6 Of Winter's Tastiest Crops For Your Dinner Table

Don't limit yourself to just beets!

November 22, 2017
winter salad with persimmons and radicchio
vanillaechoes/getty

Many people think of root vegetables this time of year and not much more, but a cornucopia of vivacious ingredients—all terrific in salads—come into their own at the height of the cold.

(Brag your love of gardening with the Organic Life 2018 Wall Calendar, featuring gorgeous photographs, cooking tips and recipes, plus how to eat more—and waste less—of what's in season.)

When most of the fair-weather farmers' market stands have shut down for the season, the last few remaining die-hard farmers will surely have these winter favorites available:

radicchio
Bodo A. Schieren/getty
1
Chicories

Chicories—endive, radicchio, and escarole—are a hearty cold-weather crop that brings bitter balance and satisfying crunch to salads. Pair them with sliced pears or apples and a balsamic vinaigrette. Even better: Warm the dressing and add on blue cheese, toasted nuts, or crumbled bacon.

Related: 5 Really Easy Greens That You Can Grow Inside This Winter

cabbage
Creativ Studio Heinemann/getty
2
Cabbage

Cabbage is an endlessly adaptable winter vegetable. Try an Asian-style treatment: Finely shred and toss it with scallions and cilantro, sesame oil, rice vinegar, and toasted sesame seeds.

Check out this quick and easy recipe for sauteed leafy greens:

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persimmons
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3
Persimmons

Persimmons, a fall and winter fruit, lend salads a floral flavor. For astringent types, like Hachiya and Cinnamon, let the flesh ripen until it’s meltingly soft, then purée it to add sweetness to dressings. Fuyu and other non-astringent kinds can be sliced when firm to toss with herbs and lettuce.

Related: 7 Unique Winter Fruits You Probably Aren't Eating But Totally Should

kale
Erickson Photography/getty
4
Kale

Kale sweetens after a frost, when its cell walls break down to produce sugars. Chiffonade leaves, then toss with fresh lemon juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and shaved pecorino cheese for an airy salad.

Related: 10 Tips For Growing Kale

fennel
Claudia Uribe/getty
5
Fennel

Fennel’s anise-flavored root bulb (abetted by its feathery fronds as garnish) is a flavorful canvas for the season’s roasted beets, creamy cheeses, or citrus wedges.

Related: Celery Root and Fennel Latkes with Fennel-Pear Relish

 
 
lemon
PHILLIP HAYSON/getty
6
Citrus

Citrus of all kinds ripens in subtropical climates this time of year. Their zest and juice bring zip to dressings. Supremed orange and grapefruit segments, the flesh cut free of the tough membrane, add a burst of flavor to salads.

Related: 7 New Ways To Use Oranges This Winter