Throughout the warmer months of the year locally grown fresh vegetables decorate the plates of countless families across the United States, and there are some types of vegetables that can help extend this diet throughout the winter. For many people, a drop in temperatures typically initiates a drop in food standards as people begin to buy frozen or imported warm-weather vegetables. However, the vegetables discussed here thrive specifically during the winter growing season. Many of these plants are especially notable because of the health benefits associated with consuming them. These vegetables include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
Broccoli in particular contains essential vitamins and nutrients such as fiber, folic acid (vitamin B9), riboflavin (vitamin B2), as well as vitamins C, B6, and A. Of the three classified types of broccoli, the purple sprouting variety grows particularly well when planted 4 to 6 weeks before the first frost and left to mature throughout the winter, over which time auxiliary or side shoots of the main stalk may be harvested.
Although they are characterized by a slightly longer growth period then broccoli, Brussels sprouts, which should be planted 12 weeks (approximately 90 days) prior to the first frost, are also undeniably good for you. This frost-resistant vegetable can survive temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit while still maintaining high concentrations of vitamins C and A as well as potassium, iron, and fiber.
A vegetable on the same growth schedule as Brussels sprouts, kale, maintains the ability to survive temperatures as low as 5 degrees Fahrenheit by allowing sugar to infiltrate the water held in the leaves of the plant, lowering its freezing temperature. The associated sweetness of this frost-friendly vegetable is coupled with high levels of calcium, iron, vitamins A, C, and K and a beta-carotene concentration seven times higher other related vegetables.
The arrival of the first frost no longer needs to be associated with mediocre produce as there are several varieties of winter vegetables that can be grown across the country and have unparalleled health benefits.