Five Fab Budget-friendly Foods for Winter
Every year, our team schedules a field trip to the pumpkin patch as close as we can get to Halloween. Every other year it seems, the pumpkins are snowed under. And every time this happens, we all shake our heads in wonder, as if snow in October is outlandishly early. Yet at the same time, it's no surprise, obviously. This year, we measured a foot of snow on the back deck on Wednesday. Driving in to work was a mess, with no fewer than four frozen-leafed, snow-laden branches falling down immediately in front of, or on the hood of the Outback. We operated on generator power at school, and half the Kindergartners stayed home.
On Friday, we traipsed through the somewhat muddy paths of the pumpkin patch, breathing in the brisk air, and essentially very comfortable. Our guide said that the previous day, student groups had to dig their pumpkins out of the snow. We were lucky, really. It was a lovely day, and the brilliant oranges, greens and golds of the gourds were glorious against the snow.
With all it's splendor and bounty, fall is fleeting, and in volatile Colorado there's always the chance any day will resonate with the reminder that winter is coming. Here's a last chance to can your produce for stark months ahead, and to turn attention to ever present and wonderful grains and legumes. But winter doesn't have to be barren, the table lit up solely with holiday lights and decorations. Here are five fabulous foods that, being seasonally accessible, can hopefully work deliciously for both meal plans and your budget.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower come into their peak of flavor in early winter months. The cute little cabbage patch kids of the vegetable section, Brussels Sprouts are sometimes hard done by. This year, I'm making it a goal to discover fail safe means of preparing them so that Dave enjoys them, maybe even asking for them on occasion. Cruciferous vegetables have been receiving the spotlight in recent years from numerous studies revealing their cancer-protecting properties. Broccoli is particularly high in both vitamin K and A, in addition to many other great nutrients. This combination is uniquely suited to helping the body store vitamin D, in which research has been finding many are deficient.
Citrus fruits add bright notes to washed out wintry days, and contain great doses of immunity bolstering vitamin C to boot. A single orange supplies nearly double the daily value for vitamin C, the body's primary water-soluble antioxidant. Rich in healing phytonutrients, acid fruits are also noted for being detoxifying.
Loaded with powerful antioxidants, and rich in vitamins, potassium, folic acid and iron, pomegranates have risen to celebrity status in recent years. They are the jewels of winter,seeds gleaming like bright red treasures in winter salads and dishes. They're pretty enough to use as the table centerpiece. Throughout history, pomegranates have been associated with health, fertility, and life. It has even been suggested that Eve's temptation was not an apple, but in fact a pomegranate.
Winter Squash and Root Vegetables
I'm cheating a little for the sake of efficiency, putting these two broad categories together. But they really have so much in common, including the stretching range encompassed by the categories. Both are perfectly suited to the comfort food we all start to crave as our bodies settle into our own sort of hibernation phase. Delicious roasted or baked, many develop a sweet, caramel quality that as easily to dessert as a savory meal (eg pumpkin, butternut, sweet potato). Puree, mash, cute, toss in soups or chilis, these are winter staples to savor.