It’s still winter but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy seasonal food. In February, there are a variety of delicious and nutritious options available, including broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. Eating seasonally is a great way to support local agriculture, reduce your carbon footprint, and enjoy the freshest and most flavorful produce. This February Produce Guide will cover a range of fruits and vegetables that are in season.
This post is the 2nd in my Monthly Seasonal Produce Guides series.
For me, as a cook and a gardener, eating seasonally and eating local go hand in hand. The goal of eating seasonally is so that I can enjoy foods that are harvested as close to home as possible and that didn’t have to travel thousands of miles. This is why I am such a big proponent of homegrown food and edible gardening.
Much of the produce trucked from far away places is harvested early and forced to ripen before it hits your grocery store produce aisle. Another reason to seek out seasonal food? You’re supporting local farmers and that’s a good thing! So, what's in season this month?
Broccoli is a versatile and nutritious vegetable in the brassica family that is in season during the cooler months. It’s high in fiber and has a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and potassium.
It can be enjoyed raw, steamed, boiled, roasted, grilled, etc.
Love them or hate them, Brussels Sprouts are both delicious and nutritious when prepared right. Gone are the days of overboiled Brussels sprouts. I love to roast them, air-fry them or panfry them with butter. They can have a bitter taste, but it’s important to balance it out with other flavors.
Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable with a mild flavor that can be enjoyed in slaws, sautéed, or added to soups and stews. It is high in vitamin C and contains antioxidants. Generally speaking, the cabbage you will find in your stores this month will be a “storage” variety of cabbage. These are varieties bred specifically for long term storage. They hold up really well and stay rather firm for months.
Some of the funkier varieties (pointed or flat) are considered “market” varieties and will only be found at farmer’ markets during the growing season.
Carrots are a classic root vegetable that is in season in February (they are in season in January too). Crunchy and versatile, carrots can be enjoyed raw or cooked in a variety of dishes. They can be steamed, pan fried, roasted, shredded and deep fried, pickled, even used to make desserts like carrot cake and carrot halwa.
Cauliflower is another member of the cruciferous vegetable family that is in season in February. This white, slightly bitter vegetable is high in fiber and contains a variety of nutrients, including vitamin C and potassium. It can be steamed, fried, roasted, frilled, pureed, mashed, and turned into “rice”. I love air-frying it and slathering it with tahini sauce.
Kale and collard greens are all in season during the winter months (including March) as they are considered cool-weather crops that thrive when the temperatures are low. These vegetables are high in fiber and contain a variety of essential vitamins and minerals. Kale, in particular, is a nutritional powerhouse. Use it in salads, sauté it as a side dish, add it to smoothies for a boost of nutrients or chop it into a creamy winter coleslaw.
Leeks are a member of the onion family and have a mild and sweet flavor. They can be sliced and sautéed or added to soups and stews. They work well in pasta dishes and risotto. Leeks are high in vitamin K and contain antioxidants that can help improve bone health.
Onions are a staple in many dishes and come in a variety of colors and flavors. They are the base for many recipes. They can be caramelized and added to dishes for a sweet and savory flavor, roasted with other vegetables, pickled, etc. Onions are high in vitamin C and contain antioxidants.
Potatoes are a staple in many dishes and can be mashed, roasted, or fried. They are high in potassium and a good source of vitamin C.
Sweet potatoes are a nutritious and flavorful root vegetable that is in season in February. These starchy vegetables are high in vitamin A and contain a variety of other essential nutrients. They have a sweet, slightly earthy flavor and can be enjoyed cooked or raw.
I’ll admit, I’m not a big fan of sweet potatoes. Maybe I need to try some new recipes. Drop a comment below and let me know if you have any great recipes to share!
Other seasonal produce to look for in February includes winter squash. This includes varieties like acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash. Winter squash has a sweet and nutty flavor and can be roasted or added to soups and stews.
Oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, and lemons are all at their peak during the winter months. I included them in the January Produce guide, and they are still in season in February. These fruits are high in vitamin C and can help to boost the immune system during cold and flu season. Use them to add flavor to salads, marinades, and dressings, or enjoy them on their own as a snack.
A note on citrus: I’m making an exception about citrus and including it in this list, despite the fact that it doesn’t grow in most parts of North America. The citrus we see in the northern states and Canada is transported north from Florida, California and other locations. Since we can’t grow citrus in the north, we have to depend on our southern farmer friends.
I created a handy graphic for you here. Go ahead and Pin it so you can refer to it again and again.
Seasonal food is very regionally specific. Something might be in season in California and not in season in New York. For example, strawberries are in season in California year-round. In New York, Ontario, and other parts of the North East, local strawberries will be in season in June and July.
The best way to know your food is in season? Shop at local farmers’ markets and ask questions. Look at the grocery store labels and tags.
Cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussels sprouts and collard greens) as well as many root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and onions). Citrus fruit is also in season in February (oranges, tangerines, blood oranges). Winter squashes like butternut and acorn are also in season.