1. Turnips

    Hearty turnips are a classic British winter veg that are in plentiful supply at this time of year. Winter turnips have a peppery flavor that is perfect in warming casseroles, stews and easy one-pot dishes. For something different, try grating them into crispy rostis and serving with a spicy mayo for an easy vegetarian meal. Turnips can also be roasted until caramelised and matched with more bold winter flavours – try pairing with Stilton in a substantial salad.

  2. Carrots

    This colourful root vegetable is brilliantly versatile – it can be eaten raw or cooked, and is great in both sweet and savoury dishes. Carrots were most often purple until the late 16th century, when the familiar orange variety we eat today was cultivated by Dutch farmers. Grate into carrot, cumin and peanut butter veggie burgers, try baked herby carrots for a simple side or blitz up a colourful carrot, ginger and turmeric soup for a warming midweek dinner.

  3. Red cabbage

    This tightly packed, red-purple brassica has a crisp, peppery flavour. Keep the colour locked in during cooking by adding a dash of vinegar for the most vibrant results. Red cabbage is also delicious raw – shred it before adding to slaws and salads such as this vibrant red cabbage and kale salad with tahini dressing. Serve this bold red cabbage with thyme and caraway butter alongside a Sunday roast, or try a baked red cabbage, bacon and potato hash for a hearty winter brunch.

  4. Pomegranate

    Jewel-like pomegranate seeds are extremely versatile and add a burst of sweetness to everything they're added to. Choose pomegranates with smooth, shiny skin which are heavy for their size – they'll be juicier. To remove the seeds, cut in half and, using a wooden spoon, bash the back of the pomegranate over a bowl. Pomegranate seeds can be added as a bright finishing touch to all sorts of salads, tagines and side dishes but can also star on their own – try this pretty pomegranate cake or a sparkling non-alcoholic cranberry and pomegranate punch.

  5. Sweet potatoes

    These versatile orange spuds have become a popular storecupboard staple. Sweet potatoes can be treated in the same way as white potatoes and are great for baking, roasting and mashing. Swap a basic jacket potato for these loaded sweet baked potato skins, filled with spicy beans and cheese. For simple sides, try smashed garlic and parmesan potatoes or delicate shoestring fries. Or for a dish with wow-factor, go for this sweet potato, thyme and Parmesan flower tart.

  6. Satsumas and tangerines

    Bright citrus fruits bring fresh colour to winter tables, and satsumas and tangerines are at their seasonal peak in November and into December. Perfect for lunchboxes and easy snacks, these juicy fruits are also worth cooking with. Try this colourful prosecco and tangerine sorbet with red berries for a smart party dessert, slice into a batch of mulled vermouth for a Christmas cocktail or feed a crowd with a zesty tangerine meringue pie.

  7. Beetroot

    Sweet and earthy in flavour and a beautiful, vibrant purple in colour, beetroot is extremely versatile. Wash your hands as soon as you've finished preparing beetroot, as the purple juice can stain your fingers. Add beetroot to a range of dishes – bake into a bold beetroot tarte tatin for Christmas, or for something simpler try this beetroot carpaccio for an easy starter. For everyday, try an easy cod, lentil and beetroot traybake ready in 30 mins.

  8. Horseradish

    Fresh horseradish root gives dishes a deliciously fiery kick. Although traditionally eaten in a creamy sauce with beef, horseradish also works well with fish or earthy vegetables such as beetroot. When cooking with horseradish, add it towards the end to ensure it keeps its punchy flavour. Use it in these crisp, fiery potato, horseradish and spring onion rosti as an alternative roast dinner side dish.