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Posted in features, Food & Wine, HH LIFESTYLE

Winter Produce Guide

One of the benefits of living in Southern California is the easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables! And there are several Farmers Markets accessible to us here in Hidden Hills and Calabasas. Produce always tastes best when it’s eaten within its proper season. But because so much produce is available to us year-round, it can be hard to decipher what is in season and what isn’t. While there are a lot of fruits and vegetables that are in-season during winter, we’ve focused on the top four veggies and top four fruits. The following list includes produce that is in its peak season from January to March. Check out our winter produce shopping guide and tips for picking the best of each of one!

WHAT TO BUY

Veggies
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet Potatoes
Fruits
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Clementines (often known as Cuties)—Many people used Clementine & Mandarin oranges interchangeably but they are actually different. Clementines are a hybrid of mandarin and sweet oranges, and because they are a “sterile” fruit, they are seedless, making them a perfect snack.
  • Navel Oranges
  • Grapefruit

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN YOU SHOP

Beets—Firm, smooth skin with no soft spots or punctures. Stems & leaves still attached with fresh, green foliage at the top. NOTE: The greens are yummy so you can save them too!

Broccoli—Look for bright green tops with compact clusters of florets. Stocks should be firm, with fresh moist ends. Avoid yellowing tops unless using for stock.

Cauliflower—Similar to broccoli, florets (called curds) should be compact. Heads should be white or cream, free from blemishes, and have thick, fresh green leaves attached.

Sweet Potatoes—Sweet potatoes can be orange (often mistakenly called yams) or white. Skin should be firm, smooth and evenly toned. Small to medium sweet potatoes are sweeter and creamier. Deeper colored orange sweet potatoes are often richer in the antioxidant, beta-carotene.

Mandarin Oranges—Look for deep, rich color and firm skin. Skin should be free of cuts and soft spots.

Clementine Oranges (Cuties)—Look for soft, shiny skin with uniform orange color free from blemishes.

Navel Oranges—Color isn’t always the best indicator with navel oranges. Choose oranges based on their firmness to the touch and heavy for their size.

Grapefruit—Look for bright, even color without blemishes or soft spots. It should be relatively symmetrical and feel heavy based on their size.