ACT Wellness Center

Eating Naturally with the Seasons

Our good friend Diane Crawford has been busy in the kitchen whipping up a great recipe called Roasted Root Vegetable Stew. Even if you aren’t a big fan of vegetables, you’ll love this recipe. Thanks Diane for your simple, quick recipe and great ideas!

 Eating with the Seasons 

Diane at Work

 Why care about eating naturally with the seasons? Eating with the seasons can benefit everyone nutritionally, economically and environmentally.  How is this so? Well the first thing that comes to mind is if the food is in season, it is more abundant. This usually translates to less expensive, which, in this economy, everyone could benefit from.  A fruit or vegetable that is in season tastes better than one that is not.  If it tastes better, we are more likely to enjoy eating it. The nutritional value is usually better because the shorter the distance the food has to travel, the fewer nutrients are lost before it reaches our grocers’ shelves. Also, the shorter the distance, the less fuel is used to transport the food, which reduces the impact on our environment.  By eating seasonally, we all win.

 So what is in season in mid-February?  Root vegetables and cabbages are a couple to name a few.  Below is a list of some items that are in season this month.

  Asian Greens    Asparagus    Avocados    Beans  Beets    Bok Choy    Broccoli    Brussels Sprouts  Cabbage    Cardoons    Carrots    Cauliflower    Chard     Collards     Cress    Dandelion/Chicory  Endive    Fennel     Garlic    Gourds    Green Garlic    Herbs    Horseradish    Kale   Leeks    Lettuces  Mushrooms    Nettles    Olives    Onions    Parsnips    Potatoes    Radish    Rapini    Rutabaga  Scallions    Spinach    Squash, Winter    Turnips

I have been cooking up a storm (no pun intended) as I have been snow bound along with most of the Mid-Atlantic Region for the past week.  Some of the items I have used are Potatoes, Parsnips, Apples, Turnip, Spinach, Baby Bok Choy, Rutabaga and Celeriac.  I have included a recipe for a Roasted Root Vegetable Stew you may want to try that is low in fat, vegetarian and hearty on these cold winter days we have been having.  I hope you enjoy it!

Roasted Root Vegetable Stew 

1 large rutabaga
2 medium russet potatoes
1 large parsnip
1 large carrot
1 large sweet potato
1 small celeriac root
1 medium onion
1 can (14 oz) of garbanzo beans, drained
1 T. olive oil
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 t. dried marjoram
1 t. freshly finely chopped rosemary
4 C. vegetable broth

Scrub and peel all the root vegetables.  Preheat your oven to 450 F.  To prep the vegetables for roasting, cut everything, including the onion, into 1 inch cubes.  Place on a foil-lined cookie sheet or in a roasting pan.  Add the garbanzo beans to the chopped vegetables. Drizzle with oil and toss with your hands so everything is evenly coated.  Rinse your hands and season the vegetables with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and the teaspoon of herb.  Toss again with your hands and spread into a single layer.

Roast the vegetables in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until they are browning at the edges, but still fairly juicy.  Just before the vegetables are ready, bring 4 cups of vegetable broth to a boil in a stock pot.  When vegetables are done roasting, carefully add to the hot broth.  If desired, add the additional cup of broth.  Let soup simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes.  Using a potato masher, mash some of the vegetables to help thicken the soup.  Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve piping hot with hunks of rustic bread.