Learn what to look for when buying seasonal produce this winter and how to keep it fresh longer.
Winter Vegetables: Carrots
How to choose: Choose brightly colored, firm carrots that are not too large, as giant carrots tend to taste woody. Avoid carrots that are soft, wrinkled or faded.
How to store: Carrots should be stored in a cool place (the crisper of the refrigerator is ideal) for up to three weeks. Remove greens before refrigerating.
Winter Vegetables: Acorn Squash
How to choose: Select acorn squash that is heavy for its size and has dull skin with absolutely no soft spots (shiny skin indicates that it’s not ripe). A good balance of green and orange skin is optimum.
How to store: Stored in a cool, dry place, acorn squash will last up to three months. If refrigerated, it will only last up to two weeks.
Winter Vegetables: Brussels Sprouts
How to choose: Brussels sprouts should be bright green with firm, fresh leaves and clean stems. If you have the option, it’s better to buy individual sprouts rather than prepackaged sprouts. Avoid sprouts with a strong odor or loose leaves that are discolored or blemished.
How to store: Brussels sprouts should be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for three to four days.
Winter Vegetables: Kale
How to choose: Look for Tuscan kale, the green variety which tends to be sweeter than others (such as Russian kale, whose leaves have red edges). Though kale is very durable, look for leaves that are thick and crisp.
How to store: Refrigerate unwashed kale in a plastic bag.
Winter Vegetables: Sweet Potatoes
How to choose: Select sweet potatoes that are firm with a smooth skin. Avoid those with blemishes or soft spots.
How to store: Make sure you don’t store sweet potatoes in the refrigerator, because doing so produces a hard core in the center of the potato. Instead, keep them in a cool, well-ventilated place, such as a basement or a cool garage.
Winter Vegetables: Parsnips
How to choose: Look for parsnips with a firm texture and unblemished color. Avoid those with brown spots or a soft, flimsy feel. Make sure the greens are bright green and have not wilted.
How to store: Parsnips can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator (the crisper drawer is ideal) for up to two weeks.
Winter Vegetables: Cauliflower
How to choose: Select cauliflower with tight, bright-white florets and green leaves. Avoid those with a yellow cast or any dark spots.
How to store: Before washing, refrigerate cauliflower in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer.
Winter Vegetables: Rutabaga
How to choose: Select rutabagas with a smooth skin and that are heavy for their size. Avoid those with bruises or soft spots.
How to store: Rutabagas will keep for up to a week at room temperature, but they’ll last up to two weeks if kept at around 50 degrees in a dry place.
Winter Vegetables: Cabbage
How to choose: Look for a heavy head of cabbage with crisp, tight and brightly colored leaves. Avoid cabbages with a brown stalk or discolored spots on the leaves.
How to store: Wrap the head in loose plastic and refrigerate for up to two weeks in the crisper drawer.
Winter Vegetables: Celery
How to choose: Select celery with tightly formed stalk bunches that are pale green and firm. Avoid those with wilted, yellowing leaves.
How to store: Unwashed celery can be refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to one week in the crisper drawer.
Winter Vegetables: Butternut Squash
How to choose: Choose squash with bright yellow skin that’s firm and heavy for its size. Avoid those with blemishes or soft spots.
How to store: Placed in an airtight plastic bag, unwashed butternut squash will last up to seven days.
Winter Vegetables: Potatoes
How to choose: No matter the variety, select firm potatoes that feel heavy for their size and are free of blemishes or soft spots.
How to store: Potatoes will last for several weeks in a cool, dark place. Avoid storing them near onions.
Winter Vegetables: Celery Root
How to choose: Also known as celeriac, look for celery root with a firm feel, light beige exterior and fresh green leaves.
How to store: If stored in a cool, dry place, celery root can last up to two months.
Winter Vegetables: Turnips
How to choose: Look for brightly colored turnips with a violet ring around the top, and make sure the attached greens are fresh. Avoid turnips that have turned soft or those with wilted greens.
How to store: Remove greens and store cleaned turnips in a plastic bag in the crisper of the refrigerator. If you opt to leave them out of the refrigerator, make sure they’re in a cool, dry place.
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Learn how to choose and store the best winter produce, plus ways to serve it.