What’s in Season – December Produce and Recipes
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December produce is packed full of holiday favorites that can be enjoyed at the table or dressed up and given to loved ones as gifts.
The festive season is packed full of colorful ingredients that are at their best this month. December fruits and vegetables have had the summer and fall to ripen and grow, bringing essential nutrients and incredible colors to the first month of winter.
What produce is in season in December
We’re officially in soup season – the best season of the year. Winter squash is a staple of December produce thanks to its versatility in both sweet and savory dishes.
Butternut squash: It crosses seasons and becomes a staple of December vegetables. You can add it to stews or turn it into a festive centerpiece by stuffing it. More so, turn it into a pizza crust or make a warming soup.
Brassicas and leafy greens
Just a small handful of resilient vegetables come into season this month – but they’re well worth waiting all year for.
Cauliflower: An underrated vegetable, cauliflower has had something of a resurgence as a vegan alternative to everything from wings to rice. Use it to make cauliflower wings, air-fry it, or roast it into vegan-friendly Cauliflower Steaks.
Collard greens: Rich in Vitamins A and C, collards are a loose-leaf green veggie not dissimilar to cabbage. Use them as you would an ordinary green cabbage or kale – perfect for boosting everyday meals or adding to salads. They’re easily boiled, steamed, or sauteed and are frequently found on dinner tables in the Southern USA.
The base for so many delicious dishes, root vegetables are a great substitute for other fresh veggies during this month.
Carrots: These vibrant orange columns have spent the autumn burrowing roots and come out just in time for winter. They’re a great ingredient for both savory and sweet dishes. For a mix of the two, whip some honey-glazed roasted ones as a festive side dish. And, for a no-waste option, keep the leafy green stalks and turn them into pesto!
Beets: Packed full of essential antioxidants, beets have a beautiful purple jewel-tone that can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. They’re easily turned into juice, pickled, roasted, or mixed with feta to make a delicious winter pasta.
Potatoes: For December, the heartier, larger potato varieties come into their own, having had all year to grow and develop. Look for Maris Piper, Nicola, and red potatoes – they are specifically planted to be enjoyed during the winter months. There are limitless possibilities when it comes to preparing potatoes. Enjoy them mashed, boiled, roasted, baked, au gratin, Lebanese-style, or smashed.
There’s a surprising collection of fruits in season in December – all of which provide essential Vitamin C to help protect you from winter colds.
Kiwi: Whether you’re brave enough to eat them with the skin on (they’re packed full of essential fiber!) or not, kiwi fruits are an antioxidant and Vitamin C powerhouse. Tart and sweet, you can enjoy these raw, as a juice, in a fruit salad, and more.
Citrus fruit: Oranges, clementines, and tangerines are a Christmas staple in many countries. And they are another Vitamin C highlight of December seasonal fruit. Try candying some in syrup as a homemade gift or use them to make some delicious orange chicken dinner.
Pomegranate: Pomegranate continues into December, meaning you can still enjoy its nutritious goodness throughout the holiday season. Plus, the seeds can last up to two months in the fridge, ready to top all your favorite dips and salads.
Get ready to start roasting on open fires and making vegetarian-friendly dishes – these two ingredients get their big debut in December.
Chestnuts: Traditionally roasted as a festive snack, chestnuts can be picked straight from the tree or bought in your local grocery store. You can easily incorporate them into stuffing. Or, you can mix them with mushrooms (for this delicious Wellington), lentils, parsnips, or sweet potatoes to elevate your side dishes.
Wild Mushrooms: Getting their name from how they grow, mushroom varieties like oyster, chanterelle, button, and porcini can be found wild. Whether you buy locally or go foraging yourself, mushrooms are a fantastic substitute for meat without losing texture or flavor. I like to use them in many recipes, especially during the holidays. They’re also perfect for making dumplings!
If you try any of these recipes for what to cook in December, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!