We all know that winter is a period of scarcity when it comes to seasonal fruits and vegetables. The harvest season is now over and people are left with whatever they managed to pickled and freeze throughout the year. But wait a second... Is this actually the case or is this just a myth?
Alright, alright, winter IS a period of scarcity, but there are still plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables to be enjoyed in slowly cooked soups and stews. This is why we decided to create this article.
Today you’re going to find out which fruits and veggies are in season in winter in Europe, learn why it is important to get familiar with them and prioritize them in our diet, and of course, where to buy them.
So, without further ado, here is our official produce guide to get ready for winter in Europe.
Why should you buy seasonally?
The first thing you may ask yourself is ‘Why the hassle?’ Well, buying seasonally has plenty of advantages. It’s better for the taste, it’s better for your health, and it’s better for the environment.
Did you ever realize the difference in taste between a summer tomato and a winter one? And what about those packages always containing three peppers? A red, a yellow, and a green one, as if you were buying a pepper traffic light. If you’ve ever visited a warm country or purchased your veggies from a local producer, you know that those peppers are not only suspiciously identical to each other but also alarmingly tasteless.
There is no way around it, when fruits and veggies are grown in greenhouses or when they are stored for long periods of time, they simply lose their original delicious taste.
It’s better for your health
Fruits and veggies out of season often come with extra chemicals. Just think about it, how come that peach is still intact even though it hasn’t been peach season for months now? All the peaches from your neighbor’s tree are long gone... The answer is simple: additives and chemicals.
These products are often undergoing various treatments, such as heat treatments and anti-browning ones to make sure they keep looking good even after months from being picked. A bit like plastic surgery, it’s not natural and you can’t really hide it.
It’s better for the environment
Of course, buying seasonal vegetables and fruits is also better for the environment. Growing food off-season means higher energy consumption and an increase in the use of chemicals that obviously do not benefit our Earth. But this is not all.
When buying off-season, we often finance food industries relying on worldwide transportation to sell their products. Those bananas you just bought were not cultivated in Eindhoven! This means extra pollution as airplanes keep flying from one continent to the other to transport our allegedly indispensable food.
Alright, we did not mean to guilt trip you. Of course, you can have a banana from time to time. But knowing what’s in season can help you enrich your diet with a great variety of products that may even turn out to be better than that banana from Ecuador! So, what is in season in Europe right now?
Winter seasonal veggies and fruits
Of course, Europe is big, and depending on where you are, you may find different vegetables and fruits. However, on average, people in Europe can choose among a great variety of vegetables during the winter months. Some of these include radish, fennel, artichokes, cauliflower, cabbage, and spinach. When it comes to fruits, citruses are in their prime. Oranges, clementines, lemons...
🇫🇷 France: A Palette of Winter Delights
- Fruits: Apple, Banana, Clementine, Kiwi, Orange, Pear
- Vegetables: Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Celery, Endive, Garlic, Leek, Squash, Shallot, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Onion, Turnip
🇮🇹 Italy: A Feast for the Senses
- Fruits: Apple, Fig, Grape, Kiwi, Lemon, Pear, Raspberry
- Vegetables: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Celery, Garlic, Leek, Pumpkin, Turnip
🇩🇪 Germany: Rooted in Richness
- Fruits: Apple (Stored), Pear (Stored), Quince
- Vegetables: Beetroot, Black Radish, Brussels Sprout, Carrot, Celeriac, Chicory, Green Bean, Kale, Mushroom, Parsnip, Potato, Pumpkin, Cabbage, Rutabaga, Salsify, Spinach
🇪🇸 Spain: A Sunlit Winter Harvest
- Fruits: Apple, Banana, Custard Apple, Grape, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Lemon, Mandarin, Orange, Pear, Persimmon
- Vegetables: Artichoke, Aubergine, Beetroot, Bell Pepper, Broad Bean, Broccoli, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Courgette, Curly Endive, Endive, Garlic, Green Bean, Leek, Lettuce, Onion, Pea, Radish, Red Cabbage, Savoy Cabbage, Spinach, Squash, Tomato, Turnip
🇹🇷 Turkey: A Culinary Mosaic
- Fruits: Apple (Stored), Avocado, Banana, Clementine, Grape, Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange, Pear (Stored), Quince (Stored), Watermelon
- Vegetables: Artichoke, Arugula, Aubergine, Black Radish, Broad Bean, Broccoli, Broccolini, Brussels Sprout, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Chard, Chinese Cabbage, Cress, Cucumber, Lettuce, Magold, Marrow, Mushroom, Morel, Okra, Potato, Radish, Scallion, Spinach, Tomato, Truffle
🇳🇱 Netherlands: Winter's Abundance
- Fruits: Apple, Pear
- Vegetables: Beetroot, Black Radish, Broccoli, Brussels Sprout, Cabbage, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Chicory, Endive, Fennel, Haricot Bean, Iceberg Lettuce, Kale, Leek, Onion, Parsnip, Pumpkin, Radicchio, Radish, Rucola, Spring Onion, Tomato, Swede, Turnip, Snow Pea, Salsify
For other countries in Europe, check out this amazing online tool to know exactly what's in season in your area.
Where to buy your seasonal food
This is the number one place to look for your seasonal fruits and vegetables. Buying from your local market means financing small local businesses in your community and avoiding harmful pollution due to the lack of far-distance transportation. Start visiting your local market and we guarantee you will soon become familiar with a variety of veggies you never saw before!
Grow your own
Trust us, you really don’t need to be an experienced gardener to grow your own veggies. Bell pepper, cabbage, and garlic can be easily grown by everyone! And the list goes on.
If you don’t have space in your house, you can also consider the idea of renting a small garden in your municipality. Several cities such as Munich and Amsterdam now offer this possibility to their citizens and prices are often extremely cheap. You may even split the costs with friends and make it a social gathering!
Ok, this may sound strange at first but there are actually several organizations connecting people with local farmers growing organic food. People can often purchase subscriptions and get their seasonal veggies and fruits delivered directly to their homes while financing small local businesses. A farmer for you is just one of the many platforms providing this service so ask around and do some research and you will probably find something in your area!
Alright, we arrived at the end of our official produce guide. We hope you learned something along the way and you now feel excited to try some seasonal fruits and veggies. Remember, winter doesn’t have to be a period of scarcity if you know what to buy and where.