Winter Superfoods for a Fresh New Year
As far as words go, “superfood” can be a confusing one. While it generally refers to foods especially rich in healthy compounds—like antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals—the term doesn’t have a universally accepted definition.
But at Good Eggs, we define it as food that’s local, organic, in-season, nutritious, and good for you—if that’s not super, what is? If you’re looking for some fresh inspiration for the new year, check out these lesser-known winter harvest delights.
And while you may never have heard about some of these seasonal secrets, you can incorporate them into your weekly meal routine with next to no extra planning, making them great picks for those of you hoping to start the year with a variety of new flavors.
Pomelos are similar to grapefruits, but sweeter and milder, though there are several varieties all with distinct flavors. The Tahitian Sarawak pomelo, for example, is sweet and lime-like (in other words: perfect for margaritas). A single serving of this fruit has nearly double the recommended daily amount of vitamin C. They’re also high in fiber and potassium. Incorporating pomelos into your winter citrus rotation is as easy as chopping and adding them to salads or salsas. And despite their thick rinds, you can still peel pomelos like oranges for a juicy snack anytime.
King Trumpet Mushrooms
Adored by chefs for their versatility and depth of savory flavor, king trumpet mushrooms are packed with nutrients. Nearly a third of their calories come from protein, and they’re a great source of vitamins and minerals, including everything from magnesium and zinc to riboflavin and vitamin B. They can be sautéed, tossed in oil and grilled, or added to braises and stews. And don’t forget to eat the stem! Unlike other mushrooms, it’s just as tasty and nutritious as the cap, and can even be cut into “scallops” and cooked like seafood thanks to its meaty texture.
These sweet and tangy tropical fruits are in season only for a short time here in California. They have twice as much vitamin C as oranges, and are loaded with minerals and antioxidants. The fuzzy skin, similar to a peach, is edible and a good source of fiber (as is the fruit itself). To eat kiwis, just cut them in half and spoon out the flesh to enjoy the simplest fruit cup you’ve ever had. They’re also a flavorful addition to smoothies, and work well in chutneys and sauces as a counterpoint to rich meats.
A lot of people associate microgreens with Michelin stars and celebrity chefs, but these nutritional powerhouses make just as much sense to eat at home. Aromatic, crisp, and surprisingly flavorful, microgreens can be tossed on top of just about anything. And don’t be fooled by their puniness—they have up to 40 times more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than mature vegetables. Put them on salads, tacos, pizzas, and avocado toast, or in sandwiches and burgers. You can even use your favorite microgreen in place of cilantro (sunflower greens work great here) when whipping up your next batch of guacamole.
Just like tomatillos, Cape gooseberries are tart and covered in a papery husk, but their sweetness is more akin to a strawberry or pineapple. Inside these gift-wrapped fruits you’ll find lots of vitamin A and C, as well as beta-carotene, potassium, and fiber. They also contain plenty of pectin, making them ideal for jams and jellies. But cape gooseberries are usually eaten raw, chopped and added to salsas, dipped in chocolate, or served caprese-style, with burrata or mozzarella, basil, and balsamic vinegar.
Technically a brassica like broccoli and cauliflower, spigariello is sweet, peppery and more tender than kale. You’ll often hear this esoteric green compared to broccoli rabe. It’s a fantastic source of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids, and like most greens, it’s easy to work into your meals. Sauté spigariello in olive oil with garlic and red chili flakes, braise it in stock, add it to soups, or eat it raw on pizzas, sandwiches, and salads.
Yes, you’ll want to use gloves when handling raw nettles to prevent being stung by their trichomes, but that’s no reason to avoid them entirely. Similar to spinach, but earthier and nuttier, these prickly greens are rich in vitamin A and C, iron, potassium, and calcium. They can be composed of up to 25 percent protein by dry weight, and they’re quick and easy to prepare—just don’t eat them raw. Try sautéing them in butter, adding them to marinara sauce or to soups and stews, and folding them into eggs. Cooked nettles also make a delicious pesto or salsa verde.
Looking for some more traditional options? While serving sides of sweet potatoes, carrots and kale may not be as avant-garde as sautéing stinging nettles, these and other popular produce staples are plenty nutritious themselves, so don’t be shy about turning to old standbys. And regardless of whether something is labeled a “superfood” or not, consistently incorporating foods like fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants is a good idea not just in January, but all year long.