Guest post was written by Helen Sanders (Author Bio after the article)
With the end of winter soon approaching, it’s the perfect time to make the best of the amazing seasonal vegetables still available.
Our Paleo ancestors ate the food that was in season and nothing more. However, nowadays most food can be bought out of season, which although convenient, has been found to be less nutritious (source).
So before spring arrives, let’s have a look at 5 tasty vegetables to enjoy before winter is over!
1.) Brussel Sprouts
Harvested from September through till late February, Brussel sprouts with their miniature cabbage appearance and distinctive taste are a fantastic addition to any meal.
My father used to say that sprouts tasted better after the first frost of the year, and it appears that this is true! Vegetables produce sugars when exposed to cold and this provides Brussels with a sweeter taste! (source).
They are also a good source of protein and iron are full of Vitamin C (source).
New Ways to Enjoy: Try crispy garlic sprouts as a light meal on their own. Cut the sprouts in half, fry over a medium heat until the edges are browned, then transfer to a baking tray. Sprinkle with crushed garlic and roast for 25 minutes.
The pumpkin (or winter squash) stands out as a symbol of winter with its popular use as a jack-o’-lantern at Halloween. Grown between October and February, they are one of the best-known sources of beta-carotene (source) an antioxidant which may help in preventing cancer (source).
Sometimes its versatility is overlooked and just cooked as a soup or a pumpkin pie, but it can be more exciting than that!
New Ways to Enjoy: Most Paleo diets do not include potatoes, so use the Pumpkin to make spicy fries! Peel and seed the pumpkin and cut into fries. Pop in the oven on a baking tray at 400 degrees sprinkle on a little Sriracha for spiciness and roast for 30/35 minutes.
Although leeks can continue into early March, they are at their best between November and February. They are the same family as onions and garlic, but with their own mild distinctive flavour.
They contain high levels of Vitamin K which helps strengthen bones and promote a healthy heart.
Often, only the bottom white stem is enjoyed and the rest rejected, but this is a waste! Instead finely chop the green leaves to create a perfect light seasoning to sprinkle over your meals, somewhat similar to a spring onion taste.
New Ways to Enjoy: Add sliced leek (including the leaves!) to an omelette and season to taste. It provides a gentle yet satisfying edge to the meal instead of an overpowering onion.
The humble turnip is often overlooked by its much more glamorous cousins the carrot and the radish. But it is a beautiful winter vegetable available October through to late February. As long as you are not restricting your carbohydrate intake, it can form an excellent part of a Paleo diet.
One possible reason behind its lack of popularity is that some people, through a genetic inheritance, find them incredibly bitter. The turnip contains chemicals which react with a gene in the human body which makes those with the gene find them utterly disgusting! (source)
Its bulb root is high in Vitamin C and the leaves in Vitamin A. So no part of the turnip should be discarded!
New Ways to Enjoy: As a Paleo alternative to a roast potato side, peel and quarter the turnips and boil in a saucepan for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and roast in the oven for further 20 minutes with a little salt. Dress with finely cut and lightly boiled turnip leaves.
Kale is a member of the cabbage family, but whilst the cabbage is available throughout most of the year, Kale is usually at it’s best between late October and the first week of March. For people wanting historical accuracy, Kale is thought to be the closest vegetable variety to the original wild cabbage! (source).
It is extremely rich in vitamins, however, care must be taken as all of the nutrients are drastically reduced during boiling, except for Vitamin K (source).
New Ways to Enjoy: To preserve most of the natural benefits of kale, instead of boiling, stir fry for just 5 minutes on a high heat with a little garlic and chili for a delicious accompaniment or light meal.
Although it may be cold and miserable outside and everyone is looking forward to the approach of Spring, don’t waste the opportunity to enjoy these 5 tasty Winter vegetables before it is too late! They are healthy, in season and it will be a few months yet until they are available again!
Helen Sanders is chief editor at HealthAmbition.com. Established in 2012, Health Ambition has grown rapidly in recent years. Our goal is to provide easy-to-understand health and nutrition advice that makes a real impact. We pride ourselves on making sure our actionable advice can be followed by regular people with busy lives.