Friday, December 9, 2016

Tips for Using Winter Fruits and Veggies

The cold weather has been creeping upon us, which means that winter is right around the corner. Though we have to embrace this cold weather, there is something we can look forward to --- winter vegetables and fruits! Yes, those delicious, hearty vegetables that amp up our soups, and fill our homes with a distinct aroma while roasting, and those sweet fruits that we look forward to helping build our immune system! You may be wondering what’s so special about these fruits and vegetables, and what on earth am I supposed to do with them? Well, you have come to the right place, because today's post is all about that!

Winter Squash
Winter squash is typically the first vegetable that comes to mind for this season. What is wonderful about these vegetables is that they are harvested in the fall and can last through the wintertime. There are a variety of squashes that fall under this category, such as butternut squash, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, sweet pumpkin, and delicata squash. These vibrant squashes are rich in antioxidants (vitamin C and E), potassium, and fiber! Roasting these vegetables brings out their natural sweetness and fills your home with a delicious, nutty aroma. Winter squashes also make excellent soups and side dishes to help warm you up during the cold weather!

Clementines, Mandarins, and Tangerines
Now, you may be wondering what the difference is between these 3 fruits since their names are often used interchangeably. Tangerines and clementines are a type of mandarin. Clementines tend to be sweeter, easier to peel, and are usually seedless. Tangerines, on the other hand, are a bit more sour and contain seeds. Both fruits have great antioxidant properties with more than a day’s worth of vitamin C! These immune-boosting fruits are great for this time of year when cold and flu season is in full effect. These little guys last around a week in the fridge, and are great to keep on hand as an on-the-go snack!

Kale has grown in popularity due to it being labeling as a “superfood.” This dark, leafy green is a member of the cabbage family, and has a bitter taste. Kale is very versatile when it comes to cooking since it can be used in soups, roasted into kale chips, eaten raw in a salad, or sauteed in a stir-fry (just make sure you cut the tough rib out). This green is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, and a good source of calcium and potassium. Below is a delicious and simple kale chip recipe that is sure to satisfy your crunchy snack cravings.

Simple Kale Chips

2 cups kale leaves (washed, de-stemmed, and torn apart) )
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste*

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Place kale leaves on a large baking sheet. 
3. Drizzle kale with olive oil and spices*.
4. Bake for about 15 minutes, keeping an eye on them so they do not burn. 

*You can use any combination of spices for your kale chips, such as: garlic powder and parmesean cheese, hot pepper flakes, cayenne pepper with lemon zest, or your favorite seasoning blend! 

Post is guest written by Christine Farinella - Current dietetic intern with the University of Delaware  that holds a Bachelors of Science in Nutrition & Dietetics from West Chester University. 

References: - - - -