by Danielle Labonte, Registered Dietitian and Public Health Nutritionist, Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
Immune system and Winter vegetables
To learn which vegetables and fruit are in season each month, Foodland Ontario’s website, www.ontario.ca/foodland is an excellent resource. Some examples of what is available in November include pears, beets, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, celery, and different types of onions. Foodland Ontario’s website also has information on varieties, history, buying, storing and preparing vegetables and fruit.
They also have a section called “Kids’ Corner”, with recipes and activities for kids. When it comes to children, it is true that they may say “no” to vegetables for many reasons. Check out the Health Unit’s resource called “Help Your Child Enjoy Vegetables” for tips to help your child learn to eat and enjoy vegetables. Just go to our website at www.healthunit.org and type “help your child enjoy vegetables” into the search bar.
When it comes to storing vegetables, here are some tips:
- Hold off harvesting as long as possible, especially with root vegetables such as carrots, beets, and turnips that can handle some frost’
- To avoid rot, store only fully mature vegetables that are free of bruises, nicks or signs of decay;
- Brush off any soil before storing and wash them well only before use;
- Store them in cool, ventilated, dry basements with air circulation, unheated spare rooms, attics or entryways;
- You can also use a root cellar which can be anything that remains above freezing – maybe a crawl space under the porch or an unheated section of the basement;
- Clean your storage area before each use and keep it dark;
- Check on your stored vegetables every week or two;
- Dry vegetables like winter squash, pumpkins, onions, garlic need space; keep them off the floor in dark space and corners and try not to let them touch each other;
- Moist vegetables such as potatoes, root crops, cabbages should be stored in a container, rather than exposed to air; use cardboard or plastic bags that have a few holes to let moisture escape.
For more information, go to www.healthunit.org, follow us on Twitter and Facebook (@LGLHealthUnit), or call 1-800-660-5853.