7 Local Seasonal Foods to Enjoy During the Holidays
Look for these fresh, local seasonal foods in your area for healthy & sustainable additions to your holiday meals.
Eating local is easy in the summer, but depending on where you live, local foods might not be so easy to come by in the winter. However, even where cooler temperatures are the norm by the time the holidays roll around, you still may be able to find some locally grown produce such as winter squash, sweet potatoes, and hardy green vegetables such as kale and cabbage to add to your holiday table.
Shopping locally for seasonal foods even during the winter will help support your local farmers during the colder months when they don’t have as much income coming in. Plus, locally grown foods don’t have to travel as far to get to your plate, so they are generally fresher, healthier, and tastier than those that may have been shipped halfway across the country first.
Whether you’re looking for healthier foods to feed your family, you want to support your local community, or you are concerned about reducing fossil fuel usage, shopping locally for seasonal foods during the holiday season and beyond is a wise choice.
Below are 7 seasonal foods that you may be able to find from local farmers around the holidays, depending on your location – and they all will make healthy and delicious additions to your holiday meals:
- Kale and Collard Greens
Both kale and collard greens, when conventionally grown, contain high pesticide loads. Make sure you buy organic! The hearty green leaves are packed with nutrients and are great for salads, sides and garnishes.
Garlic and other root vegetables, such as carrots and beets, are more susceptible to absorbing toxic fertilizers than other vegetables, which makes buying organic a must. The health benefits of garlic equal its versatility in the kitchen. Raw garlic retains a higher concentration of allicin, which gives garlic its antibacterial, antiviral benefits. Allicin levels are diminished the longer garlic is cooked, but the taste of garlic – whether baked, boiled, sauteed or steamed – adds a kick to any recipe.
Sprouts contain the highest concentration of phytonutrients per calorie of any food, according to a study from the International Journal of Applied Science. The enzymes from sprouted foods can replace enzymes that your body no longer produces. Like herbs, sprouts can be grown at home from just about any seed you have leftover from your spring, summer and fall crops. Grab your broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beet, carrot and spinach seeds and a germination kit, and you are well on your way to eating healthy and organic.
- Winter Squash
Winter squash are packed with nutrients, and are great in soups, pies and casseroles. Of all things to buy organic, make sure to buy organic squashes, including pumpkins. Pumpkins do a great job of absorbing toxins found in soil. Conventional farmers know this, making them a great fall crop that’s both marketable and cleans up the toxic mess of spring and summer conventional crops. Of the many varieties on the market, here are a few of the better-known varieties.
- Butternut squash is a meal in itself.
- Red kabocha squash is sweet.
- White kabocha squash is savory.
- Sugar pumpkin makes tasty pies!
- Spaghetti squash is a great pasta alternative.
- Delicata squash is creamy, soft and has edible skin.
- Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes make the best pies, fries and sides. Keep unwanted pesticides, fungicides and herbicides off your plate by choosing organic.
- Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts are best when they are on the stalk. They last longer and once off the stalk, the flavor begins to diminish after a few days. Smaller sprouts are sweeter and more tender. Chop them, dice them, peel the leaves and shake them into a salad, or bake, boil or saute them whole. Regardless, these tasty sprouts are loaded with fiber, antioxidants and vitamin C. Buy organic and unwrap the flavor without the chemical residues.
This list would not be complete with at least one fruit. Of the winter-ready fruits on the shelves, persimmons take the spotlight due to their nutritional gifts! Wrapped in a beautiful burnt orange skin, persimmons are loaded with vitamins A, C, E and B6. They have dietary fiber, manganese, copper, magnesium, potassium and phosphorous as well as catechins, gallocatechins, betulinic acid and various carotenoid compounds that fall within the B complex of vitamins. Persimmons aid in cancer prevention; provide relief from constipation; improve eye health, circulation and digestion; boost the immune system and prevent the signs of premature aging. And while they are waiting to be eaten, they make great centerpieces for your holiday gatherings.
Read more at OnlyOrganic.com…
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