December Seasonal Produce Guide

December Produce Guide

Seasonal produce is cheaper, fresher, more nutritional, and eco-friendly because it doesn’t have to travel as far.

Winter is just around the corner. What is in season in December? Produce peaks at different times throughout the US so there will be some variances. But here is a general guide.

Every month I will be sharing a produce guide with seasonal recipe suggestions. Check out my December seasonal produce guide below for more information on how to choose, store and prepare each ingredient

December Seasonal Produce Guide

Broccoli
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Broccoli

Broccoli is part of the cabbage family and is a good source of vitamin C and vitamin K.

Buying

Choose broccoli that has closed florets and deep green color. Avoid broccoli with yellowing or that is soft.

Storing

Refrigerated broccoli will keep for up to five days.

Preparing

Wash and then cut into appropriately sized pieces. All but the very end of the stock can be used.

Recipes

Garlic Parmesan Roasted BroccoliDamn Delicious
Easy Beef and BroccoliJust a Taste

Brussel Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are delicious and can be boiled, steamed, sauteed, grilled, roasted, and even fried. They are even great when served raw and shredded into a slaw. They are part of the cabbage family and are most commonly green but there are a few varieties that are purple in color. They are high in vitamin C and vitamin K.

Buying

If possible choose brussels sprouts that are still on the stalk. Look for brussels sprouts with bright, firm, and compact heads.

Storing

Brussels sprouts can be refrigerated in a plastic bag for up to a week.

Preparing

Remove brussels sprouts from the stalk and cut off the stem. You can also remove any of the loose outer leaves.

Recipes

Oven Roasted Parmesan Brussels SproutsTogether as Family
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Quinoa and CranberriesThug Kitchen

Cabbage
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Cabbage

Cabbage can be dark green, purple, white, or light green. Cabbage is a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and fiber.

Buying

Look for cabbage that is compact with blemish-free leaves. Avoid cabbages that are light for their size.

Storing

Cabbage can be refrigerated for up to seven days. Once cut cabbage should be stored in an airtight container.

Preparing

Remove the outer leaves and then slice into pieces. Wash under running water and remove the core.

Recipes

Easy Fried CabbageThe Stay at Home Chef
Easy Chicken and Cabbage Stir FrySalt & Lavender

Cauliflower
Photo by Jennifer Schmidt on Unsplash

Cauliflower

Cauliflower is super popular right now. Masquerading as a pizza crust, mashed potatoes, and rice. Cauliflower comes in several varieties including white, orange, green, and purple. Cauliflower can be roasted, grilled, boiled, fried, steamed, pickled, or eaten raw. It is high in vitamin C and vitamin K.

Buying

Look for cauliflower that is compact with firmly attached bright green leaves. Avoid cauliflower with brown spots or spread out sections.

Storing

Cauliflower can be refrigerated for up to five days.

Preparing

Wash cauliflower just before use. Remove the outer leaves, stem, and core. Then break or cut it into smaller pieces. Reusable Block

Recipes

Mexican Street Style Grilled CauliflowerTales of a Texas Granola Girl
Cauliflower CasseroleHealthy Recipes

Grapefruit
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a citrus fruit known for its sour to semi-sweet flavor. Grapefruit can have red, white or pink flesh. Grapefruit is high in vitamin C and fiber.

Buying

Grapefruits should have skin that is thin, smooth, firm, and blemish-free. Grapefruits should also be heavy for their size.

Storing

Grapefruits can be stored at room temperature for up to a week or in the refrigerator for two to three weeks.

Preparing

Grapefruits can be peeled and sectioned by hand. Using a knife you can also prepare skinless grapefruit segments. With a sharp knife, cut off the top and the bottom of the grapefruit and cut away the remaining peel and white pith. Next, either slice the fruit or cut along either side of each segment to release it. If you need the zest, grate it before peeling the fruit.

Recipes

Grapefruit Greek Yogurt CakeSally’s Baking Addiction
Ruby Red Grapefruit BarsDessert Now Dinner Later

Kale
Photo by Erda Estremera on Unsplash

Kale

Kale can have purple or green leaves and is a member of the cabbage family. Kale is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.

Buying

Kale should be dark green in color with small to medium-sized leaves.

Storing

Store kale in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to five days.

Preparing

Wash kale and remove the stalk and central vein by hand or with a knife. Chop or tear leaves into bite-sized pieces.

Recipes

Garlic Parmesan Kale Pasta Budget Butes
Braised Southern Style KaleI Heart Recipes

Leeks
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Leeks

Leeks have a mild onion-like flavor. Leeks are a good source of fiber, vitamin B6, iron and magnesium. They are also a very good source of folate as well as vitamins A, C, and K.

Buying

Look for leeks that are firm and have as much white and light green parts as possible.

Storing

Leeks can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Preparing

The dark green leaves are usually tough. Most dishes use just the white and light green portions. Leeks grow in sandy soil and need to be washed thoroughly. Cut off the root and then slice the leek in half vertically. Chop and place in a bowl of cold water. Agitate the leeks well, then drain and use.

Recipes

Creamed LeeksDitch the Carbs
Shrimp and Leek PastaLeite’s Culinaria

Mushrooms
Photo by Christine Siracusa on Unsplash

Mushrooms

Mushrooms are an excellent source of B vitamins, selenium, and copper.

Buying

Mushrooms should look fresh and smell good. Avoid mushrooms that smell of mildew or mold. Also avoid mushrooms that look shriveled, desiccated, darkened, wet, or moldy.

Storing

Mushrooms should be stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator or wrapped in paper towels and then loosely wrapped with plastic. Enclosing mushrooms in a plastic bag will cause them to sweat and spoil more quickly. Wild mushrooms will last for a few days stored this way; cultivated mushrooms will last up to a week or two.

Preparing

Mushrooms are like sponges and will soak up any liquid they get near. Relatively clean mushrooms can be brushed clean with a pastry brush or dry paper towel. For more cleaning power, use a damp paper towel. Reusable Block

Recipes

Carmalized Shitake Mushroom RisottoMinimalist Baker
Herby Buttered Mushroom StroganoffHalf Baked Harvest
Homemade Vegetable Loaded Spaghetti SauceRaspberries and Kohlrabi

Sliced Oranges
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Oranges

Oranges can be eaten fresh or processed for their juice or peel. Oranges are a great source of vitamin C.

Buying

Oranges should be firm and heavy for their size. They should also have smooth bright-colored skin. Avoid oranges with blemished and wrinkled skin.

Storing

Oranges can be stored at room temperature for up to five days or refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Preparing

Oranges can be peeled and sectioned by hand. Using a knife you can also prepare skinless orange segments. With a sharp knife, cut off the top and the bottom of the orange and cut away the remaining peel and white pith. Next, either slice the fruit or cut along either side of each segment to release it. If you need the zest, grate it before peeling the fruit.

Recipes

Sicilian Orange CakeChristina Cucina
Orange Baked ChickenShe Wears Many Hats

Papaya

Papayas

The ripe flesh of the papaya is usually eaten raw, without the skin or seeds. The black seeds are edible and have a sharp, spicy flavor. They are sometimes ground and used as a substitute for black pepper. Papayas are a great source of vitamin C.

Buying

Papayas are fully ripe when they are bright yellow. Choose papayas that are firm but yield to gentle pressure, have smooth skin and are heavy for their size.

Storing

Refrigerate ripe papayas in a plastic bag up to a week. To speed ripening, place papayas in a brown paper bag at room temperature. Once the papaya ripens, refrigerate immediately.

Preparing

Both the seeds and flesh are edible. Cut the papaya in half and scoop out the seeds.

Recipes

Papaya BarsA Cozy Kitchen
Papaya SalsaPlatter Talk

Parsnips
Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Parsnips

Parsnips are a root vegetable closely related to the carrot. Parsnips are high in potassium and fiber.

Buying

Choose parsnips that are firm and smooth. Smaller parsnips may be more flavorful and tender.

Storing

Parsnips can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Preparing

Wash parsnips in cold water and cut off both ends. Trim any major rootlets or knobs before cooking. Parsnips can be cooked into savory stews, boiled, mashed, or roasted.

Recipes

Garlic Turmeric Crispy Parsnip FriesBucket List Tummy
Parsnip Gratin with Gruyere and ThymeFeasting at Home

Pears
Photo by Marta Dzedyshko from Pexels

Pears

Pears can be divided into two categories: European and Asian. European pears are smooth-skinned and are wider at the bottom than the top. Asian pears are uniform in color (yellowish-tan) and shaped more like apples. Asian pears do not change color after being harvested, while some European ones do.

Buying

Look for pears that are firm and without bruises. Pears are ripe when the skin near the stem yields to gentle pressure.

Storing

Pears can be stored at room temperature until they are ripe. Once ripened they will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Preparing

Wash pears just before eating or using for cooking.

Recipes

Pear Custard PieDinner at the Zoo
Caramelized Onion and Pear JamStriped Spatula

Pomegranate
Photo by Laura on Unsplash

Pomegranates

The number of arils (seeds) in a pomegranate can vary from 200 to 1,400. Pomegranates are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate.

Buying

Pomegranates should be round, plump, and heavy for their size. Avoid pomegranates with cuts or bruises.

Storing

Store pomegranates for up to a month in a cool, dry place or refrigerate them for up to two months. Refrigerate seeds in an airtight container up to 5 days.

Preparing

Fair warning, pomegranates can be messy. The bright red juice can stain fingers, clothes, counters, and cutting boards. First, fill a large bowl with water. Slice off the top, then cut a slit through the skin of the pomegranate. Tear the fruit open with the slit facing away from you. Rip the fruit into chunks under water and remove the arils (seeds). The seeds will sink, and the white will membrane float.

Recipes

Chocolate Pomegranate BarkSuper Healthy Kid
Pomegranate Orange MuffinsPinch of Yum

Rutabaga

Rutabaga

The rutabaga is a root vegetable that is a cross between the cabbage and the turnip. It has a slightly spicier flavor than the turnip. Rutabagas can reach three to five pounds in weight. Rutabagas contain a small amount of vitamins A and C.

Buying

Rutabagas should be smooth, firm, without blemishes, and heavy for their size. Avoid large roots, they tend to be more fibrous. If you smell a rutabaga, the more pronounced the odor, the more pungent the flavor.

Storing

Rutabagas can be stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The leaves should be removed to prevent the root from drying out.

Preparing

Scrub rutabagas under cold running water before using. Cut into pieces and remove the core if it is brownish. Rutabagas can be boiled, steamed, mashed, roasted, baked, and fried. 

Recipes

Creamy Smashed RutabagasMy Gourmet Connection
Rutabaga Hash with Onions and Crisp BaconThe Splendid Table

Sweet Potato
Photo by Ela Haney from Pexels

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C and fiber.

Buying

Sweet potatoes should have smooth skin. Avoid sweet potatoes with soft spots, cuts, or blemishes.

Storing

Sweet potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place. They will keep for up to one month.

Preparing

Scrub sweet potatoes and peel if desired. Sweet potato skin is edible.

Recipes

Crispy Baked Sweet PotatoRasa Malaysia
Mediterranean Baked Sweet PotatoesMinimalist Baker

Tangelos
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Tangelos

Tangelos can be eaten fresh or processed for their juice or peel. Tangelos are a great source of vitamin C.

Buying

Tangelos should be firm and heavy for their size. They should also have smooth bright-colored skin. Avoid tangelos with blemished and wrinkled skin.

Storing

Tangelos can be stored at room temperature for up to five days or refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Preparing

Tangelos can be peeled and sectioned by hand. Using a knife you can also prepare skinless tangelo segments. With a sharp knife, cut off the top and the bottom of the tangelo and cut away the remaining peel and white pith. Next, either slice the fruit or cut along either side of each segment to release it. If you need the zest, grate it before peeling the fruit.

Recipes

Tangelo SquaresAmelia Saltsman Food
Tangelo and Almond CakeNadia Lim

Tangerines
Photo by julie aagaard from Pexels

Tangerines

Tangerines are smaller and less rounded than oranges. They are also typically sweeter than an orange. The peel can be used fresh or dried as a spice or zest for baking or a garnish for drinks.

Buying

Tangerines should be a deep orange color, firm, and heavy for their size.

Storing

Tangerines can be stored at room temperature for up to five days or refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Preparing

Tangerines can be peeled and sectioned by hand. Using a knife you can also prepare skinless tangerine segments. With a sharp knife, cut off the top and the bottom of the orange and cut away the remaining peel and white pith. Next, either slice the fruit or cut along either side of each segment to release it. If you need the zest, grate it before peeling the fruit.

Recipes

Tangerine Drizzle CakeErren’s Kitchen
Tangerine BreadChipa by the Dozen

Turnips
Photo by Vanessa Bucceri on Unsplash

Turnips

Both the turnip root and turnip greens are edible.

Buying

Look for turnips that are heavy for their size and still have their leaves attached. Small to medium-sized turnips tend to be sweeter.

Storing

The longer a turnip is stored the more bitter it becomes. Turnips can be refrigerated for up to three days.

Preparing

Before cooking turnips, wash and peel the skin with a vegetable peeler. Next, trim off the roots and greens.

Recipes

Parmesan Crusted Crushed TurnipsFrom a Chef’s Kitchen
Roasted Turnips with Balsamic Vinegar and Thyme Kalyn’s Kitchen

Share with your friends!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I love this! I really try to eat seasonally and December is not known for a lot of great produce. However, you hit the nail on the head with all of them! They’re all great this time of year. Thanks so much for including my Parmesan Crusted Crushed Turnips!

    1. Thank you for stopping by. I think seasonal eating is the only way to go if you want to save money and have great tasting produce. Thanks for creating such a great recipe for me to share!

Leave a Reply