Produce Guide: December

Here’s some help as to what is in season, which is always reasonable priced and how to select it!


The pomegranate tree is native from Iran to the Himalayas in northern India and has been cultivated since ancient times throughout the Mediterranean region of Asia, Africa and Europe.

Times of India reports that pomegranate is one of the healthiest fruits on earth and is called the divine fruit because it is the most mentioned fruit in theological books.

This fruit is worth your research to assist in improving your health as they are well known as a valuable superfood!

Only available in the fall through January, be sure and incorporate them into your meal planning while you can.

What to look for:  Deeply colored red fruits that feel heavy for their size. Avoid fruits that have any soft spots or cracks

How to store:  Store in an airtight plastic bag in the refrigerator and this will preserve them for a month or more.


Pears are such a wonderful cool weather fruit! They only become more delicious as they age and ripen!

Many grocery stores only carry a handful of pear varieties, but they are wonderful to be used as they are, caramelized, poached, roasted, in a pie… YUMMMM!!

Choose slightly, underripe pears for cooking such as Bosc or Anjou, as they hold their shape quite well.

Do not overlook Asian Pears, that resemble tiny pretty apples. They ripen on the tree and should be used soon after purchase. They are not a hybrid or cross, but an actual true pear.  Crisp and slightly sweet, they are delicious as a hand held snack, used in salads or desserts.

What to look for:  Firm with little to no blemishes and leave out on the counter to ripen. Pears ripen from the inside out, so check the stem area for ripeness. Once completely ripe, refrigerate and eat within a few days.

If you are looking for an eat right now pear, go for a very fragrant, slightly unpretty pear.


A larger cousin to the radish, a turnip has a similar flavor is eaten raw.  They come in many different varieties, sizes and colors, but whichever you choose, they offer a good amount of vitamin C, which is always in high demand during the colder months when turnips are available.

They are great raw, shredded, added to salads and slaws. Prepared like mashed potatoes, but my favorite is roasted. I feel like it’s such a gorgeous win to roast root vegetables with fresh garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.

They also do very well in pureed soups, cubed for stews and don’t forget to use their tops! They can be added into all the above towards the end of cooking or sauteed, creamed… use your imagination!

What to look for:  Choose firm, unwrinkled vegetables with the root and top ends intact. Avoid vegetables with soft spots unless they are marked down, then nab them up! Those soft spots will cut away and you should use them immediately!

How to store:  I find that they do fine in a wire basket on a shelf, but I am in a very dry climate. They do great if you remove an green tops, put in an airtight plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for a few weeks.  I never have produce that long, so just get to cooking!


Such a delicious, humble vegetable. Very underrated in my opinion. Rutabaga is a cross between a turnip and a wild cabbage. I’ve never seen wild cabbage, but I have to believe that it’s a very convenient thing to be growing in your area. A beautiful balance between peppery and nutty-sweet, this vegetable compliments any roasted meat! Sounds like a good fit for those roasted Sunday meals!

Mashed like potatoes, roasted, fried, baked into a gratin or used in soups, stews, this vegetable won’t let you down.

What to look for:  Choose firm, unwrinkled vegetables with the root and top ends intact. Avoid vegetables with soft spots unless they are marked down, then nab them up! Those soft spots will cut away and you should use them immediately!

How to store:  I find that they do fine in a wire basket on a shelf, but I am in a very dry climate. They do great if you remove an green tops, put in an airtight plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for a few weeks.  I never have produce that long, so just get to cooking!


This is such an overlooked green, primarily because most folks don’t know what it is or assume it’s a lettuce. ITS NOT!

An Italian gem, this leafy green is in the chicory family. It does resemble a leafy lettuce, but the leaves are thicker with a paler heart and a lot more flavor.  As a type of endive, it has a slight peppery, bittersweet flavor when eaten raw in salads, but when it’s cooked, it has a mild, sweet and buttery flavor. High in Vitamin A or folate, it’s also a great source of fiber.

Use escarole in sautes, sauces, soups, pastas… there is no end to possibilities.

What to look for: A head of escarole looks like curly lettuce, and can be as small as a softball or as large as a soccer ball.

Choose firmly packed heads with unblemished leaves.

How to store: Wrap escarole in paper towels and store in an unsealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to four days.


Cabbages are the heroes in cold weather crops. They are hardy, long storing, available everywhere and inexpensive to buy. Not to mention the variety of ways they are used.

Don’t forget to go beyond the everyday green and red varieties and try Savoy, Napa and more!

What to look for:  a good, firm head of cabbage with no cracks, splits or soft spots. If there are outer leaves on it, just feel around the outside for firmness. The outer leaves protect the cabbage, so I don’t mind them so much and my goat appreciates them!

How to store:  I like to buy several heads at a time, so I just put them in the drawer in the refrigerator. They store for a month or so. If you leave the head in a bag, leave the bag open.

#turnips #cabbage #escarole #pomegranates #rutabaga #pears #rootvegetables #December #DecemberProduceGuide

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