When you think Ontario foods, you naturally think of summer produce but, there's so much that's available in the winter too! Here's 4 easy ways to enjoy Ontario produce in the winter months!

4 Easy Ways To Enjoy Ontario Produce in Winter

This post is sponsored by Foodland Ontario.

"Good Things Grow in Ontario."

If that rings a bell, it should because that saying has been around since 1977 when Foodland Ontario was launched to encourage people to enjoy and eat food grown in Ontario. Today, buy local, support local, eat local is widespread but this movement that is now commonplace has its roots in programs like Foodland Ontario.

And when it comes to good things growing in Ontario, the list just goes on and on...mushrooms, onions, potatoes, carrots, corn, raspberries, blueberries and much more. But it's also good food being produced and available in Ontario like honey, maple syrup, eggs, cheese, milk and a great variety of proteins such as beef, pork, lamb and fish. For a full list of Ontario produced food and produce, this page on the Foodland Ontario site is a great resource of what  Mother Nature and Ontario producers can make happen.

You've likely seen the Foodland Ontario logo everywhere and anywhere. It'll show up on menus at a restaurant or your favourite fast food spot, on the shelf at your grocery store when buying yogurt, chips, you name it!

It's easy to think of summer as the time to celebrate local food but, Ontario produces a wide variety of foods that are available in winter too - and they're easy to find and use! We're going to share some great ways you can make the most of Ontario produce all through the winter months and make the most of eating local year round.

Why Local Food is Important

There's rarely a day that goes by without hearing the expression Farm to Table, Farm to Fork, or even Earth to Table. It's said so often that it's easy to forget why it's such an important concept but it's also quite simple.

  1. Buying local helps to support your community and neighbours. You may not live beside them but farmers, growers and producers are your neighbours.
  2. Buying local helps the environment. It doesn't have to come a long distance to wherever you buy groceries meaning it's fresher and it uses less fuel to get there.
  3. Buying local is tasty and good for you! Quite simply, locally produced foods can help lead to a more nutritious and healthy lifestyle.

So let's dig into a few specific Ontario food items that are easily available in winter and get hungry!

Apples

Basket of Apples

Ontario Apples might be overlooked because they are always available almost all-year round. And just like you keep your apples crisp in your fridge at home, apple growers use the same method by picking apples at their optimum freshness and then store them in a huge refrigerated storage facility to be gradually emptied throughout the year whenever more is needed. This is a great explanation of how they do it!

And as perfect as an apple is to eat as a snack, it's versatile for all types of sweet and savoury recipes. Here is a handy dandy infographic with 4 easy ways to enjoy Ontario Apples.

RELATED:  Learning About Canadian Greenhouse Growing

RECIPE IDEAS: 6 Mouthwatering Apple Snack Recipes

Root Vegetables

beets

Root vegetables have become synonymous with the Fall, Thanksgiving and harvest time, but it’s their ruggedness that allows them to thrive in all conditions and be readily available during the winter months.

Beets often get a bit of a bad rap because they tend to make things a bit messy but they are worth the extra effort and it's not bad if you take some precautions. Giving them a good scrub under water and drying them well helps to mitigate the redness they leave behind. And you can always use rubber gloves and/or a separate cutting board. This all may sound like a lot of extra work but they are definitely with it.

You can roast them, add them into soups, use in salads and let’s not forget the beautiful bright colour they offer which is much appreciated during those cold months! For more about beets, click here.

RECIPE IDEA: Roasted Beet and Halloumi Skewers

We’re here to say that rutabaga deserves way more love!

Maybe it’s a nostalgia thing but it was a commonly found vegetable at my grandparents’ house but you don't see it often nowadays. Is it the waxy exterior, is it because it can be a bit tough to cut? Whatever the reason, it deserves its time back in the spotlight. It’s flavourful, good source of Vitamin C, fibre, low in calories and couldn’t be simpler to enjoy…cubed, boiled and mashed with butter or with cream cheese and brown sugar!

Greenhouse Vegetables

Greenhouse Cucumbers

Speaking of veggies, it boggles the mind what a wonderful world we live in sometimes when thinking to the access of fresh, crisp veggies throughout the year. In Ontario, there is no shortage of greenhouse vegetables being grown with beautiful tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers and peppers of all sizes and flavours at our fingertips. You've likely been seeing even more greenhouse produce becoming available lately like eggplants (cute mini ones too), all types of lettuce and even strawberries!

Recipes Galore

Over the coming Winter months, we’ll be updating this post with some great new recipes inspired by what is grown and produced in Ontario by bloggers living in Ontario. But for now, be sure to visit the recipe page over at Foodland Ontario where they have a ton of terrific recipes with everything we've discussed and more.

And to know exactly what Ontario produce is available in winter (and year round), this handy guide is ideal. When you go grocery shopping, keep this guide in mind, look for the Ontario Foodland logo and remember it's easy to #LoveONTfood! Share the food you're enjoying and dishes you're preparing by using the hashtag #LoveONTfood and tagging Foodland Ontario on social media!

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4 Easy Ways To Enjoy Ontario Produce in Winter

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