Seasonal Ingredients: Winter

My wrist is mostly healed! So now writing in this blog won’t require a hand brace. It’s good to be back!

It is now December, and the first snows are coming in and reminding us all that, although the official start of winter is still twelve days away, the seasons are in transition…and so should be our pantries!

When researching the local, seasonal ingredients that Massachusetts offers in the winter, I was quite disheartened. While I certainly never imagined that our frozen, snow-covered winter grounds would produce a bounty of colorful produce, I have had also never imagined how people would get along without the supermarket.

During the summer, I puffed with pride at the success of my tomato and basil plants and revelled at this small step towards independence from the modern food industry. Even in the cool fall months my garden managed to squeeze of several juicy, albeit small, tomatoes and even a few juicy green peppers.

But now all that is over. My garden plot has been frozen over for a few weeks and is now dusted with a light coating of fresh snow. What would I do without the giant supermarket down the street? What did people do before the giant supermarket (or even the small ones) existed? The answer is pretty simple, actually: They ate preserved food. Using picking and canning and burying people who lived in cold climates had to stretch their fall harvest. A lot of meat and potatoes and cheeses, and perhaps some winter greens as well. But in this day and age, with modern agriculture and refrigeration…i is very easy to reach for those brightly colored imported fruits and flash frozen vegetables grown on the other side of the country, or even the planet.

In an effort to live more naturally, despite the fact that I know I will probably give in to bananas from Mexico or tomatoes from California, I will try my hardest to stick to these winter ingredients. Whether or not I will be able to find them local is a different story. But by enjoying these hearty vegetables, I will hopefully be able to harness of their resilience to cold and make it through yet another brutal New England winter!




Broccoli Rabe

Brussels Sprouts












Sweet Potatoes


Winter Squash

*Items in Italics represents “preserved” items that people who lived here without refrigeration would likely have been able to hold onto through the cold months.

Here again is that handy link so you can find what grows best in your area this time of year.
Seasonal Ingredient Map US: