We have some hard frosts in the winter, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an abundance of local produce here in Alexandria, IN. Brussels sprouts, beets, turnips, winter squash, shelling beans, potatoes, kale, spinach, garlic, cauliflower, carrots and apples are just some of the produce in season and typically available in your local grocery store during the winter months.
Here are a few ideas to help you enjoy that fresh local produce when the weather gets cold.
Root veggies like beets, turnips, potatoes and carrots like a little KISS—that is, “Keep it simple, stupid!” While you can get fancy with them, they are just as great simply roasted in the oven. Scrub them well, give them a light toss with some olive oil and salt and pepper to taste and spread them on a baking sheet. All that’s left is to cook them in the oven at 400 degrees for 30 to 60 minutes.
Some veggies will take longer than others, but if you cut them to roughly the same size, they will be ready at approximately the same time. For potatoes, if you’re comfortable with how clean they are, you can leave some or all of the skin on for a rustic texture that will also be packed with more vitamins. (Much of a potato’s nutrition lies in its skin.)
Beets are a wonderful and versatile root vegetable, and here’s a tip to make it easier to deal with them: after they’ve been washed and lightly coated in olive oil, wrap each beet in its own little foil pouch. Make sure to seal that pouch before putting it in the oven. These may take a bit longer than the rest of your veggies—depending on the size of the beets, they could take up to 80 minutes or more, but no less than 45 minutes for medium-sized beets.
When the beets are done, unwrap the foil and let them cool for 10 minutes or so. When they’re no longer too hot to handle, wrap one in a paper towel and use that to peel off the skin. It should come right off, and then you can toss the whole mess into your compost or garbage bin. You’ll need a few paper towels for this, but it’s a quick and clean method in the end. The skinned, roasted beets should stay good for at least a week in your refrigerator.
Apples also undergo a magical transformation in the oven. Try this: core them and leave them whole, fill the hole with some butter cut into small pieces, a little brown sugar, some nutmeg (fresh grated, if possible) and a cinnamon stick. Bake at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, and you’ll have individual desserts ready for the whole family. Different apples can have very different flavors when baked, so experiment to find your favorites.
Come check out Horner’s Midtown Market today to see what seasonal local produce is in stock at our grocery store in Alexandria, IN!