The winter can be a tough time to get fresh fruits and vegetables. Our harsh Canadian winters create local produce that mainly consists of root vegetables: beets, carrots, garlic, leeks, potatoes, parsnips, and more! Although these don’t seem too exciting, these root vegetables are warming, comforting and tasty. The chart below shows local availability of fruits and vegetables for the winter season in Ontario.
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Root vegetables are something that is excellent to fortify your diet, especially during the winter. Their heartiness and because they are roots, they are nutritionally dense. Carrots and beets for example are rich in vitamin C, antioxidants (ex. carotenoids, anthocyanins, betalains) and fibre. Certain root vegetables like onions and garlic are great anti-inflammatories and antimicrobials, overall acting as a natural flu preventative. Garlic itself contains polysulfides which are converted to hydrogen sulfide, a compound that dilates the blood vessels and helps to regulate blood pressure. As you can see, there are many benefits to consuming winter produce, besides being fairly inexpensive.
Use the guide above to start your experimenting with various root vegetable recipes. For example you can create a variety of soups: butternut squash soup, spaghetti squash pasta, cream of broccoli and potato soup, roasted root vegetables, just to name a few. Expand your palate and enjoy!