If you're from California, you know the state's nutrient enriched soil makes it an ideal location to grow exquisite fruits and vegetables. Even though it's winter, there is definitely no shortage of fruits and vegetables. 

Eating foods that are in season is simple way to reduce your ecological footprint, save money and enrich your daily meals. This is because eating seasonally reduces the energy that is consumed by vehicles that transports foods. An average American meal travels 1,500 miles from farm to table. This mileage has a costly effect on not only the planet, but also your wallet. You will also most likely get a tastier product (depending where you are shopping). 

Here are 10 ingredients that are in season this winter, what they are good for and how to include them into your meal.

1. Cauliflower 

cake, cabbage, cauliflower
Hana Brannigan

This member of the brassicaceae family can be pickled, boiled, cooked or eaten raw. Or, expand the horizons with these clever ways to transform cauliflower.  Cauliflower strengthens blood vessels, contain antioxidant properties, anti-inflammatory properties and strengthen immunity.

2. Artichokes

Casa de Fruta

Elaine with Grey Cats on Flickr

These lovely vegetables taste great on pizza and have plenty of health benefits. They aid liver and gall bladder health, are rich in antioxidants, and contain more phytonutrients than broccoli and spinach.

3. Carrots 

parsley, carrot, vegetable
Hana Brannigan

These versatile veggies can be cooked various ways, which means you don't have to be a great cook to use them in your kitchen. Pop them in your oven dressed in olive oil and rosemary, sauté them or simply enjoy them with hummus. These vitamin A-packed root vegetables support eye vision, combat free radicals that can be damaging to our skin and fight infections in the body. 

4. Mushrooms

cereal, tuber, vegetable, pasture, mushroom
Hana Brannigan

Love them or hate them, it goes without question that mushrooms can go with almost any dish and these edible fungi vary in types. Perhaps you may not have not found the right mushroom for you. Mushrooms help stabilize blood glucose levels, and contain anti-viral properties that can help combat cancers. This savory vegan mushroom burger will convince you that mushrooms are nothing short of delicious.

5. Brussel Sprouts

pasture, vegetable
Hana Brannigan

I didn't eat my first Brussels sprout until 9th grade, but I can honestly say they are quite delicious and absolutely guilt-free no matter what way you choose to eat them. One cup of these adorable baby cabbages contain 160% of your daily dose of vitamin C, which stimulates collagen and elastin production, and boosts metabolism. The vitamin K in Brussels sprouts promote healthy blood clotting and strengthen blood vessels (to get rid of those pesky under eye circles).  Check out these delicious ways to add brussel sprouts to your diet. 

6. Kale

12x kale nice foliage

naturalflow on Flickr

Kale has definitely gained significant popularity in the past few recent years and for a good reason too. You can't go wrong with this superfood. Sauté it, make some kale chips or blend it in a smoothie (a sneaky way to pack in those nutrients). A few of the mighty benefits include immune boosting, cell turnover (helps your skin maintain that glow), UV repellent and strengthening blood vessels. That doesn't even cover half the wonders of kale!

7. Grapefruit 

pink grapefruit

Muffet on Flickr

Not only is grapefruit an enticing snack but it is also rich in health benefits. They are also one of my favorite ways to start my morning. A study shows grapefruit may reduce cholesterol. Lycopene in grapefruit protects the skin from UV damage, and the flavonoids promote blood flow through the body.

8. Kumquats 


misskukoljac on Flickr

Kumquats are one of my personal favorites, especially after a meal. Its sweet outer layer and puckering inside balance this citrus perfectly, and what is even better is there is no wasting the precious skin. 100g of this fruit provide 73% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which are essential in bone formation and regeneration. 

9. Lemon

sliced lemons

_Libby_ on Flickr

A squeeze of lemon can supplement almost any meal. Lemon is also rich in health benefits. Substitute your daily cup of coffee for a glass of lemon water in the morning. Lemon detoxes the liver, contains antiseptic properties in the peel and help to ease digestion. 

10. Rosemary


Tobyotter on Flickr

Enhance any meal with a sprig of fresh rosemary. Not into rosemary? Thyme, cilantro, mint, oregano and sage are also in season and an easy way to upgrade your dish. Rosemary helps memory and boosts mood (a must for finals week); thyme is an anti-inflammatory; cilantro treats insomniamint promotes digestion. Oregano's antimicrobial and antioxidant rich nutrient are great for fighting the cold; and sage boosts memory and improves cognitive function.

Winter is quickly coming to a close so enjoy these foods while they last. If not, no worries. Spring will soon enrich us all with its chromatic, mouthwatering fruits and veggies.