Wintertime is here. But even with the shorter days and colder weather, there’s still plenty of seasonal cheer to be had in the kitchen. And not just because Christmas is one of the culinary highlights of the year!
From festive classics like Brussels sprouts, parsnips and red cabbage to firm favourites like cauliflowers, leeks and swedes, you’ll find the best of British seasonal produce at The Co-operative Food stores across the UK. They’re at their peak for flavour and freshness over winter – and here’s how to make the most of them.
Brussels sprouts, red cabbage, parsnips and cauliflower are in their prime in December. Sprouts (simply boiled and served with a knob of butter) and parsnips (best roasted or as a mash) are a firm favourite at the Christmas dinner table.
Red cabbage (try it braised with apples and cinnamon) also makes a great festive side dish. Cauliflower is perfect baked in a creamy cheese sauce for a winter warmer, or try turning it into a lightly spiced soup, by blitzing it with a hand blender and adding nutmeg and a little black pepper. Need some more inspiration? Here are a couple of great December recipes to try…
Sprout, courgette and leek bake in a stilton and cranberry sauce>
Did you know...? We grow our own shallots on our farms in Coldham, Cambridgeshire
After the excesses of Christmas, January can feel like a long month. But with a little imagination in the kitchen you can beat the blues. Swede, turnips, cabbage and shallots are great for eating in January.
Swede is a perfect filler for stews or soups. Turnips (or neeps as they say in Scotland!) are a must to go with haggis and potatoes if you’re planning on a Burns supper, while cabbage and shallots are great fried up in a side dish.
Crispy potato and parsnip bake>
Hearty winter broth>
February is winter’s swansong before spring rears its head in March (well, in theory at least!). Most of the veg that are great to eat in December and January are still good for enjoying in February – but it’s now that rhubarb and leeks are at their peak.
There’s something quintessentially British about rhubarb. Take a trip to the ‘Rhubarb Triangle’ between Wakefield, Morley and Rothwell in West Yorkshire which is the centre of UK rhubarb farming and you’ll see why! It’s such a unique and memorable flavour, and totally versatile as an ingredient.
Similarly, leeks need no introduction. They are a brilliantly versatile – not to mention tasty – winter ingredient. Whether cooked as a soup or bake, or simply parboiled and lightly fried with some chopped garlic and butter, they can make a wonderful addition to any winter feast.
Rhubarb and apple nutty crumble>
Sausages with leek, mash and red onion gravy>
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