10 Cheap Seasonal Superfoods For Improved Health

Are the short winters days getting you down? Does the chill in the air making you want to crawl back under the blankets? Then keep reading!

Check out these ten seasonal superfoods that will help lighten your mood and put a spring back int your step, even before the snow melts!

Pie Pumpkin

There’s a lot more on their resume than just jack-o-lantern grins or grimaces. Pumpkins are rich in beta-carotene, linked to a reduced risk of death from certain cancers in independent studies, and they contribute to heart health. Pumpkins are high in fiber, low in calories, sodium, and fat. And toasted pumpkin seeds are just packed with iron and magnesium.

Parsnips

Sure, they resemble carrots, but parsnips’ sweeter, nuttier flavor is unequaled in Bugs Bunny’s favorite snack. An excellent add-in to rice and potatoes, pureed into sauces and soups, or drizzled with olive oil and roasted in the oven, parsnips are rich in potassium and very high in fiber.

Butternut & other ‘Winter’ Squash

One of the healthiest foods around is the often overlooked butternut squash. Similar in health benefits to pumpkin, butternut squash is beneficial for strengthening the immune system and treating cancer thanks to its high vitamin C content. It’s also great for improving skin elasticity, helping us maintain our youthfulness as we age. Can’t find butternut at your local grocer? Look for Acorn, Hubbard, Turban, or any of the winter season squashes.

Brussels Sprouts

Don’t scrunch up your face when these little ones find their way onto your plate. Brussels sprouts mild, slightly bitter taste is the perfect complement to savory and tangy sauces (think balsamic vinegar), and they deliver valuable amounts of folate, vitamin K, and iron. They help the body detoxify and prevent painful inflammation.

Kale

Yummy kale contains lutein, responsible for protecting your vision against cataracts and macular degeneration. Along with beta-carotene, kale is also high in vitamin E, folate, calcium, and magnesium, essential for keeping bones strong, and muscle cells healthy.

Ginger

Ginger Root is a must for autumn dishes. Increasing circulation and lowering blood pressure has never been so easy, or tasted so good. Many people also find ginger helpful in the treatment of migraines and arthritis. It’s also an excellent, natural cure for indigestion and nausea, including bouts of morning sickness.

Peppers

Bell peppers, especially red peppers, are ideal sources of vitamin C; just one pepper contains as much as three oranges! And the capsaicin in bell peppers helps control diabetes, eases inflammation, relieves pain, and reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol.

Apples

Raw or baked, tart or sweet, apples are one superfood everyone should be eating daily. Apples have been shown to help stave off Alzheimer’s, protect against Parkinson’s disease, prevent gallstones, promote colon health, neutralize irritable bowel syndrome, boost your immune system, and prevent cataracts.

Pomegranates (aka Winter Jewels)

Legend has it that Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, planted the very first pomegranate tree in Cyprus. So it should be no wonder that pomegranates are linked to increased blood flow that improves overall sexual potency.

Tomatoes

Okay – not true winter produce, but tomatoes can grow amazingly well indoors. Small tomato plants can thrive in sunrooms or other sunny parts of your home.

Rich in lycopene, Tomatoes are linked to a reduced risk of prostate, lung, and breast cancers in studies. They also have positive effects on heart health, lessening the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases. And since cooking helps to activate lycopene, autumn is the perfect time to get a big pot of your favorite pasta sauce simmering for a warm, healthy evening meal. (Throw in some red peppers for additional benefits!)

Winter Harvest: Rutabagas and Celeriac (Celery Root)

When it comes to winter vegetables, you might think that options are limited. But the truth is, winter is an ideal time to feast on some of the season’s cream of the crop. Squash, potatoes, cabbage, apples, pears, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, garlic, celeriac,,…the list of late winter treasures is seemingly endless.

So as you’re planning your cold weather meals, don’t overlook your local winter harvest. 

Rediscovering The Rutabaga

Whether you call it a swede or a rutabaga it’s one of best winter’s food treat

Rutabagas get a bad rap. They are often mistaken for similar-looking turnips, and shoppers reach past them to grab brightly coloured squashes. But this purple-topped turnip-cabbage hybrid adds a ton of flavour to any meal.

Rutabagas, or ‘Swedish Turnips,’ are smooth, round, and boast a purple crown and a cream-coloured bottom. The flesh of the rutabaga is butter-yellow and far sweeter than their turnip doppelgangers.  They have a low water content, which makes them perfect for roasting and mashing. And they hold up beautifully in soups and stews. But, that’s not their only claim to fame; Rutabagas are a crunchy treat served raw in salads or coleslaw.

Rutabagas are bursting with Vitamin C (great for keeping the flu away). They’re rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium and are an excellent source of naturally occurring fibres. 

Celebrating Celeriac (Celery Root)

Image by Hans Braxmeier

No one ever called celeriac pretty, but what this gnarly knob lacks in physical appearance it makes up for in taste! 

Pare off the rough exterior on celeriac to find a crunchy, ivory coloured flesh that will add delicate flavour, enhancing your winter dishes all season long. 

Celeriac is a mix of celery and parsley and can be eaten raw or cooked. Choose small, firm bulbs heavy for their size and pop them into the refrigerator where they’ll stay fresh for up to 10 days. 

Celeriac takes very little effort to prepare. Simply trim off the outer layer (skin) and root, then cut into small slices or chunks to roast. Celeriac tastes great boiled (in the same pot) and mashed up with Superior, Envol, Yukon Gold, or Fabula potatoes. Cut Celeriac into cubes and toss into casseroles, stews, soups, or add to the pan of your holiday pot roast. You can also shave or grate Celeriac directly into a salad for an unexpected burst of freshness.

It can be tempting to head to the freezer section of your local grocer for veggies when the temperature begins to fall. But with a winter harvest ripe for the picking, you can still enjoy fresh farm produce all winter long.