"For me, anytime you have something that's seasonal and plentiful, it's more affordable," says Lucinda Scala Quinn, host of Hallmark Channel's "Mad Hungry" and author of "Mad Hungry: Feeding Men & Boys."
All types of citrus are at the top of her list for December. "Tangerines, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, limes, clementines." They're versatile; from quick snacks to breakfast juices to cocktails, she says. And candied zest or marmalade can make great gifts, too, Quinn says.
Nuts, both shelled and in the shell, are good buys this month. You can dress them up or down, depending on your needs, she says. They're great in holiday cookies -- which make great gifts, she says.
Holiday dinner party? Make the last course a selection of good chocolates, clementines and nuts in the shell, complete with nutcrackers, says Quinn.
Try chestnuts, which usually are only available this time of year. They're equally good in savory stuffings or sweet mousses, she says. "And chestnut soup is delicious."
Pomegranates, Jerusalem artichokes and "hearty greens," such as kale, mustard greens, chard and collard greens, are in season this month, she says.