January: What's in Season?
Ten days into the new year and I have been seeing some of my go-to produce has been picked over. While it warms my heart people have all the best intentions to start the new year fresh and take control of their health, it kills me to see this motivation diminish by February. People start to go crazy with picking items they've never tried, don't know what it is or how to prepare it. But because they've seen the latest celebrity eating a cauliflower-pumpkin-tofu-hummus detox bowl, topped with sprouts, lentils and chia seeds, it has to be good, right?
I'm all for trying new things. I, myself, need to branch out more from my typical produce. What helps me branch out is knowing what is in season at the time! I thought I would share some of the top January in-season produce items, and some great ways to prepare them.
As an excellent source of folate, potassium and and magnesium, this root vegetable gets a bad rep. But there are tons of ways to prepare them. One way I enjoy it is in a smoothie:
1/2 C beet juice
1/2 C coconut milk
2 spoonfuls Greek yogurt
1 C frozen pinapple
1 handful spinach leaves
1/4 tsp. chia seeds
Add contents to the blender and blend until smooth.
The freshness of citrus goes great with any dish. Citrus fruits, such an lemon, oranges and grapefruit, are chalk full of vitamin C, vitamin B6 and potassium. Be sure to check out my Lemon Garlic Chicken recipe in my Top 5 Quickest Dinners. Another way I love to use citrus is with my greens. Which brings me to the next food, kale.
This leafy green is an excellent source for vitamin K, A and C! Whether you like it sautéed or in a casserole, there are endless ways to incorporate it in your dishes. One of my favorites is Massaged Kale Salad:
2 bunches of kale
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 C olive oil
1/4 C lemon juice
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
Salt & pepper to taste
Tear leaves from stem and rip into large pieces, place in large bowl. Add Parmesan, oil, lemon juice, garlic, soy sauce, pepper and salt. With clean hands, gently massage and crush greens until the volume is reduced by half the amount. Top with Parmesan if desired.
This green onion-like bulb has many functions. Use it in soups for extra flavor, or top off any dishes for an extra crunch. Leeks can be used is any casserole, pasta dish or mixed with other vegetables for a little extra oomph. It provides as a source of vitamin K, folate and iron.
An antioxidant filled fruit, also provides phosphorus, copper, manganese. These edible seeds can top off salads, be used in yogurt parfaits or eaten plain! Try them with a spinach salad to change things up:
2-3 bunches of spinach
1 Tbsp red onion, chopped
1 Tbsp walnuts
1 Tbsp feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 C pomegranate seeds
Combined ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle your favorite vinaigrette for a refreshing meal or side.
A root vegetable bursting with color can be prepared in a various amount of ways. I prefer to roast my root vegetables with all the garlic i can get! Brush a little olive oil on them, toss them with some minced garlic and bake at 400 for 10-15. Then, turn on the broiler on high for about 10 minutes. You'll have a side packed with vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, potassium.