Find inspiration and ideas for seasonal cooking for December including lists of produce to buy, what to use up, and simple seasonal eating recipes for meal planning.
PLUS grab a free printable menu planning page to help you focus on cooking through the seasons.
This article is part of a year-long series on how to cook seasonal foods for each month as a resource for meal planning, saving money, and helping the environment.
Each month of the seasonal cooking series includes:
- What's in season for that month.
- What you may have in your freezer and pantry to use up if you preserve food.
- Favorite recipes using seasonal produce from An Oregon Cottage to help you plan to eat seasonally.
- A free printable weekly menu planner for the month with areas to record what's in season for you and what you have to use up!
You can find all the months of this seasonal eating series here.
While it seems very winter-like with dark evenings, foggy mornings, rain, and even snow in some areas, it's still fall according to the calendar. And the seasonal food reflects that with many of the same foods from November still in season.
You can read the first section of this month for answers to the questions, "What is seasonal cooking," "Why is easting seasonal important" - and a big caution we need to take into account for eating "seasonally."
Here are tips to help you eat more seasonally and use this resource page with the free printable meal planner:
- Use the lists and recipes you find here for August to make a menu according to what you are harvesting/buying.
- Harvest from your own garden or visit farmer's markets for the produce you need.
- OR use the shopping lists when super market shopping, noting the sales in the produce aisle.
- Try new things that are in season.
- Add any new recipes you like and keep them in a binder to cycle through the following season.
It's easy to lose track of produce's seasonality since most are carried all year long in stores - use this resource article and the free printable weekly menu planning page to help:
Download the menu page, print it out, and use it to write down the seasonal foods you need to use and buy, as well as the recipes you'll make that week.
PRO TIP: Keep all of these through a year and you'll have a custom seasonal menu binder you can refer to year after year!
Note: If you're already a subscriber, you can find this in the VIP library!
December Seasonal Eating
In December we are still eating many fall foods, while starting to depend on winter staples such as cabbage, carrots, and parsnips.
I love making soups and stews in the winter - they are warm, comforting, and easy dishes to include seasonal and frozen produce.
This month is also a busy month, so using tools like slow cookers and instant pots can really help - which makes it nice because they are perfect for making those soups and stews!
The recipes I'm highlighting, then, for December not only use seasonal foods but also are easy and healthy which are two things this month calls for, right?
Seasonal Produce for December
Fruit That Is In Season
- Apples (stored)
Vegetables That Are In Season
- Garlic (stored)
- Onions (stored)
- Potatoes (stored)
- Winter Squash (stored)
- Yams/Sweet Potatoes
- Tomato products (Roasted Tomato Sauce, Addictive Chutney, canned plain tomatoes, seasoned sauce and garden salsa)
- Frozen corn and frozen green beans
- Frozen blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries
- Pickled foods: cucumbers, beans, and asparagus
- Sauces and condiments: Plum sauce, chutneys, jams, etc.
- Oil-packed dried tomatoes
- Chopped, frozen sweet and hot peppers
- Dried plums
Seasonal Eating Recipes For December
Perfect for using up leftover turkey, this is the soup that is probably the comfort food most think of, right?
Sausage Bean Soup with Spinach & Tomatoes (slow cooker or Instant Pot)
This cooks most of the day and is ready for dinner when you are. The tomato base and spinach make this almost a one dish dinner, though I do like to add a plate of cut up veggies along with bread.
Quick Cajun Beef on Spiced Potatoes (Stovetop + Broiler)
So easy to make and so flavorful - don't skip the yogurt/sour cream topping - this is a perfect busy season meal. Serve with a simple green salad.
Chicken chili made healthy with a tomato base and more vegetables. Serve with chips and salsa or quesadillas.
When you need an easy side dish that will surprise everyone with its amazing flavor, these simple baked carrots is the one.
Of course pie can be made any time of the year, but pie at the holidays is special, so make it extra special with this mouthwatering recipe. Plus, it's so easy!
What do you like to make in December?
Don't forget to download and print out your free seasonal meal planning page:
Originally published in December of 2011, this article has been completely updated to be more relevant and useful - enjoy!