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Enjoying Fruits And Vegetables In Season In Rome Is A Treat

This guide to enjoying fruits and vegetables in season in Rome gives you the opportunity to eat well throughout the year and at the peak of their ripeness.


fruits and vegetables in season in Rome - Pears

Pears In Winter


In the US, people prioritize unlimited availability over quality when it comes to fruits and vegetables, and I was as guilty as anyone. I used to want strawberries in the middle of winter, and grapes whenever they were bright red, even if it was snowing outside, regardless of how they tasted. In Italy, eating seasonal fruits and vegetables is the typical way of life. I was looked at with suspicion when I wanted to buy tomatoes in the winter, but since they were available, nobody held  it against me.

What Produce Is Always In Season?

Luckily, there are some foods that you can find all year round, which is important because they are foundational to most dishes in Italy. For example, if you need to make a soffritto, like a mirepoix in French cooking, you can find carrots, onion and celery all year round. In addition, potatoes are available, but the varieties might come and go month to month.


Are There Fruits And Vegetables In Season In Rome In The Winter?

When we go to the public market or to our local produce vendor (fruttivendolo), even in the winter, there is a great selection of seasonal produce to choose from. The full list of seasonal fruits and vegetables in Italy is in the table below. In the winter, the following is a list of vegetables you can most likely find:

  • Beets

  • Artichokes

  • Carrots

  • Broccoli

  • Cauliflower

  • Cabbage

  • Chicory

  • Potatoes

  • Radicchio

  • Turnips

  • Spinach

  • Pumpkins

A couple of these vegetables, like pumpkins, are coming to the end of the season, so they might be a little more difficult to find and they could be of questionable quality.


fruits and vegetables in season in Rome - Potatoes

Potatoes Always Available


What Fruit Is In Season In WInter In Rome?

The winter season is a great time for citrus in Rome. Oranges, clementines, lemons, grapefruit and tangerines are all at peak ripeness. In addition, apples, pears and kiwifruit (kiwi) have a shelf life that extends across winter. These winter seasonal fruits are great in February (this month) and will carry you for the remaining months of winter when some new seasonal winter fruit becomes available.

Why Is It Important To Eat Seasonal Produce?

The biggest reason to eat seasonal fruits and vegetables is that they taste better. Produce used in their seasons is fresher and it tastes better, sweeter and it is perfectly ripe. Most people have experienced that amazing orange in winter or tangy pineapple in summer.


fruits and vegetables in season in Rome - Kiwi

Kiwifruit


When seasonal produce is picked after having been naturally ripened on the vine or the tree, it will have more flavor and nutrition. How many times have you bought grapes or melons in the winter hoping for something delicious, only to be disappointed with a flavorless fruit that probably needed to travel from South America just to get to your grocery store.

When transporting produce, it is harvested early and refrigerated (or frozen) so it doesn’t spoil during transportation. When the seasonal fruits and vegetables get to their destination they then may need to be heated to ripen before going onto the shelves. The problem is that this process negatively impacts the flavor and it changes the texture and the taste. Lack of flavor, a mealy texture and a general lower quality is the result of buying out of season fruits and vegetables.


Rome’s Seasonal Fruit And Vegetable Table

You can use this table as a guide for eating seasonal fruits and vegetables if you are in Rome. As a general guide for shopping consider these tips:

  • As I mentioned above, root vegetables like carrots and potatoes seem to be available during the winter months.

  • Not surprisingly, summer is the best time for most fruits. Melons are a favorite of mine during this time of year.

  • In the fall, Italy is somewhat similar to the US. Harvested fruits like grapes and apples, and vegetables like squash start coming into their season.


fruits and vegetables in season in Rome - Oranges

Winter Oranges



MONTHFRUITVEGETABLES
JANUARYOranges, clementines, kiwis, lemons, tangerines, apples, pears, grapefruitBeets, artichokes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chicory, fennel, potatoes, radicchio, turnips, spinach, pumpkins
FEBRUARYOranges, clementines, kiwis, lemons, tangerines, apples, pears, grapefruitBeets, artichokes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chicory, potatoes, radicchio, turnips, spinach, pumpkins
MARCHOranges, kiwis, lemons, apples, pears, grapefruitAsparagus, beets, artichokes, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, chicory, spring onions, fennel, lettuce, potatoes, radicchio, turnips, celery, spinach
APRILOranges, strawberries, kiwis, lemons, apples, medlars, pears, grapefruitGarlic, asparagus, beets, artichokes, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, spring onions, fennel, lettuce, potatoes, radicchio, radishes, celery, spinach
MAYCherries, strawberries, kiwis, raspberries, apples, melons, loquats, grapefruit, pearsGarlic, asparagus, beets, carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, spring onions, chicory, fennel, lettuce, potatoes, peas, chicory, radishes, celery, spinach
JUNEApricots, black cherries, cherries, figs, strawberries, raspberries, melons, peaches, plumsGarlic, asparagus, beets, artichokes, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, chicory, beans, green beans, broad beans, salads, eggplants, potatoes, peppers, peas, tomatoes, radicchio, radishes, celery, zucchini
JULYApricots, black cherries, watermelon, cherries, figs, strawberries, raspberries, melons, blueberries, peaches, plumsGarlic, beets, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, chicory, beans, green beans, broad beans, salads, eggplants, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, chicory, radishes, celery, zucchini
AUGUSTWatermelons, figs, strawberries, raspberries, apples, melons, blueberries, pears, peaches, plums, grapesGarlic, carrots, cabbage, cucumbers, chicory, beans, lettuce, eggplants, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, radicchio, radishes, celery, pumpkins, zucchini
SEPTEMBERFigs, raspberries, apples, melons, blueberries, pears, peaches, plums, grapesGarlic, beets, carrots, broccoli, cabbage, cucumbers, chicory, beans, green beans, salads, eggplants, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, radicchio, radishes, celery, spinach, pumpkins, zucchini
OCTOBERClementines, persimmons, raspberries, lemons, apples, pears, grapes, chestnutsGarlic, beets, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chicory, fennel, salads, eggplants, potatoes, peppers, chicory, turnips, radishes, celery, spinach, pumpkins
NOVEMBEROranges, chestnuts, clementines, persimmons, kiwis, lemons, tangerines, apples, pears, grapefruit, grapesGarlic, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chicory, fennel, salads, potatoes, radicchio, turnips, celery, spinach, pumpkins
DECEMBEROranges, chestnuts, clementines, persimmons, kiwis, lemons, tangerines, apples, pears, grapefruit, grapesBeets, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chicory, fennel, salads, potatoes, radicchio, turnips, spinach, pumpkins


More Suggestions For Eating Seasonal Fruits And Vegetables In Rome

Once you decide to focus eating fruits and vegetables in season in Rome, you might be looking for some ideas, so here you go:


fruits and vegetables in season in Rome - Artichokes

Artichokes


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