Vegetables In Season: February

A quick look around food blogs, Pinterest, and bakery window displays might lead one to believe that dark chocolate and marshmallows were in high season right now, and in a way, they are, peaking tomorrow in a blaze of sweetness. But what about the rest of the month? What is good eating in February?

In her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver called February ‘The Hungry Month’, and if you are living off the land, indeed it is. Most of us, however, have access to markets that carry a selection of good winter fruits and vegetables if you know what to look for.

Embracing cool-weather eating can take some adjustment, but it is better for the budget and for the environment, as you are buying what is local and in season. Of course, what is in season in February will vary with your location. For example, I’m in Eastern Canada and my sister is in South Texas. Produce that is cheap for me is often far pricier for her and vice versa.

Listed below is a broad range of beautiful vegetables that are available right now, as well as tips on how to prepare them. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to skip the peas and corn in the frozen section of the grocery store and pick up one of these seasonal vegetables instead.

Vegetables In Season: February

Brussels Sprouts

My kids have yet to see the light, but Danny and I adore these small, nutty members of the cabbage family. Brussels sprouts are wonderful roasted, shaved, or on their own as a filling, flavorful side dish.

For plenty of inspiration on how to prepare this cruciferous vegetable as well as glean some tips on buying and storing them, visit my spotlight post on the subject.

Cabbage

Last fall I argued that cabbage might be the best bargain out there and it still is extremely easy to come by. It also tastes just as great as it did in October, making it a prime candidate for winter eating.

Head over to my spotlight on cabbage for four easy tips on how to prepare this vegetable.

Winter Greens

Kale, Collards, Radicchio, Endive, and Chard are some of the greens that shine during the winter months. Take advantage of their amazingly unique flavors and textures by enjoying them raw or cooked.

Beets

In a recent Spotlight Ingredient post I professed my love of beets, and while you didn’t quite jump up and down with excitement, many of you vowed to try beets for the first time. Or at least prepared another way than pickled. I hope you did and that beets are making their way into your kitchen more frequently.

For cooking how-to and a round-up of beet recipes, head over to my spotlight on beets.

Photo by Shaina

Leeks

My refrigerator crisper is hardly ever without this docile member of the onion family. I add them to risotto, soups, vegetarian main dishes, and tarts, loving the mild, earthy flavor they contribute to dishes.

In another Spotlight Ingredient, you can find out how to store, clean, and serve the beautiful leek.

Winter Squash

Winter squash makes seasonal eating easy, thanks to their versatility and long-term storage benefits. Curious about how to select, store and serve winter squash? Here’s a complete guide, including a reference to the many varieties available.

Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Parsnip, Carrots, & Turnip

Okay, so perhaps it is unfair to lump these starchy root vegetables together, however, they are all readily available and affordable right now, and are a cinch to prepare. Roast them as home fries, bake them with maple, make soup, or mash them up with butter and salt. Now that’s February comfort food…

Keep these and other seasonal ingredients in mind when making your weekly menu plan. Don’t base your meals entirely on what sounds good, but consider what produce you know to be local and available.

Here are some more helpful posts on eating seasonally in winter:

What is in season right now in your area?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites.

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Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I often feel lost when it comes to knowing what’s in season AND how to cook. This has been very helpful!

  2. We are still knee deep in winter squash here in Maine. I am also enjoying potatoes, roasted, mashed, oven fries, yum! And I am glad you mentioned cabbage, I think I am going to go pick some up today and make spicy coleslaw, yum!
    Heather’s last post: homemade laundry soap recipe

    • Good idea! We love just simple roasted cabbage too, with plenty of fresh cracked pepper.

      Oven fries….Mmm.

      • I have been trying this year to eat more seasonally, not perfectly, but definitely better than in years before! I live in the southern US so I probably have a little more variety. We do have plenty of cabbage, as well as broccoli and asparagus.
        I recently discovered roasted cabbage too and it is one of our new favorites! I add seasonings based on the other dishes I am having such as balsamic vinegar, oregano and fresh basil if it is an Italian flair, or minced ginger and soy sauce if it is Asian!
        Bernice @ The Stressed Mom’s last post: Moms, stress, and matters of the heart

  3. My trouble is always using up the entire head of cabbage before it either goes bad or I am tired of it – those things expand like crazy!

  4. As much as I crave tomatoes, sour cherries, and summer corn, I love winter vegetables just as much. Hope this post turns others on to the beauty of a simply roasted root vegetable!
    Casey@Good. Food. Stories.’s last post: Unfolding the Story of the Heart-Shaped Box

  5. We’re also trying to encourage seasonal eating and cooking and just launched the all new seasonalpotluck.com where people can link up their seasonal recipes. We’re focusing on oranges for February, but hope to add more ingredients as we go, month by month, as we sort out all the kinks. My website partner lives in Chicago and I’m in San Diego, so we also run into the “in season here but not there” issue that we’ll for sure be discussing soon! You can find us on twitter @seasonalpotluck
    Betsy’s last post: SRC: Basil Lime Cookies

  6. We are focused on citrus here as well. But cabbage, butternut squash, brussel sprouts and potatoes have made there way to the table the past few weeks. My son chowed down on braised red cabbage the other day-I was utterly surprised!
    Melissa @ Baking For The Boys’s last post: A Birthday Tradition (Recipe: Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes)

  7. What a wonderful post! In our efforts this year to eat more intentionally & seasonally we are so much enjoying our journey in experimenting with new recipes and ideas for cooking with winter vegetables. Thank you for this post and more great ideas on ways to increase our ever growing list of dishes to try.

  8. Thanks goodness for winter greens and sweet potatoes – I love both. I have been encouraging my kids to eat more of the seasonal veggies, but they just aren’t fans of the winter ones – summer is no problem. I keep serving them – sooner or later they’ll see the light!

  9. I have to laugh because as much as I try to eat seasonally and local frozen corn is something I buy almost all winter long. Today I even bought frozen peas. Yes, I hang my head in shame.

    My squash stash is almost depleted and I can’t get local ones any more so I’m sad. But I can still get carrots, beets, parsnips, and green cabbage. Turnips and rutabaga too but honestly, we’re not fans. We have a great urban farm in town so salad greens and spinach are available year round. Such a decadence in Wisconsin but I don’t feel quite as guilty compared to the California kind.

    Fruit has been bothering me lately. Local apples ran out around Christmas so I’m buying ones from Washington and Oregon. Not to mention all those clementines about which I feel truly guilty. Ah well.

  10. Preaching to THIS choir, but a great post! You may have convinced me to go get some brussel sprouts… not my favourite, but perhaps they just need some loving experimentation1

  11. This made me remember that I forgot kale at the grocery store yesterday. Love the round-up!
    Shaina’s last post: Dark Chocolate Mousse and Cinnamon Meringue Pavlova Tarts

  12. This entire post just made me want to dive into a bowl of vegetable soup. Having a cold right now means hot soup is ALL I want.

  13. Thanks for the reminder that there are tons of great vegetables at the peak of their season, even in the middle of winter!
    Tracy’s last post: Golden Oreo Truffles

  14. Love this reminder of what to plan for from the winter market. I just came from a board meeting for a new farmer’s market in my town and I am so excited. The warm winter we are having is allowing the farmers to sprout seedlings early.
    Emily @ Random Recycling’s last post: Menu Plan Monday-Valentine Edition

  15. I think I’ve come to enjoy and savor winter vegetables because I have to. If I don’t try new things with root vegetables, they’ll become boring. There’s just not as much variety this time of year.

    We still have a long wait before we’ll see spring peas and asparagus but we can start dreaming about our spring visits to the farmer’s market. Can’t wait!
    Gina’s last post: Broccoli With A Tasty Twist

  16. Kale has been a mainstay in our house this winter. I just can’t resist the dark crisp leaves, and it keeps so well in the fridge.

  17. Very important post! Thanks for this one…
    Tinna’s last post: Best Muscle Building Protein – How To Build Muscle Fast

  18. We Southern Californians are lucky because so many fruits and vegetables are around much longer for us! I just cooked up a side of blanched cabbage and sweet potatoes are pretty much an all-year staple for us. And while I’ve had to say good-bye to some of my favorite fall fruits (persimmons, jujubes, sapote), we’re enjoying a wider variety of citrus, including Satsuma mandarin oranges (so easy to peel!).
    Sleeping Mama’s last post: How to get your chores done in double the time

  19. I love this post. I strongly advocate cooking with foods-in-season in my book, as I think it’s the secret to easy, tasty dishes. It’s nice to have the vegetables spelled out for reference, along with links to recipes. (And I love leeks!)
    Melinda Hinson Neely’s last post: Tom Darling: Weight Loss with the Ideal Protein Diet

  20. Great post, Aimee! Your passion for vegetables shine through – a passion I definitely share! Thanks for all the links and suggestions for putting something a little different on the table. I just picked up a Kabocha squash recently and was astounded at the depth of flavor – dark orange, smooth, almost caramel in its sweetness.

  21. I’m in the SF Bay Area, so eating seasonally has a completely different meaning around here. There have been strawberries and tender lettuces at our farmers’ market year-round since I started going a few years ago – unbelievable! But I do try to grab those winter-only veggies while I can, maybe to treat them like those precious summer fruits and veggies that only last for a little while. My new favorite this year has been cabbage and some winter squashes.

  22. This is a great article read! i really love eating vegetables. And i like all the healthy information you have shared with us here. Thanks for this wonderful post.
    karla’s last post: Happy New Year To All Of You And Hope You Like The Aquarium Fish Photos Here …

  23. Angela - Thrifty Homemaker says:

    I love lists like this, it gives you more ideas of what to search for during each month/season. I am sharing your link with my Thrifty Homemaker friends on facebook.

    Have a Great Day,
    Angela
    Angela – Thrifty Homemaker’s last post: Dandelion Salad – Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking

  24. Hi Aimee,

    I’ve recently taken up cooking in a big way and would like to make a winter stew for my girlfriend. The vegetables that are in season at the moment (squash, cabbage and the root vegetables like carrots, potatoes and turnips are perfect ingredients. I can even brag to her i’ve added a seasonal touch. She’ll love it that i’ve done my homework, especially as it will be my first attempt.

    Henry
    Henry’s last post: RS Lounge

  25. I am a vegetarian and I love eating different delicious and nutritious dish cook it way, I want to maintain my healthier body lifestyle to stay fit and strong…
    Brandon’s last post: Web Meeting

  26. Why are you using colors that people who have visual problems CAN’T SEE?? This is a place I WON’T Visit again I Can’t See ANything except for the Picturs.

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