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What foods are in season in winter?

Here's what should be on your winter shopping list

International student preparing a fresh dinner in her home kitchen
International student preparing a fresh dinner in her home kitchen

During winter, the temptation to stay home and hibernate is strong. Channel this cold-weather energy into time spent in the kitchen – but don’t let healthy habits fall by the wayside.

Not only is eating in-season produce better for the environment (as it tends to be sourced locally which means lower greenhouse gas emissions), it’s usually fresher, tastier and generally cheaper.

We spoke with Dr Sandro Demaio , a medical, CEO of VicHealth and author of The Doctor’s Diet cookbook, find out what to add to your winter shopping list to keep you nourished, and tips for cooking warming winter meals.

Winter vegetable shopping list

Broccoli and roccoliniMushrooms
Brussels sproutsOnions
Eggplant Silverbeet

Winter vegetable recipe ideas

Tasty and versatile on their own, winter vegetables are also the perfect base for leftovers throughout the coming week, says Sandro. Hello, meal prep!

“You can’t go wrong by roasting your favourite vegetables and blending them together with some good quality stock [to make a hearty soup],” he says. “Leftover roast vegetables also make winter work lunches a breeze. For a winter salad, mix together leftover roast veggies with a large handful of parsley, barley, quinoa or lentils – and drizzle with olive oil. For something more hearty, leftover roast vegetables are also great additions to a frittata.”

Sandro encourages you to think outside the box and choose a few winter vegetables that you don’t normally cook with.

“We often think of roasting potatoes or pumpkins as a classic side dish to our evening meal. But let’s get more adventurous this winter and try things like fennel, onions and seasonal purple carrots.”

Related: Roasted cauliflower salad with creamy tahini dressing

What’s the best way to store winter vegetables?

Winter’s cool temps and lack of humidity are ideal for storing many types of vegetables, so you can stock up and always have your favourites on hand. Store root veggies like potatoes, sweet potato and pumpkin, in a cool, dark place, like a cupboard. The same applies for onions and shallots – but keep these two away from each other to stop them going off so quickly.

Other vegetables, such as zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower and beetroot can be stored in the crisper drawer of your fridge.

Related: How to store leftovers and avoid food poisoning.

Winter fruit shopping list


Winter fruit recipe ideas

Although there’s not as much choice of in-season winter fruits as we typically enjoy throughout the rest of the year, the abundance of citrus fruits is a great way to boost your vitamin C intake.

Plus, Australia is lucky enough to have bananas in season all year around, and a freshly baked loaf of banana bread is a great way to warm up a chilly winter’s afternoon.

Do winter vegetables and fruits differ across states and territories?

When it's peak season for a particular fruit or vegetable, you'll likely find similar options across the country. Many growers ship their produce nationally, so you can enjoy juicy navel oranges from NSW and South Australia, or ripe, firm avocados from Queensland, no matter where you live.

How does shopping seasonally save on grocery costs?

Not only does choosing Australian-grown goodness mean you’re enjoying fruits and veggies at their peak flavour, it can also lighten your grocery bill thanks to lower transport costs. Shopping for produce at your local farmers’ market is another savvy way to snag fresh finds without breaking the bank.

Freezing your fruits and vegetables when you buy them in season is a great way to save money and ensure you have nutritious produce to hand year round. You can also pickle them to add a different flavour.

Learn more in our article Fresh vs frozen: Which vegetables are best?

For more ways to create healthy, delicious and filling meals, check out our recipe collection on The Check Up.