Nutrition Corner: Take the blah out of your winter vegetables

February 13th, 2018 12:29 pm

Winter vegetables can be a bit blah. There is nothing like slicing a freshly picked tomato from your back yard or local farmers market. However, there is hope. Winter vegetables can be flavorful when blended with spices, herbs and other vegetables.

To be healthy, we need to eat vegetables every day. According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we need to eat two and one half cups of vegetables every day or 17 and 1 half cups a week. To find out what kind of vegetables, USDA grouped vegetables together by their nutrients.

For women ages 31 to 50, here is the breakdown by vegetable groups. First, dark green vegetables (1 and one half cups), red and orange vegetables (5 and one half cups), beans and peas (1 and one-half cups), starchy vegetables (5 cups), and other vegetables (4 cups). The other group includes Asparagus, Avocado, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Green Beans, Green Peppers, Iceberg, and Zucchini.

Trying to fit these vegetables into your weekly shopping list can be a challenge. Here are the vegetables that are in season all year long: fresh bell peppers, Bok choy, carrots, cabbage, celery, cherry tomatoes, dark green lettuce, mushrooms and onions are on the grocery shelves all year in most areas. Although these are fresh, frozen and canned vegetables can be just as nutritious and count, too

For cost-conscientious readers, convenience-packaged fresh vegetables can be costly. If you peel, slice and chop them yourself, you can save money. Plan to peel, slice and chop when you have more time. Refrigerated fresh vegetables last in the fridge. Canned vegetable sometimes get a thumbs down, but if you rinse them, you will lose about 30% of the sodium. Add them to soup just before serving. Top a salad with rinsed black or garbanzo beans.

Here are some ideas to give your winter vegetables new flavors and a great recipe to get you started, taking the blah out of your winter vegetables!

Carrots — Cinnamon, cloves, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, sage

Green beans — Dill, curry powder, lemon juice, marjoram, oregano, tarragon, thyme

Squash — Cloves, curry powder, marjoram, nutmeg, rosemary, sage

Tomatoes — Basil, bay leaf, dill, marjoram, onion, oregano, parsley, pepper

Cabbage — Dill or nutmeg

Herbed vegetables

Non-stick cooking spray

½ head of medium cabbage

4 large carrots

¼ cup water

½ tablespoon ginger

½ tablespoon rosemary

½ tablespoon sage

Spray skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Add cabbage, carrots, and water. While vegetables are cooking, add the rest of the ingredients. Cook until vegetables are fork tender. Makes- 8 – 1-cups servings. Enjoy!

Nutrition Corner Mary R. Ehret Corner Mary R. Ehret

Mary Ehret is the Penn State Extension Nutrition Links Supervisor in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Carbon, Sullivan and Bradford counties. Reach her at 570-825-1701 or at