Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is essential for healthy aging. Eating at least five servings daily—three of vegetables and two of fruit—has been linked to lowering the risk of chronic disease, as well as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.
As the seasons change, however, you may notice the price of your favorite produce changing as well. This is because fresh produce is less expensive when it is in season. As a bonus, in-season produce also offers more nutrition and tastes better than out-of-season produce! Although in-season produce will vary by region and weather, here is a list of when produce is generally in season, from SNAP-Ed’s Seasonal Produce Guide.
Shopping for Produce by Season
- Fall: Apples, bananas, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, cranberries, garlic, ginger, grapes, green beans, kale, kiwifruit, lemons, lettuce, limes, mangos, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, pears, peas, pineapples, pumpkin, radishes, raspberries, rutabagas, spinach, swiss chard, turnips, winter squash
- Winter: Apples, avocados, bananas, beets, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, collard greens, grapefruit, kale, kiwifruit, leeks, lemons, limes, onions, oranges, parsnips, pears, pineapples, potatoes, pumpkin, rutabagas, sweet potatoes & yams, swiss chard, turnips, winter squash
- Spring: Apples, apricots, asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, collard greens, garlic, kale, kiwifruit, lemons, lettuce, limes, mushrooms, onions, peas, pineapples, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, swiss chard, turnips
- Summer: Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, beets, bell peppers, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, carrots, celery, cherries, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, honeydew melon, lemons, lima beans, limes, mangos, okra, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, summer squash, tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini
If the produce you want is out of season, that’s okay! Frozen produce is just as nutritious as fresh produce, so you can always buy frozen fruits or vegetables. You can also buy produce when it is in season, and then freeze it yourself to use later. Canned fruits or vegetables are another option, but be sure to rinse and drain them to reduce sodium.
Below is a recipe for Ethiopian Collard Greens from Capital Area Food Bank. Want more easy recipes and tips on how to cook fresh produce? Check out these recipes from Capital Area Food Bank.
Ethiopian Collard Greens
Serves 4 for $3.75. If you are cooking for only 1-2 people, you can freeze the extra for later use.
176 calories, 25 grams carbs, 11 grams protein, 60mg sodium, and 16grams fiber per serving.
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 8 cups collards, stems removed and thinly sliced
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet (with a lid). When oil is hot, add onions, and cook 5 minutes until translucent.
Add garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper flakes, cumin, and paprika and sauté for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Be careful not to burn the spices.
Add collards, lemon juice and a little water. Cover and cook 15 minutes until greens are tender. Add a little more water as needed and salt and pepper to taste.
Katherine Starr, an AmeriCorps VISTA at CICOA, brings her passion and skill to the Meals & More Nutrition and Wellness project this year. Throughout college, Katherine volunteered 60 hours a semester at a dementia care facility, and she is now excited to help people with dementia and their caregivers live well within their own communities. Katherine received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania and completed a dementia care certification through Presbyterian Senior Care Network and California University of Pennsylvania.