Find inspiration and ideas for seasonal cooking for January including lists of produce to buy, what to use up, and simple seasonal eating recipes for meal planning.
PLUS grab free printable menu planning pages to help you focus on cooking through the seasons.
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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.
January has to be one of the hardest months for eating seasonally. February probably runs a close second.
Wait. On second thought, maybe February is the hardest.
I know that's when, to me at least, it's felt like winter has been long enough that I cave and buy a red pepper or a hard store tomato out of desperation. Sigh.
January or February- let's just call it even. Both will have short in-season produce lists.
Seasonal Cooking for January
So, how do you eat seasonally in the winter?
Take advantage of winter staples like mushrooms, potatoes, onions, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash and garlic.
Add them to soups, stews and one-pot dishes for comforting cold weather meals.
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 January 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.
Note: If you're already a subscriber, you can find this in the VIP library!
January Seasonal Eating
So, what recipes can we make in January and still try to eat seasonally?
Well, soups for one - they're warming and easy to make with canned and frozen produce.
Stews and casseroles are a couple other that are comforting and filling during the colder months.
In all these options your pantry and freezer will shine, whether it's stocked with garden canned and frozen produce or store bought.
Frozen food is preserved at it's prime, so you get all the nutritional benefits and flavor of the technically out-of-season vegetables and fruits. The texture isn't often the same, which is why they are great for soups, stews and baked recipes.
Seasonal Produce for January
In Season Fruit
- Apples (stored)
- Citrus (lemon, orange, grapefruit)
In Season Vegetables
- Brussels Sprouts
- Carrots/Parsnips (stored)
- 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 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
- Frozen chopped sweet and hot peppers
- Dried fruit like Italian Plums
- Dried herbs
Seasonal Eating Recipes for January
This soup is ready in about 30 minutes and can be made with home canned or store bought tomatoes. Paired with grilled cheese sandwiches, it's a perfect comfort food meal.
One of the easiest soups to make, chicken noodle soup is also thought to help colds. I for one know it's wonderful to have when you're not feeling well!
Slow cookers and Instant Pots are perfect to use this month, too, especially if it's a one-pot recipe like this yummy soup. Add bread and dinner is ready when you are.
Here's a different take on chicken soup - add corn, chilis and other Mexican spices. Creamy and so flavorful, I like to serve this with corn chips or warmed corn tortillas.
A simple, healthy recipe that surprises you with just how GOOD it is! Excellent served with:
This bread is made quickly in a food processor, and then can wait in your fridge until you want to bake it fresh or leave it to rise couple hours. Our family affectionately calls it, "the bread you can't stop eating." Pretty much says it all.
If you'd like a quicker bread to go with soup try:
My favorite biscuit recipe is the one I go to - it's easy, done in about 30 minutes, and tastes wonderful!
What kind of meals do you make in the depths of January?
Looking for more seasonal cooking for January?
Check out these January Dinner Menu Ideas for four weeks of easy entrees and sides!
Originally published in January of 2012, this article has been completely updated to be more relevant and useful - enjoy!