Ripe Now: Seasonal Produce Spotlight
Use nutrition to help take care of your body during
the winter months. Colorful fruits and vegetables are not only flavorful, but also offer various plant nutrients
to help you feel your best all season long.
These jewel-like fruits are an incredible source of antioxidants and are high in fiber and vitamins A and C. Avoid cranberries that are discolored, shriveled or sticky; instead, choose firm, plump and deep red ones. Store fresh cranberries in a tightly sealed bag for up to two months or freeze for up to one year. To use frozen berries, do not thaw – simply rinse with cold water and drain. Add cranberries to muffins, pancakes and waffles for a tart burst of flavor. Stir them into beverages, oatmeal or parfaits, or use them to top crostini or create homemade cranberry sauce.
Vibrant red grapefruit is abundant in vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber. It also supplies the powerful plant nutrient lycopene, which contributes to its ruby color. Enjoy this tart, juicy and immune-supporting citrus fruit as a snack, juice or accent to salads, seafood or oatmeal. Try its intense flavor in baked goods, homemade marinade, drinks or sauces by using a zester or fine peeler to collect the outer colored skin called zest.
Garlic is a flavor powerhouse with a nutritional punch. A member of the allium family, garlic supplies plant compounds called flavonoids that are linked to lower blood pressure, cholesterol control and immunity. For a real flavor treat, try roasting garlic to spread onto crusty bread with fresh herbs and olive oil. To roast a whole head of garlic, peel away the outer layers of the skin, leaving cloves intact. Cut off the top, making sure that all cloves are visible. Drizzle with olive oil, cover with foil and roast at 400º for 40 to 45 minutes. Or enjoy fresh garlic in roasted vegetables, homemade vinaigrette, pizza, pasta or dips.
As a good source of vitamins A and C that also supplies potassium and fiber, celery is a nutritious vegetable and an aromatic that supports digestion, immunity and heart health. Select firm celery stalks that are tightly packed with crisp ribs and vibrant leaves. Enjoy celery with dips, or use it to enhance the nutrition, flavor and crunch factor of soups, salads and slaws.