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December Produce Report from Howie's Market

December is holiday time, and everyone is focused on planning meals for gatherings of friends and family. So why not create some wonderful dishes using seasonal produce? There are plenty of nutritious and comforting options at the December markets.

If you are looking for rich flavors and cozy comfort food, there are tons of interesting root vegetables available this month. Standard but tasty offerings like sweet potatoes, turnips, and carrots are plentiful. But there are also some interesting options you may not have tried before: sunchokes, celery root, fennel, rutabagas are at their freshest during the cold months.

This is also the time of year when the last of the fall fruits are around and winter citrus is just starting to dominate the stores. Pick up a few more persimmons and pomegranates to dress up your holiday salads and dessert, before stocking up on grapefruits, mandarins, and oranges. Add all those vitamin C rich flavors to your winter desserts and count them as healthy treats to get you ready for the coldest months.

Tangerines of all sorts are in season at some point over the winter from November through March. Look for different varieties-including tiny pixies-as the season progresses. Starting the season with clementines and satsumas, and both are now available in our produce department.

Clementines are a small, sweet hybrid of a mandarin and a sweet orange widely available from December through most of the winter season. Sometimes sold as “cuties“ or “sweeties,” these seedless easy-peelers are a great lunchbox snack for kids.

Satsumas have loose skins for easy peeling and a super-sweet tangerines flavor for irresistible eating. One of the best ways of enjoying satsuma mandarins is simply to peel them and snack on the juicy sections of the fruit within. Because of their sweet flavor and low acidity, satsuma mandarins are usually used in their raw form, like in green salads and fruit salads, as well as in desserts like tarts and custards. They can also be juiced, and their juice is used in cocktails, smoothies, and combined with ori, grapefruit, or other citrus juices. The zest of the peel is full of flavorful and fragrant essential oils, and can be used in marinades, sauces, and glazes for poultry and seafood. The peel of a satsuma mandarin can be simmered in a sugar syrup to make candied peel, and they are a great fruit for home canning.

If you are not sure what seasonal produce is available, please ask one of our produce personnel, we would love to help you with all of your produce needs and answer any questions you might have!

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