Winter veggies

Credit: Carolyn Herriot

In November I enjoyed a diversity of fresh-picked greens from the winter garden.

Rows of cilantro, parcel, kale, corn salad, endives, radicchio, escarole, mixed mustard greens and arugula give plenty of choice for salads. Young pickings are juicy and full of flavour. These all grow throughout winter and actually benefit from being harvested on a regular basis.


The garlic basket overflows at this time of year, but this garlic has to take us through to the next harvest in June/July. I feel frivolous when I toss cloves of garlic into everything I cook, but then I know I have lots! I also know that garlic keeps bugs at bay by boosting the immune system, too.

This row of hardy flat leaf parsley provides lots of fresh pickings.

Cilantro and parsley develops a stronger flavour in the winter garden, as it hugs closer to the ground for warmth.


I consider these long-keeping squash as staple winter food. Winter squashes not only keep well in storage but provide the makings for lots of delicious meals.

We love squash simply salt, peppered and steamed with a bit of water. Alternatively, I mix this up with some of the following: a dusting of chili powder, paprika, nutmeg, cinnamon, butter, oil, maple syrup or brown sugar. These all turn simple steamed squash into a delicious dish!

Roasted squash is simply baked at about 425°F for 30 minutes after being drizzled with olive oil and tossed with spices. Then you have the makings for warming roasted squash soup or lasagna layered with tomato and roasted squash.

What a gorgeous sight this variety of Blue Tuscan Kale is! ‘Laciniato’ is definitely an ornamental edible, providing lots of pickings throughout fall, winter and spring.

It’s fun growing Radicchio ‘Rossa di Treviso’ because it changes so much as it grows. Leafy greens emerge and intensify in colour as they form intense-red, tender hearts inside the wrapper leaves. When cut off the main stem, these crunchy hearts are a refreshing addition to salads and mixed greens.

These healthy bitter greens are much enjoyed by Europeans, and are now appearing on plates in mainstream restaurants.

There are lots of greens to harvest through winter, as well as leeks and root vegetables, but you have to wait until spring to enjoy some Brassicas—broccolis, cabbages and cauliflowers. This ‘Purple cape’ cauliflower grows leafy greens through winter and develops large purple cauliflower heads as soon as the ground warms up in spring.