The month of February is filled with many delicious food options. Although still a winter month, many crops flourish during the season. With spring on the horizon, these February foods will get you through the remainder of winter.
Parsnips originate from the Mediterranean region. The veggie stems from the Apiaceae family, which also includes carrots, celery, and parsley. Sweeter than carrots and white in color, this cool season crop is a great source of fiber and can help decrease blood cholesterol levels. It also contains polyacetylene, anti-oxidants which are anti- inflammatory and anti-fungal. Try making warm parsnip and sweet potato purées, pancakes, or soup this February!
In the Asteraceae family, the red cabbage like crop also descends from the Mediterranean region. It has a very distinctive taste and works best when blended with sweet flavors. Radicchio is in season during mid-winter to early spring and is packed with Vitamin K to support brain function. The crop also helps with digestion and lowers cholesterol. Don't know how to use radicchio? The plant is great when combined in a salad topped with fruit.
A member of the Brassica family, broccoli rabe started growing in the United States in the 1920s. Dating back to ancient roman times, broccoli rabe flourished on Mediterranean shores. The cool season crop has a bitter, peppery taste and has the same qualities of broccoli and turnips. Broccoli rabe is filled with Vitamin K, which aids in bone and brain strength. The vegetable can be prepared in pasta or used in fresh bread!
Mayer lemons were brought over to the United States in the 1900s from China. This fruit has qualities of both a lemon and an orange. Therefore, the are less tart and more sweet than a regular lemon. Their thin, yellow-orange rind is also edible. Meyer lemons contain Vitamin C, which helps keep our immune systems strong. They are also filled with antioxidants that protect against heart disease. Peak season for these sweet lemons are from November to March. The citrusy fruit can be used to brighten many comforting dishes such as chicken or rice.
Tangy and delicious, grapefruits are a blast of flavor and have many health benefits. Grapefruits were first found on the Caribbean island of Barbados. The peak season for these fruits really starts off during late December and runs until April. Grapefruits come in many varieties: pink, red, or white and seed or seedless. Not only are grapefruits low in calories (about 42 calories per grapefruit), they also are rich with Vitamin A, Vitamin C and flavonoids that can help keep out cancers. Use grapefruit this month in your salad or mix up a zesty cake that whole family will enjoy!