Eating fruit and vegetables can be really easy in the summer months; throw a few berries into a blender, add sweet fruits to ice cream or create a fresh salad. When the short days and cold nights start to roll in, we think of fresh fallen snow, hot chocolate and cosy nights by the fire: fresh produce doesn't really come to mind.
However, this doesn't mean that it’s impossible to eat seasonably during winter. December, January and February don’t have to be about onions and potatoes, there's a wide-range of delicious fruit and vegetables filled with both nutrients and flavour that can last you all the way through until spring.
Apples - when it comes to winter, apples come in two different categories; cooking and eating.
Eating apples can be eaten on their own and are especially good when paired with cheese or honey. They are also the significant ingredient in one of winter's best loved treats - the toffee apple.
Baking apples can be used to make a variety of different dishes. Savoury dishes can include Gruyère apple tarts, apple cobbler or add apples to a pork roast. Alternatively, try out sweet dishes such as apple flavoured French toast or apple-cider doughnuts.
Pears - pears often come second place to the more popular apple, but there are tonnes of recipes to keep your tastebuds entertained throughout winter. Pairing pears with blue cheese and prosciutto ham is a well-known classic for a reason; it’s a delicious combination and only takes about 10 minutes to prepare!
For the more adventurous of us out there, a normal grilled cheese sandwich can be brought to life with some crispy bacon, slices of pear and a bit of jam (trust us on this).
Cranberries - cranberries are a great fruit to eat in winter. Not only are they packed full of vitamin C, but their sour taste works brilliantly in both sweet and savoury dishes. As well as lining a perfect roast dinner, they can be used in muffins, scones and cakes.
Butternut squash - with squash, the recipe possibilities are endless – from soups and stews to mousses and cakes – squash can be the base for so many amazing meals.
A butternut squash and barley risotto is the perfect food to help warm you up on a cold winter's night, and can be batch cooked for lunches as well. Bacon, egg and butternut squash, with added avocado and chilli, is an amazing breakfast on its own, and can be wrapped into a burrito if you’re on the go.
Brussel Sprouts - This winter vegetable has a bad reputation, which we think is unfair. With the right glaze, brussel sprouts can be absolutely delicious. For sweetness, you could try honey and dried fruit, or maple syrup and brown sugar. For something a little more daring, why not try balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard or blue cheese?
Sprouts can also be added to stirfrys to mix up the usual taste and add further vitamins and minerals to the meal; you can even saute them in butter and cream for an indulgent treat.
Leeks - Leeks are very versatile. They can work in soups, as a side, in pasta, in pies and even in muffins.
Leeks work amazingly when teamed with salmon in pastry parcels. If you’re not up for attempting your own filo pastry yet, you can buy it pre-made and fill it with your ingredients for a quick and delicious meal (that looks very impressive!).
Cheese and bacon both pair extremely well with leeks, and when tossed together with pasta, they can create a creamy and comforting meal.
Even stuffing jacket potatoes with leeks, parsley and soft cheese is a great winter meal, and a delicious way to get one of your five-a-day.
All the more reason to eat in season
Why not take a look at our handy infographic that details what food is in season when? You can easily print it out and stick it up in your kitchen, take it to the supermarket with you or pass it on to your friends.