January : In Season

Eating seasonally and prioritizing locally grown produce and ingredients : context for mid winter

  • Humans have been cycing through the seasons with the rest of Earth’s creatures for a long time - we’ve picked up some pointers on how to last through the cold and emerge in springtime still having fat on our bones.
  • Mid to late winter in the agricultural community is many times referred to as the “hungry gap”, a time in which most of the crops on one’s garden have been harvested, and the new crops planted in early spring have yet to grow into anything of substance.

The All Encompassing Brassicaceae

  • In January, our champions become the family of Brassicaceae. Also known as cabbages and mustards, cole crop, or brassicas, this family includes all your harty green favorites you were always told would make you grow healthy; cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, pak choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, mustard greens, arugula, mizuna, tatsoi, chard, collard greens, daikon radish, horseradish, kohlrabi, radish, rapini, rutabaga, turnip, wasabi, and watercress!
  • These crops have impressive amounts of cancer fighting compounds, fiber, vitamins A, B9, C, an K, as well as properties that lower inflammation and are low in calories.

Storage Crop Heroes

  • January may be featuring cruciferous veggies fresh from the garden beds, but let’s not forget the other produce in season! The term “hungry gap” can be decptive, as now is the season for utilizing storage crops from cold storage. These are oftentimes the crops that have been selected by food growers to be stored in cold rooms in varying temperatures and moisture levels, and are genetically designed to last through the winter and spring until the next generation of crop is harvested. They include carrots, apples, pumpkins, winter squash. Pumpkins and winter squash are a delicious, durable, and flavorful ingredient that stores on the counter for months in perfect condition. Try cooking my [kobucha and sweet potato thai curry] (isabellespaintedsky.com/campfire-kobucha-squash-thai-red-curry) to utilize January’s in-season crops!
  • Our alliums (onion, garlic, and shallot) and potatoes (sweet potatoes, waxy and starchy, and all-purpose varieties) are frequently included on multiple seasonal produce lists throughout the year, as they have been selecively bred for saving as long as they are held from 0º to 65ºF in a dark and dry place. In the wintertime, I keep my alliums and potatoes on the counter in a breathable basket out of sunlight, and never have to throw any away due to rot or sprouts. Give it a try, and free up fridge space!

January Outliers

More produce in season this January include beets, leeks, and all kinds of citrus, which are best when harvested after the first light frost of the season. If you’re living close to a humid, semitropical regions like California or Mexico, avocados and kiwi are in season as well!

Recipes to Recommend


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