Ah, fall. The changing colors of the leaves, that fresh snap of coolness, those first cozy nights under the blankets in front of a glowing television—it makes for such an atmosphere. The only problem is that, if you’ve reached October without putting some veggies in the ground, say a month or two before, your homegrown veggies may be wearing thin, and you’ve definitely procrastinated a bit too long for fresh plantings. The likes of homegrown pumpkins, squash, peas (and oh, the soups!) have drifted away like powdery snow. Those veggies classically thought of as fall vegetables are typically planted in August and September. However, fear not as there are still some farmer’s market possibilities out there for you, and the pickings are packed with vitamins, minerals and nutrients that are sure to help keep you healthy through the winter. So, get yourself to the farmer’s market ASAP before they’re all gone!
Kohlrabi, a funky brand of cabbage, is fast growing—just a few weeks, and you can eat the leaves as they come. But, the other point of growing kohlrabi is the stem, which has turnip-like flavor. It’s a good source of Vitamin C, to ward of those wintertime sniffles, and it also brings B-vitamins and plenty of minerals to the table. Try this amazing Raw Carrot Sushi made with kohlrabi.
2. Collard Greens
Collards, or collard greens, are mostly associated with the Deep South (my old stopping grounds), and there they typically come cooked to smithereens. However, they actually dig cold weather, and the leaves are good to eat when crunchy and fresh. Often pitted up against kale, collard greens provide a good dose of vitamin K, A and C, as well as manganese and calcium, to name but a few. Try 5 Flavorful Ways to Cook Collard Greens for many ideas you’ll love.
Kale is another green that doesn’t just wilt away when the frost comes. In fact, kale doesn’t taste its best until a little frost has come. It can withstand temperatures below freezing and has loads of calcium, Vitamin C, and even Omega-3 fats. Kale is a big-timer on the nutrition circuit, a must eat. We have all kinds of vegan kale recipes to choose from.
Chard also works well in the cold and has nutritional benefits that offer a nice sense of balance to the body. The leaves can be harvested as they grow and actually work better with regular pruning. It’s full of vitamins and minerals, akin to spinach, as well as boasts anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and detoxification properties. We’ve got all kinds of Swiss chard recipes you’ll enjoy to beat the winter sniffles and blues away all in one!
Radishes, burrowed down in the soil, are not afraid of a chilly late autumn day, and they are perfect for crisping up salads in no time. Radishes are a flavor sensation and are good for a bit of vitamin C and fiber, as well as unsung medicinal properties. Don’t forget that the greens are also edible! For an interesting, tasty way to use radishes, try Indian Radish Pickle.
Turnips are another great root veg, underutilized but delish, and they add yet more edible greens for the wintry menu. They can even be grown year-round in the lowest parts of the United States. Turnips (the roots) roast into fantastic fare, and turnip greens often make an appearance on superfood lists due to their high amounts of Vitamin C. Make these Turnips with Caramelized Onions and Toasted Lentils for a yummy way to enjoy a seemingly bland vegetable that’s brimming with flavor once cooked.
Well, hopefully, this will help you keep in fresh produce well into the start of winter, and there is no doubt these veggies provide a potent collection of cold and flu-fighting nutrients. So, stay warm, eat well and get what fresh, local produce you can while you can. See Mother Nature Network for their endless wealth of information, some of which helped to compile this abbreviated list of late-fall/early-winter vegetables.
Image Source: Paul Asman and Jill Lenoble/Flickr