What’s in season: Though you can buy orange carrots at the supermarket any time of the year, winter is the best season to find the root vegetables because the cold weather makes for crisper, sweeter roots. Winter is also when you’ll find a rainbow of colors and varieties, from deep Purple Haze and rich scarlet; to stubby orange Nantes, a variety prized for its sweet, mild flavor and crisp texture; and even ivory White Satin.
What to cook: Carrots can be prepared in almost any way. Enjoy carrots raw as a snack or added to a slaw or salad. Blanch the roots, then sauté with butter and fresh herbs for a simple side. Roast or stew the vegetables, the long cooking will bring out the root’s sweeter notes. You can even throw carrots on the grill and deepen their flavor with subtle, smoky notes. While thicker, older carrots will need to be peeled before using, tender young carrots need only a light scrubbing before adding to a dish. And if you happen to buy a bunch with the tops attached, use them as a substitute for greens in pesto or another sauce.
What’s on the horizon: A variety of avocados are beginning to show up, including smooth, green Fuertes and dark, pebbly Hass. You can also find mounds of micro-greens and baby lettuces.