What’s in Season in February

What does “seasonal” mean?

“Seasonal” means foods that are harvested and available at a certain time of year in certain geographic locations. More specifically, the perfect balance between weather, soil, location, and crop, will yield the healthiest plant, and in turn, the highest nutrient content and most superior taste, than at any other time of the year.

Cruciferous Vegetables…and Fennel

California enjoys a different growing season than most of the United States because of our ideal temperatures (even during the winter months), and prevalence of sunshine most days of the year (Bittman, 2012). Several states are seeing the first crops of cruciferous vegetables this February, with broccoli and cabbage harvests in Missouri and Texas. California will also see Brussels sprouts, kale, and cauliflower (PYO, n.d.).

These vegetables belong to the Brassica oleracea family, which have anticancer, antioxidant, antibiotic, and antiviral properties. The dark, leafy members of this family—kale and Brussels sprouts—are particularly high in vitamins A and C, and calcium. In fact, both cabbage and broccoli contain more vitamin C than an orange; and broccoli contains as much calcium as whole milk (Wood, 2010).

Fennel, on the other hand, is not a cruciferous vegetable, but a versatile member of the carrot family. The bulb, leafy fronds, and seeds can all be consumed as a digestive aid and contain the antioxidant quercetin, which is anticarcinogenic (Wood, 2010).

Most of these seasonal vegetables can be consumed raw or cooked, with the exception of Brussels sprouts and broccoli, which should be steamed or blanched to aid digestion (Wood, 2010).

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RESOURCES

Bittman, M. (2012, October 13). Everyone Eats There. Retrieved 1/9/17 from http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/magazine/californias-central-valley-land-of-a-billion-vegetables.html

Certified Farmers’ Market – California Grown. “What’s in Season”. (n.d.). Retrieved on 1/9/17 from http://www.california-grown.com/PDFs/Whats-In-Season.pdf

PickYourOwn.org. (n.d.). Harvest calendars for TX, MO, and CA. Retrieved 1/9/17 from http://www.pickyourown.org

Wood, R. T. (2010). The new whole foods encyclopedia: a comprehensive resource for healthy eating. (pp. 52, 60, 62, 69, 135-136). New York, NY: Penguin Books.

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