What's in Season in December?

An A to Z List of December Fruits and Vegetables

pile of tangerines
Photo © Verdina Anna/Getty Images

Sure, there are plenty of places where markets shut down by November, yet between public interest, hoop houses, and other methods of extending the growing season, as well as fall produce that's designed to keep into winter, more and more markets are staying open later into the year.

If you're lucky enough to have an open farmers market in your neck of the woods, look for these fruits and vegetables when December rolls around.

(Wrong season? See the summer, spring, winter, or general seasonality guides for in-season produce all year long.)

Apples store well, so even though the harvest season is over, if you live somewhere where apples are grown, they will be on offer from storage in December.

Beets are the most colorful of root vegetables, and like all roots, they store even better than apples. In warmer and temperate areas, beets will be harvested in December; in cooler places they are available from storage.

Belgian Endive are mostly "forced" to grow in artificial conditions. Their traditional season (when grown in fields and covered with sand to keep out the light), like that of all chicories, is late fall and winter.

Broccoli can be grown year-round in temperate climates so we've forgotten it even has a season. It is sweeter and less bitter when harvested in the cooler temperatures of late fall and early winter in most climates.

Broccoli Raabe / Rapini is a more bitter, leafier vegetable than its cousin, broccoli, but likes similar cool growing conditions.

Brussels Sprouts grow on a stalk, and if you see them for sale that way snap them up—they'll last quite a bit longer than once they're cut.

Cabbage is bright and crisp when raw and mellows and sweetens the longer it's cooked. The cooler the weather when it's harvested, the sweeter it tends to taste (this effect is called "frost kissed").

Carrots are harvested year-round in temperate areas and locally grown carrots are often available from storage through early winter even in colder climates.

Cauliflower may be grown, harvested, and sold year-round, but it is by nature a cool weather crop and at its best in fall and winter (and into early spring in warmer places).

Celeriac/Celery Root is at its best in the cooler months of late fall and winter.

Celery is at its best in the fall, with its harvest continuing through winter in warm and temperate climates.

Chard like all cooking greens, chard turns bitter when it gets too hot. It can be at its best in December in temperate areas.

Chicories are cool weather crops that come into season in late fall and last in warmer and temperate climates through early spring.

Clementines are the first citrus fruits to come into season. Sometimes you'll see them in time for Thanksgiving, but they arrive droves where they grow come early December.

Cranberries, native to North America, and are harvested in New England and the Upper Midwest in the fall and are sold​ fresh into December.

Curly Endive (Frisée) is a chicory, at its best in fall and winter.

Escarole is another chicory at its best in fall and winter.

Fennel has a natural season from fall through early spring. Like most cool weather crops, the plant bolts and turns bitter in warmer weather. Look for it in December if you live in a warmer or temperate climate.

Horseradish is at its best in fall and winter. Like so many other root vegetables, however, it stores well and is often available in decent shape well into spring.

Jerusalem Artichokes / Sunchokes are brown nubs, that look a bit like small pieces of fresh ginger. Look for firm tubers with smooth, tan skins in fall and winter.

Kale is like all hearty cooking greens - cooler weather keeps it sweet.

Kohlrabi (late fall) comes into season by the end of fall but stays at its sweet best into winter.

Leeks more than about 1 1/2 inches wide tend to have tough inner cores. The top green leaves should look fresh - avoid leeks with wilted tops.

Onions come from storage all year round but most onions are harvested in late summer through the fall.

Oranges & Tangerines make it to markets in warmer climates in late November and tend to start to pile up come December (hence the old-fashioned practice of giving children an orange in their Christmas stocking).

Parsnips look like white carrots and have a great nutty flavor. Look for thinner parsnips, since fatter ones tend to have a thick, woody core you need to cut out.

Pears have a season that runs from mid-summer well into winter, depending on the variety and region.

Persimmons are available for a short window in the fall and early winter - look for bright, heavy-feeling fruits into December.

Pomegranates only ripen in warmer climates. They are in season starting in October and are usually available fresh through December.

Potatoes are excellent storage vegetables. Most varieties are harvested in the fall but available from local growers from storage through December (and later).

Quinces area most under-appreciated fruit. Bright and tart, quince jellies and desserts are a fall and early winter favorite.

Radicchio, like all chicories, radicchio is more sweet and less bitter when the weather is cool.

Radishes (all types) are so fast-growing that they can be sown several times during the growing season in most climates. Fall marks the end of the season for small red radishes and the beginning of the season for larger daikon-type radishes, and they really come into their own in December.

Rutabagas ​— also known as "yellow turnips" and "Swedes" — are a sweet, nutty root vegetables perfect in stews, roasted, or mashed with plenty of butter.

Shallots are harvested in late summer and into fall. They are at their sweetest when fresh.

Spinach, indeed, has a season. It varies with your climate - year-round in temperate areas, summer and fall in cooler areas, fall through spring in warmers regions.

Sweet Potatoes are often sold as "yams." They store well and are available from local sources year-round in warmer areas; from late summer through winter other places.

Turnips have a sharp but bright and sweet flavor. Look for turnips that feel heavy for their size.

Winter Squash of all sorts comes into season in early fall and usually last well into winter, with plenty available when December rolls around.