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Seasonal Eats: Winter Wrap-Up & Spring Preview

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Winter Root Vegetables (Heather Parlato/LAist)
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When I went to the market this weekend, it was apparent everywhere that we're on the brink of spring. Strawberries, artichokes, and asparagus are starting to pop up here and there—not to mention the lovely early spring flower blooms. I was also impressed, though, at all the late fall root veggies and winter greens and brassicas that have supported us all winter, so I thought I'd do a winter-wrap up as a bit of a send-off to the season, and look forward at what we can expect in springtime.

If you're looking for a general guide to winter in southern California, the main foods that are consistently fresh are salad greens, brassicas, winter squash and citrus. A solid list of salad greens include head and leaf lettuces and spinach. The brassicas include leafy greens (swiss chard, collards, bok choy, mizuna and arugala), root vegetables (beets, turnips, rutabaga and radish), cabbages (green & red cabbage, kohlrabi and brussels sprouts), and flowers like broccoli and cauliflower. Finally, most of the citrus family is available all winter, including oranges, grapefruits, tangerines, lemons, and kumquats (limes are more of a summer fruit). Winter squash usually have to start growing in spring but have a long growing season and are harvested in fall and winter. The star of winter squash is butternut, but others available include acorn, spaghetti, delicata squashes, and jarrahdale pumpkin (a gray-green cinderella-style pumpkin).