So, what fruits and vegetables in season right now?
First off, lets start by talking about the importance of seasonality in your fruits and vegetables. When shining some light on the benefits of seasonality I always tend to use tomatoes as an example. The reason being, is that in season tomatoes are a thousand times better than out of season tomatoes, hands down. In my opinion, tomatoes are the easiest to distinguish.
Vegetables in season should not be an after thought when determining a menu or what you are making for dinner. In season vegetables and fruits should be the first thing you think of when figuring out what you are going to eat or cook. This is called availability. Availability is not really a concern now days since modern farming techniques, technology, and transportation have basically made any ingredient available year-round. This makes the governing properties “availability” more of a moral practice rather than a way of life. Nevertheless, there is a noticeable difference in quality & flavor when buying vegetables in season.
This brings us to the question once more, what vegetables are in season right now? Well, in my part of the world (Southern USA) January is the middle of winter. Given the season we will be exploring the world of root vegetables, hearty greens, and citrus! I am not a fan of cold weather but when it comes to winter citrus it makes the cold a little more bearable. Let us explore the fruits and vegetables in season, January edition!
January Fruits and Vegetables in Season
Late season or winter apples are the first that come to mind when contemplating fruits and vegetables in season. Some common apple varieties you will find during this time are Fuji, Golden Rush, and Pink Lady. The winter apple varieties tend to be great for cooking and, if kept around 32 F, have the longest shelf life! I have seen apples last through winter into early spring under the right circumstances.
Beets are often misunderstood in the hearts of the common folk of the world. It seems that the canned beet products have ruined peoples taste for a good beet. Beets can last in the ground through winter and not die, but they will begin to seed around 30 F for longer periods. Depending on the region, the beets may be green house grown during the month of January.
Brussels Sprouts is my favorite! Think of them as little cabbages. They are sold on and off the stem, but which ever you choose to make sure they are bright green. Try to stay away from wilting or bruised outsides. These vegetables also have a long shelf life if you choose wisely. Look for the compact heads with no bruising and you should be fine.
Cabbage is a good addition to the vegetables in season during this month. There are a few different varieties of cabbage like: Huron, OS Cross, Danish Ball Head and January King! You can guess which one is your best pick! Savoy and Napa are the more common choices you see but are not the best winter varietals.
There are so many varieties of carrots it is unreal. Carrots will come in all shades, sizes, and hues. If the greens are still attached, look for crisp green leaves. If they are wilted or brown, it is best to stay away. Be sure to stay away from any visual blemishes on the outside and you will be in good shape. Carrots have a long shelf life and are best kept in the fridge with air flow.
Pascal celery is the most common variety found in the united states. The celery should be light green in color and have long and crisp stalks. Stay away from any bruises or broken stalks. The leaves should be crispy and light green, and brown color in the leaves is an early sign of rotting. Celery has a moderate shelf life if left on the stalk.
Also known as celeriac, celery root grows underground as the base of celery. Go figure! This is a popular part of the vegetables in season. Celeriac is often sold covered in dirt and looks like it is not from this planet. Stick to the softball-sized roots for optimal flavor and be sure to check the root thoroughly. Celeriac tends to develop rot in spots rather than all over. The affected area will be squishy and brown.
You may come across swiss chard or rainbow chard, but they are all relative to the January vegetables in season. You can eat the leaves and the stems. You want the stems to be firm while the leaves to be crisp. Avoid holes or tears in the leaves, and flimsy stems.
Citrus is the pinnacle of the fruits and vegetables in season during this time. The citrus family consists of grapefruit, oranges, lemons, pomelos, and limes. Selecting citrus takes a couple tries, but easy enough. Select a citrus of moderate firmness. Apart from limes, if the citrus is too hard or has green areas then it is not ripe. If it is too soft or has bruised rind, then it is on its way out.
Endive is special because it is strictly a cold weather vegetable. Endives are commonly found in yellow or red varieties. They should have very tight compact leaves with no blemishes at all. Only buy the perfect endives because and break or tear in the leaves, and the endive will begin to oxidize leaving an unappetizing ingredient.
Is a large root, that varies in size. It has a brown exterior and is often covered in dirt. The interior of a horseradish root is white and creamy looking. The ideal horseradish is firm with no brown or black mushy spots.
Kale is becoming more and more common especially in the diet communities. The most common forms of kale are Lacinato Kale, Red Russian, and Dwarf Siberian. Lacinato kale by far is the most common. Leaves and stalks should be crisp and dry and be sure to stay away from mushy or wilted leaves.
Kohlrabi is another member of the root vegetables in season. Kohlrabi is essentially a German turnip also known as a cabbage turnip. This bulb should be firm, and the leaves should be edible as well. Stay away from mushy brown leaves and squishy bulbs. Brown spots are a no go when it comes to kohlrabi.
Mushrooms are available year-round with a few exceptions. Varieties like creminis, buttons, shitakes, portobellos and so on are totally fine to buy any time. Just be sure to avoid mushrooms without slimy or moldy spots.
Mustard greens are peppery and leafy greens that come in large and micro varieties. These greens can range from green, red, purple or other hues depending on multiple factors. Overall, Look for crisp and perky greens with no brown or black mushy spots. Stay away from wilted, bruised or ripped leaves to ensure maximum shelf life.
As far as fruits and vegetables in season, radicchio might be the least popular. Radicchio is a leafy vegetable with a bitter taste. Radicchio di Chioggia is the most common variety, but can be found in all shapes, sizes, and colors (typically red, yellow or green). In any case, you want to steer clear of the mushy or brown colored spots. Wilting is less than satisfactory as well.
Also known as broccoli rabe, Rapini looks like a leafier version of its cousin broccoli. Rapini should mimic the same dark green hue of a healthy broccoli. The leaves and florets should be vibrant and blemish free. Wilting or bruising are early signs of rotting, so stay away from any that fit that description. Any yellow spots should be avoided as well.
Salsify is a slender and woody root that looks like a tree branch, given its outside color and texture. It has light brown to black skin with a dense white interior. Salsify has a slight umami flavor often compared to oysters and a fibrous texture. This has a long shelf life if stored in cool conditions.
Look like small red onions with brown peels. These vegetables in season have a delicate onion flavor with a hint of sweetness. The bulbs should be firm and pungent. When buying, be sure to give the bulb a squeeze underneath the peel to ensure the quality.
Sorrel comes in red and green varieties. This leafy green resembles spinach but has a sharp and tart taste. Selecting sorrel is simple. Try to pick the young and delicate leaves for the best flavor. The leaves should be vibrant in red or green colors depending on the variety. Try to avoid bruises or blemishes on the leaves or crushed stems to preserve quality.
Spinach is well known throughout. The most common variety is savoy spinach but there are at least 10 others out there. Spinach leaves can be sold as loose leaves or still on the stem. The smaller leaves are ideal because they are tender, while the larger leaves tend to get more fibrous. When buying spinach, avoid the mushy brown spotted leaves. Any discoloration at all is a bad sign.
Also known as Jerusalem artichokes, are the roots of the sunflower. Sunchokes have a slightly sweet and nutty flavor. The skin is a light brown color, while the inside is dense and white. If cleaned properly, the sunchoke is skin is edible and nutritious. Stay away from any sunchokes with dark brown or black mushy spots or spongy areas.
Turnips are a huge winter staple and come in many different varieties. The most common turnip is the purple top white globe which is considered the general use turnip variety. Baby turnips are a close runner up in commonality. Either way turnips have a relatively neutral flavor with hints of sweetness. Turnips should be firm with tight skin and depending on the variety the skin is edible. Stay away from dark colored mushy spots on turnips.
Yams are often confused with sweet potatoes, but they are two totally different species. Yams are tubers with dry bark-like skin. The interior is white and starchy, and not overly sweet. Yams should be firm with no soft spots at all.
Big thanks to some other blogs and sites out there that provide awesome information! Spread the knowledge everyone!
If you like this fruits and vegetables in season guide, then check out the others we have!! Vegetables in season and fruits in season broken down by month!