Fruit and Vegetables in season in December
Apples, Artichokes, Beets / Beetroot, Belgian Endive, Broccoli, Broccoli Raabe/ Rapini, Brussels Sprouts, Butternut squash, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celeriac/ Celery Root, Celery, Chard, Chicory, Clementines, Cranberries, Curly Endive/ Frisee, Escarole, Fennel, Grapefruits, Horseradish, Jerusalem Artichokes/ Sunchokes, Kale, Kiwi, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lemons, Mandarins, Medlars, Nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds), Onions, Oranges, Parsnips, Pears, Persimmons, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Quinces, Radicchio, Radishes, Rutabagas, Savoy cabbage, Shallots, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Tangerines, Turnips.
Crisp, juicy and delicious, apples are always a popular choice, and they also come with a range of health benefits. Various studies have shown that eating apples can help prevent heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and even cancer, so there’s even more reason to take a big bite. Apples work well in warming winter desserts like pies or crumbles, and they taste great paired with sweet toffee or caramel, or spiced with cinnamon. If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some of our favourite apple recipes.
With their mild, fresh flavour, artichokes are a great substitute for your favourite spring vegetables, and taste great in light dishes like salads and risottos. There is also evidence to suggest that artichokes are good for your heart and liver, and may help to lower your blood sugar and improve digestion.
Beets are a great source of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and scientific studies also suggest that they’re good for athletic performance, helping the body to use oxygen in a more efficient way. Add a splash of colour to your diet with these vibrant beetroot recipes.
Broccoli is low in calories and high in nutrients, with just half a cup providing 84% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C. It also has numerous potential health benefits, and may help to maintain a healthy heart, improve blood sugar control, and reduce inflammation. This versatile veggie can be included in any number of tasty dishes, from vitamin-boosting smoothies to aromatic thai curries. For more ideas check out these 8 brilliant broccoli recipes.
Everyone’s festive favourite, sprouts are more than just a tasty addition to your Christmas dinner. Like broccoli, they are an excellent source of immune-system boosting vitamin C, as well as iron, manganese, vitamin K and folic acid. Try this delicious brussels sprout soup as a little light relief if you’ve overdone things during the holiday season.
Butternut squash is another good choice for maintaining a healthy immune system, as it is rich in vitamin A. It also contains compounds called lutein and zeaxanthin, which help protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays. Butternut squash has a mild, sweet, nutty flavour, that tastes great in warming winter dishes like this classic butternut squash and sage butter ravioli.
There are cabbage dishes from countries all around the world, from that old English favourite, bubble and squeak, to Korean kimchi or stuffed cabbage leaves from eastern Europe. One of the world’s most popular green vegetables, cabbage comes with a range of potential health benefits. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and can help to protect your heart and aid digestion.
Carrots, as we all know, are good for your eyesight, but the health benefits don’t end there. They are also high in vitamin C, which helps boost your immune system, while potassium and vitamin K help to maintain healthy bones. Their sweet yet earthy flavour makes them perfect for a wide variety of tasty recipes, from hearty meat dishes to delicious cakes.
A close relative of the cabbage, cauliflower also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and as it is composed almost entirely of water it also helps keep your fluids topped up. Cauliflower has a tender, melting texture, and a mild, nutty flavour that comes alive with just a touch of the right seasoning. For ideas on how to make the most of cauliflower, check out these 3 tasty cauliflower dishes.
Celeriac/ Celery Root
Celeriac is low in calories but high in vitamins and minerals, and can be used as a low-carb alternative to potatoes. It is also high in vitamin K, which can help to maintain a healthy heart and bones.
An aromatic secret ingredient in many soups and stews, celery is another low calorie, high nutrient vegetable. It is almost 95% water, making it a good source of hydration, and is also thought to have a neutralising effect on acidic foods.
Like most leafy greens, chard is packed with a high density of nutrients per calorie. Studies show that leafy greens can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and slow the rate of cognitive decline in older people. Chard is also a good non-dairy source of calcium, making it particularly useful for vegans or people with lactose intolerance.
Ground chicory root is great as a zero-caffeine alternative to coffee, and it’s also a rich source of inulin, a prebiotic that helps feed healthy gut bacteria.
Often referred to as a ‘superfood’ due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content, cranberries are thought to lower the risk of urinary tract infections and improve immunity in general. If you’re missing summer berries, our recipe for cranberry pinwheels is the perfect sweet, fruity treat.
Fennel adds a distinctive aromatic flavour to a range of dishes, and studies show that including fennel or fennel seeds in your diet may help to protect against certain types of cancer.
Grapefruit is a highly nutritious fruit, with a large number of potential health benefits. It contains vitamins C and A, both of which help maintain a healthy immune system, and has been shown to reduce blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes
Spicy, aromatic horseradish is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, and may help to improve respiratory health, although more studies are needed in this area. Turn up the heat at your next dinner party with these horseradish and turmeric croquette appetisers.
Jerusalem Artichokes / Sunchokes
Jerusalem artichokes are a great low-GI alternative to potatoes, and they’re also high in iron, potassium, and vitamin B1. To find out more about this often-overlooked vegetable, check out our article on Jerusalem artichokes, and what to do with them.
Another so-called ‘superfood’, kale is packed with nutrients and is thought to provide a wide variety of health benefits. For everything you ever wanted to know about this remarkable vegetable, check out this handy Hail to the Kale infographic, and for a simple and delicious way to add more kale to your diet, try this recipe for spicy garlic prawns with kale.
One cup of kiwi provides more than double your daily recommended intake of vitamin C, giving your immune system a much-needed boost during flu season. It can also help to aid digestion, reduce blood pressure and prevent blood clots. Add more kiwi to your diet with these fresh and fruity kiwi recipes.
A hearty root vegetable that tastes great in soups and stir frys, kohlrabi is a good source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre. For more information, plus recipes, check out our handy guide to kohlrabi here.
Leeks add a subtle aromatic flavour to your cooking and are high in vitamins A, C and K, as well as iron, manganese and dietary fibre. If you want more leek in your life, try these 7 delicious ways to cook leeks.
Zesty, tangy lemons are full of vitamin C, and may also reduce risk of heart disease, anemia and kidney stones. Try an indulgent twist on a classic lemon recipe with this delicious lemon curd with Cointreau.
Mandarins are a sweet, easy-peel citrus fruit, similar to an orange. There are several popular varieties of mandarin, including clementines and tangerines, both of which are a great way to give your kids some vitamin C. They are also high in soluble fibre, which can help to lower blood pressure, as well as potassium, calcium and magnesium, for healthy bones. Try our recipe for easy mandarin jam for a sweet breakfast treat.
Medlars were a popular winter treat in medieval Britain and France, but have become rarer in recent years. They are a good source of vitamin C, and can be made into sweet jellies or pastes to complement rich meats and cheeses.
Nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds)
Nuts are high in protein, a good source of vitamins and minerals, and can help reduce risk of heart disease by lowering ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. They are also great for adding texture and flavour to salads, pasta dishes and stir-frys. For some nutty inspiration, check out some of our favourite nut recipes.
With their pungent, aromatic flavour, onions can be used to add flavour to various savoury dishes, and offer a range of potential health benefits. Studies suggest that onions can help lower cholesterol, control blood sugar and decrease the risk of certain types of cancer. For some tasty recipe ideas, take a look at these 9 ways to cook onion.
Like all citrus fruit, oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C. Studies suggest that they are also good for your heart, helping to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and may help prevent kidney stones and anaemia.
Parsnips are a good source of folic acid, fibre and vitamins C and K. With their sweet, earthy flavour, they make a tasty and satisfying addition to many winter dishes, and are often eaten as part of a traditional Christmas dinner. For cooking tips and recipe ideas, check out our handy guide to everything you need to know about parsnips.
Pears are rich in vitamins and minerals, and their peel contains antioxidants known as polyphenols. They may also help protect against certain types of cancer, and decrease your risk of diabetes and strokes. Pears are prized for their sweet, aromatic flavour, and are often eaten with strong blue cheese, as in this tasty brunch recipe for pear tart with caramelised onions and gorgonzola.
Persimmons are originally from China, and have a sweet, honey-like taste. They are high in compounds called flavonoids, which may help protect against heart disease, age-related mental decline and lung cancer.
Versatile and tasty, potatoes are a staple food in cultures around the world. They contain a useful substance known as ‘resistant starch’ which can be used as a food source for the beneficial bacteria in your gut, leading to several positive health outcomes, such as reducing blood sugar and improving digestive health. For more potato facts, check out these handy potato infographics.
More than just a spooky decoration for halloween, pumpkins are especially high in vitamin A, which can help boost your immune system, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, to protect your eyesight. Pumpkin has a delicious mild, nutty flavour, and tastes great in warming winter dishes like this roasted pumpkin and pear soup.
Radicchio is another nutrient dense leafy green, and is particularly high in vitamin K, which can help to boost heart and bone health, and improve memory function in older people. Add more radicchio to your diet with these 7 tasty radicchio recipes.
Radishes are high in antioxidants, and contain various other compounds that can help protect against diabetes, improve liver function, and increase blood flow.
Rutabagas, otherwise known as swedes, are sweet, earthy root vegetables that are often eaten with potatoes or other root vegetables. They are high in antioxidants and fibre, and are also a particularly good source of potassium, which can help maintain a healthy heart. To learn more about rutabagas, take a look at our rutabaga cooking tips and recipes.
Shallots are a good source of antioxidants, and may help improve circulation and blood sugar levels. Shallots add a strong aromatic flavour to savoury dishes, like this flavourful recipe for chicken breast wrapped in bacon and shallots.
One of the original superfoods, spinach is a popular leafy green, prized for its strong, iron-rich taste. As with all leafy greens, it is highly nutritious, providing a good source of calcium, for healthy teeth and bones, magnesium, for a healthy heart, and iron, which helps your body to use energy more efficiently. The various potential health benefits of eating spinach include maintaining healthy bones and eyesight, keeping the brain active, reducing blood sugar levels and blood pressure, boosting your immune system, and helping to prevent heart attacks and anaemia. And if all of that doesn’t make you want to reach for the spinach, this tasty spinach lasagna is sure to.
Sweet potatoes are high in fibre and antioxidants, and early research suggests they may be effective in fighting certain types of cancer. They are also rich in beta-carotene, which helps promote healthy eyesight. Check out these sweet potato recipes for some tasty and colourful sweet potato inspiration.
Turnips are a good source of vitamins A and C, and potassium. Potential health benefits include protecting against cancer, and helping to maintain healthy bones and good eyesight. Turnips can often be overlooked, but when prepared properly, they have a delicious, sweet, nutty flavour. To learn more, check out our article on how to prepare turnips, including several tempting recipes.