Winter is here, bringing with it your family favourites; sweet butternut pumpkins, apples and beetroot but did you know also in season this winter are kohlrabi, artichokes, witlof and pomelos? Winter doesn’t need to be all about soups and stews. These unusual fruit and vegetables are waiting for you at your local greengrocer and are definitely worth a try this winter!
Kohlrabi is one of those vegetables that you’ve probably never heard of, but it will certainly look familiar. It looks similar to the old classic turnip, but with stems sprouting from multiple places. Kohlrabi comes in two varieties - white (or light green) and purple skinned. When cut open it has a creamy flesh that tastes similar to broccoli or cabbage only with a milder and sweeter taste. To enjoy kohlrabi, munch it up raw with sliced pears and cabbage to make a fresh winter slaw or even toss it through a stir-fry with some chicken. It’s also a great healthy veggie to smuggle into a bowl of soup without the kids knowing.
Ever cooked an artichoke before? If you haven’t they could seem a little intimidating! This unusual vegetable looks a little like a pine cone crossed with a lettuce from the outside. But, an artichoke is actually the bud of a flower. The leaves cover a fuzzy centre called the ‘choke’, which sits on top of a meaty core called the ‘heart’. The heart it edible (and delicious!), so are the base of the leaves. You can boil, grill, braise or stuff artichokes, but the easiest way to prepare them is by steaming them. Firstly, trim the leaves, toss in some garlic or even a lemon for extra flavour and steam away. Once they are ready, pull them off and eat like chips! An incredibly easy and fun activity the kids can join in on, they are delicious dipped in butter, aioli or anything you like!
Witlof is a unique vegetable which is grown underground, but strangely not part of the root family. This white leafed vegetable has a slightly bitter taste, but don’t let that put you off. For harmony of flavour it team with sweet fruit or robust cheeses. To serve, you could chop it up for a fresh salad with apples and walnuts or even pears and blue cheese. The sturdy shell shaped leaves also allow witlof to be a bit fancy! Use them as little boats to carry your hors d'oeuvre of prawns or salsa – maybe a bit fancy for the kids but if they are so inclined, go for it!
You can spot a pomelo at your local greengrocer by looking for what appears to be an oversized grapefruit. These big beauties are part of the citrus family and very similar to a grapefruit just without the tangy flavour. Their skin is very thick making it easy to peel, with a segmented inside like an orange. Cut it into small pieces for a healthy snack or combine with cherry tomatoes, spring onion and coriander for a special salad. The fleshy inside can also be grilled – try sprinkling with some sugar to create some beautiful caramelisation! Pomelo juice is also delicious in a cheeky cocktail if you are in the mood.
So, there you have it - four winter wonders you may never have heard of to introduce to your little ones and your shopping list next time you visit your local greengrocer - healthy, yummy and unique.
Find out what else is in season!