ain't nobody chasin' me! :confused5::laughing5::jocolor:
  • SariaSaria Registered Users Posts: 15,963
    If your interest is to support local, you have to make sure they're really farmers' markets. Here, you can find a list at grownyc.org. The vendors are regulated to make sure they actually grow what they're selling.
    A lot of people don't realize that lots of places use names like farmers' market, but if you see fresh corn in March, April, or May, that is not local corn. Dead giveaway is the sale of avocados and citrus as well, since those things are not in season in the northeast or other cold climates.
    Like I said, in the winter, when the produce becomes more limited and things like citrus are in season (in California,and Florida, for example, lucky as they are), I get those things, but produce that grows here, I buy when it's in season here, from the farmers.

    As for crowds, I tend to avoid going to markets like Union Square on Saturdays. In the winter, Wednesdays tend to be the best days for Union Square anyway.
    There's a smaller market in Queens on Saturdays from spring to fall that is bliss. While people are rushing to Union Square to get sour cherries while their short season lasts, there's a bounty of them at this market and almost nobody else there. Same with squash blossoms. They often run out at US, while there's tons in smaller markets.
    por-que-no-te-callas.jpg
  • curlyarcacurlyarca Registered Users Posts: 8,449 Curl Connoisseur
    I should find some farmer's markets around. We had one at work but it ended in October. This is the dilemma....finding a CSA that functions year round. I understand why they don't. You have to let the land rest and recover from the summer/fall season.

    Glad this thread helped, Honeycurls. For me, the CSA is the best way to get veggies. But I'm going to have to be more creative this winter.

    "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."

    4a, mbl, low porosity, normal thickness, fine hair.
  • SariaSaria Registered Users Posts: 15,963
    It's not just that, but that there's just not much growing in the harsh winters up north. :p Vegetables are cellared, canned, pickled, and frozen.
    por-que-no-te-callas.jpg
  • curlyarcacurlyarca Registered Users Posts: 8,449 Curl Connoisseur
    Oh I know. I just hate it. I grew up where we had fresh, local stuff year round and it's not an easy adjustment even after several years.

    "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer."

    4a, mbl, low porosity, normal thickness, fine hair.
  • ruralcurlsruralcurls Registered Users Posts: 2,574
    I just signed up for a winter CSA, I am so excited. I just got a list of things we are getting this week and can't wait.

    Here is what I will be getting this week:

    Butternut
    Purple top turnips
    Eggs
    Red radishes
    Spinach
    Loofa, luffa, loofah, lufah

    Of course, I have no idea what to do with turnips, radishes or loofa, but I will figure it out.
  • SariaSaria Registered Users Posts: 15,963
    Braised radishes are delicious.

    Take 2lbs radishes and if they have greens and the greens are nice and fresh, cut off (leave about 1/2 inch of stems on radishes) and set aside. If the radishes are large, cut in half, otherwise leave whole (this depends on what type of radishes you get ---this recipe is best for Easter egg or French breakfast radishes).
    Melt butter (about two or three tbsp) with two teaspoons brown sugar and add about 1/2 cup of water and the radishes. Sprinkle with salt, bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, about three minutes, or until the radishes are just a little tender and can be pierced with a knife. Throw in the greens, raise heat to bring back to a boil, lower the heat and simmer, covered, until greens are tender.
    Pull out greens and radishes, then add a splash of vinegar to the liquid in the pan and reduce to a glaze. Add more sugar or vinegar to taste and season with salt and pepper and a grating of nutmeg.


    Or you can make pickled radishes. Or radish butter to spread on good bread. Or roast them.
    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/food-and-drink/features/lunch-with-added-crunch-skye-gyngell-cooks-with-radishes-2016531.html

    http://www.culinate.com/books/collections/all_books/Local+Flavors/radish_sandwiches

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/12/dining/12appe.html

    They also make great salads with avocados and oranges:
    http://m.finecooking.com/recipes/jicama-avocado-radish-orange-salad-cilantro.aspx http://jenncuisine.com/2010/01/endive-salad/
    http://www.williams-sonoma.com/m/recipe/mesclun-salad-with-radishes-avocado-and-blood-oranges.html


    Turnips make a great gratin. Or pickled. Or soup. Or just roast them. I get them in a pan with hot oil, sprinkle salt, allow them to caramelize, then finish with a knob of butter and maybe a sprinkling of sugar, though they're plenty sweet.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/30/dining/with-raw-turnips-exploring-new-frontiers-in-salad-a-good-appetite.html?_r=1&ref=agoodappetite
    por-que-no-te-callas.jpg
  • macluanmacluan Registered Users Posts: 326
    We winter over many fall/winter veggies. Different squashes, potatoes-sweet & white varieties, cabbage, brussel sprouts, celery root, Jerusalem artichoke, fennel, pumpkin, onion, carrot, beets, etc. We buy a large quantity from the farmers market and they keep most of the winter. The farm that we buy from the most also has a small market after the big farmers market closes so if you need some things they are available too. We make roasted veggies, prepare with roasted meats and lots of breads, soups and stews. We also have some greens still growing, the really cold hardy spinach and kale that we use all winter along with cold hardy herbs - rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, etc. We also eat more hot breakfast foods this time of the year - oatmeal, soup,scones. I've been trying to eat less eggs because chickens lay less eggs in the winter but so far I haven't been too successful there.
  • SariaSaria Registered Users Posts: 15,963
    Never had loofah, but it seems it can be treated similarly to summer squash:
    Chao Sigua (Stir-Fried Loofah) | Terroir Seeds | Underwood Gardens
    Urban Garden Casual »  Loofah
    por-que-no-te-callas.jpg
  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,060 Administrator
    macluan wrote: »
    We winter over many fall/winter veggies. Different squashes, potatoes-sweet & white varieties, cabbage, brussel sprouts, celery root, Jerusalem artichoke, fennel, pumpkin, onion, carrot, beets, etc. We buy a large quantity from the farmers market and they keep most of the winter. The farm that we buy from the most also has a small market after the big farmers market closes so if you need some things they are available too. We make roasted veggies, prepare with roasted meats and lots of breads, soups and stews. We also have some greens still growing, the really cold hardy spinach and kale that we use all winter along with cold hardy herbs - rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano, etc. We also eat more hot breakfast foods this time of the year - oatmeal, soup,scones. I've been trying to eat less eggs because chickens lay less eggs in the winter but so far I haven't been too successful there.

    If you can find a farm that has Buff Orpington hens, they lay pretty well in the winter. And their eggs are extra large. The farm where I often get veggies in the summer has "self-serve" eggs all winter.
  • crimsonshedemoncrimsonshedemon Registered Users Posts: 2,098
    Saria wrote: »
    Never had loofah, but it seems it can be treated similarly to summer squash:
    Had no idea you can loofah. Only knew it as a scrub brush thing. Interesting. Want to grow some now.
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Registered Users Posts: 31,259 Curl Connoisseur
    Color me stupid!

    I had no idea that loofah sponges were from Gourds. I thought they were animals, like natural sea sponges.

    The things I learn here.

    Great thread. Saria, you are a weath of food knowledge and I so appreciate how generously you share it.
  • ruralcurlsruralcurls Registered Users Posts: 2,574
    The CSA sends an email each week. This is what he wrote about lufah:

    Note #1: Until last year, I thought lufah (an Arabic word, according to Wikipedia) was the dried skeleton of a sea creature. Turns out you can grow it in your backyard.

    Guess I will be trying it for the first time this week.
  • ruralcurlsruralcurls Registered Users Posts: 2,574
    Oops, as always Saria, many, many thanks. :notworthy:

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