Fruits and vegetables: What’s in season?

Bargains can be found by looking for the fruits and vegetables that are most plentiful this time of year.

Snow and cold weather don’t seem to equate to bargains in the produce department at the grocery store. However, you can still find a good deal if you know what produce is in season in other parts of the world and what produce is still plentiful from the fall harvest.

Fruits most plentiful in the winter include: apples, avocados, bananas, grapefruit, lemons, limes, mangoes, oranges, pears, pineapples, and tangerines.

Seasonal vegetables for winter months include: broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, mushrooms, potatoes, spinach, tangerines, turnips, and winter squash.

Purchase only the amount your household can consume before they spoil. Fresh fruits and vegetables are never a bargain if you can’t eat them all before they start to spoil. Look for produce that is free from unusual odors or colors and signs of spoilage such as mold.

Produce such as apples, grapefruit, oranges and potatoes keep longer than others if they are stored properly. Some fruits an and vegetables taste best when stored at room temperature including bananas, onions, potatoes, and winter squash. Most other fruits and vegetables are best kept in a clean refrigerator at a temperature of 40 degrees F or lower. Store fruits separate from vegetables in a refrigerator crisper drawer. Fruits give off ethylene gas which can shorten the storage life of vegetables.

Fruits and vegetables differ in their nutrient content so it is very important to eat a variety. A good way to remember this is to eat a rainbow of colors to get a variety of nutrients. For example, try red apples, orange carrots, yellow squash, green lettuce, blueberries, and purple cabbage. Remember to eat in season and in color for a healthy bargain.

Visit the Produce for Better Health Foundation for a comprehensive list of fruits and vegetables available during the winter along with other great tips for increasing fruits and vegetables in your diet.

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