I was just over at the supermarket, and the produce looked uninspiring. But over in the humble root vegetable section, everything looked bright and happy and delicious!
Think about what you’ve got, this time of year. Whole beets, complete with leaves (beet greens are yummy when cooked). Turnips (Neeps with cheeeeeese!). Parsnips (sweet and good!). Rutabagas (haven’t really learned to love those, but I bet they’re good). Whole radishes (and radish greens), and maybe daikon. Ginger and horseradish roots for seasoning. Big huge bundles of leeks, of all things. There’s even fennel bulbs at the luckier grocery stores, for those of us who like that taste. And of course carrots, because we’re spoiled with those all year round. Add potatoes and sweet potatoes and onions and all the winter greens, like kale and collard, and you’ve got some very good food for the making.
(Hopefully you like oxalic acid. For kids who don’t, this time of year can be trying.)
Ethnic and historical cooking is one of your big friends, when it comes to finding recipes for the less popular, cheaper winter root vegetables. Stuff like slow-cooked soups or cooking things in beer or milk or almond milk or wine can take out a lot of the tougher flavors, leaving only the yummy ones. There’s also a lot of chopping tough veggies into very small pieces, and boiling or parboiling or saute/frying them. Cheese works really well with winter cooking, too.
Winter vegetables are full of nutrition and wonderful tastes. You just have to work with their strengths.