‘Tis the season to fill your plate with beautiful wintertime CACFP fruits and vegetables. There is a wide variety of winter produce to choose from, so there’s no need to limit your dishes and skimp out on wonderful seasonal flavors.

Teaching your children about winter vegetables and fruits can be a very fun (and tasty) lesson, especially if you grow your own winter produce. If you don’t grow your own, take a trip to your local farmers market and pick up some bright, beautiful produce to show off to your kids. Make sure to include a variety of items, including produce that you didn’t realize was common for the winter months. You would be surprised at some the winter produce available!

Take this opportunity to whip up some simple recipes with the produce and let the kids join in. While you prepare and cook the produce together, talk with your children and let them describe every aspect of the food – smell, texture, color, taste. Tasty food and an educational lesson. Bon appetite!

Romanesco Broccoli You may not have tried this colorful vegetable, but it is packed full of flavor. Romanesco broccoli is very similar to the traditional cauliflower; however, it has a “nuttier” flavor and is typically crunchier than cauliflower. When selecting romanesco broccoli, look for heads that are very bright in color. The right head will also be pretty heavy for its size. Try roasting romanesco broccoli with herbs, onions, and garlic for a fantastic side dish.

Grapefruit A favorite for many from the citrus family, grapefruits provide so much flavor and nutrients with every bite. This versatile fruit can add a punch of citrus flavor to any dish including salads, baked goods, and even savory meats. Picking ripe grapefruits can be tricky – some may be tangier or bitterer than others. Select grapefruits that are slightly red, plump, and oval in shape to guarantee a delicious, ripe fruit. Try adding some grapefruit to your next breakfast smoothie for a zesty treat.

Radishes There are so many varieties of radishes and all come in different shapes and colors. The typical radish is small, round and red in color. Winter radishes will be larger and thicker than the typical radish you may see in the grocery store. No matter what kind – radishes are tasty! Not only are they delicious, they are good for you. Radishes are an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber and other great nutrients. You can cook radishes several ways including roasting, sauteing, and even raw as a snack.

Pomegranates Pomegranates are a very highly underrated winter fruit. Inside the thick outer layer of pomegranates house delicious, tangy seeds just waiting to be enjoyed. Don’t shy away from selecting and preparing pomegranates. When selecting pomegranates, select ones that are heavy and slightly brown. Take it from thekitchn.com – “The uglier the [grapefruit] looks on the outside, the better the chance that the inside is bursting with sweet arils.” The best method to prepare pomegranates includes placing slices of the fruit in water and working the seeds out of its protective casing.

Beets When it comes to winter vegetable, you can’t beet the flavor and versatility of this vibrant veggie. Beets can add beautiful color to any dish and with them being the ultimate winter veggie, you can easily find them in your local grocery store or farmers market. When choosing ripe beets, select small ones as they tend to be tender and are easier to cook. Ripe beets should aslo be smooth and hard – avoid bruised of soft beets. There is no limit to how you can enjoy beets – raw in a salad, steamed, boiled, sauteed – the list goes on and on.

No matter how you enjoy your winter vegetables and fruits, make sure to pile them on your plate this winter season! Try out different recipes with your children and taste produce you’ve never had before. The sky is the limit with winter produce – enjoy it all!