In the depths of winter, it can be hard to feel inspired by fruits and vegetables. Missing the peak of crisp apples in early fall, disappointed with watery, out-of-season tomatoes, and the bounty of spring still out of reach, it's easy to retreat into the pattern of frozen peas and broccoli alongside meat loaf, potpie, chili and other wintry fare.
But take solace in the oft-overlooked produce that's available in February! We're spotlighting Meyer lemons, Brussels sprouts, endive, clementines, blood oranges, and fennel: ingredients for a slew of fresh and colorful meals in the middle of winter. Check out the Eat Well Guide to find out what's in season where you live!
Meyer lemons are quite common in grocery stores from December through early spring. Sweeter and juicier than your average lemon, with an edible and delicate rind, these tart citrus fruits fall somewhere between conventional lemons and tangerines. Meyer lemons shine in tart desserts and salads, and can be preserved by pickling or candying. Try them in these recipes, where they bring a bright sweetness and the promise of spring to the darkest days of the year.
Meyer Lemon Bundt Cake by Hannah Kaminsky
Meyer Lemon Curd Tart by Kate Zuckerman
Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta by Cesare Casella
Crab Salad with Meyer Lemon, Endive and Watercress by Alice Waters
Peak season for Brussels sprouts is from September through winter's end, so enjoy these tiny cabbages while they're still at their best. You'll want to choose bright green sprouts with tightly packed leaves for the sweetest flavor. Brussels sprouts are a fantastic source of vitamins A and C, potassium, folate, iron and fiber. And if you think you aren't a fan, give Brussels sprouts another chance. These recipes produce caramelized, creamy or tangy side dishes that pair well with roasted meats.
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts by Cat Cora
Creamy Brussels Sprouts and Pearl Onions by Barbara Kafka and Chris Styler
Brussels Sprouts with Orange by Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner
Roasted Loin of Pork with Brussels Sprouts by Rick Rodgers
Endive, at its peak from late fall through early spring, finds its place in plenty of recipes beyond its common use as an edible serving dish for crab salad or curried chicken during passed hors d'oeuvre occasions. It is an excellent source of fiber, folate, and vitamins A and K, and can be served steamed, roasted, braised, grilled or raw. Cooked endive makes an ideal side dish for wintry entrees like lamb chops, and offers a unique freshness in salads.
Clementines & Blood Oranges
Mid-autumn, wooden crates and mesh bags of these bright little citrus fruits become a welcome sign of the season at grocery stores, and clementines remain at their peak through February. Blood oranges are available from December through March. And both blood oranges and clementines are so bright and sweet eaten straight that you'll be lucky if you have any left to cook with!
Clementines with Balsamic Vinegar and Pepper by Mario Batali
Blood Orange Compote by Janet Fletcher
Shrimp with Blood Orange and Fennel Salad by Cesare Casella
Blood Orange Olive Oil Cake by Melissa Clark
Fennel — a white bulb attached to a green stalk with delicate, feathery green fronds — is in season from autumn through early spring and has plenty of culinary uses outside of being used in salads; it pairs well with fish and develops a succulent texture when braised.
Braised Fennel by Waldy Malouf
Poached Cod with Fennel, Carrots and Potatoes by Lora Zarubin
Winter Radicchio Slaw by Jonathan King, Kathy Gunst and Jim Stott
Sausages with Fennel and Olives by Lidia Bastianich