Vegetables in Season

Healthy Recipes and Nutrition, Nutrition
on August 19, 2011
Think Stock

It’s important to get your veggies, but did you know that you get the most nutritious and fresh produce when you eat in season? Vegetables cultivated nearby are less processed and picked at the peak of nutrition and flavor. Buying the current harvests from local growers is the sustainably fashionable thing to do, and it is frugal. Farmers' markets aren't the only spot for fresh local veggies, however. Your local grocer will also carry fresh, seasonal and local produce, or visit Local Harvest for more places to buy. Check out the season’s best and get in the know.

You can get great vegetables in the winter. The colder months don’t exactly herald the coming of new growth, yet very tasty vegetables are available at this time. Healthy heads of cabbage are crisp and full of nutrients. Snatch up red, white and green leeks for delightfully tasty soups and salads. Super nutritious broccoli and cauliflower show up at this time of year and should be enjoyed fresh to truly appreciate them.

Lettuce springs into action. As the warmer weather approaches, the first harvests of tender, crisp lettuce becomes accessible. Zucchini — verdant, crisp and cool — is found aplenty. Artichokes, asparagus and sweet spring peas take us to the mid-spring, with okra right behind them.

Summer is a rich pageant. Every type of vegetable imaginable is made better and sweeter by the sunny rays of summer. Garden-fresh cucumbers quench with every bite, and any excess can become delightfully, crunchy pickles. The best tomatoes are the real, red, ripe, juicy ones impatiently awaited by many. Pluck them all up, and can any leftovers — if you have any! Summer squash, corn and green beans begin filling up farm stands in the summer. Buy the little ones and sample the incredible, tender sweetness. Eggplant in its regal purple splendor arrives at summer’s close for one last tasty hurrah.

Autumn chill ushers in a new crop. Pumpkins, spinach, winter squash and hardy varieties of lettuce make their way to the table in the fall. Fans of root vegetables will be delighted by the vast array of potatoes now available for roasting and sautéing. Sweet potatoes are especially nice roasted with a little salt, so get your fill of these while they’re fresh. Mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower and celery round out the year in produce with even more freshness and variety.