How lucky we are to live in a day and age where you can pop down to the local grocery store and buy what fruit or vegetable you feel like, even if it is something out of season or climate. Advancement in food science and technology mean that we can find food that may not always be in season, allowing for a greater amount of variety at the local super market.
To eat seasonally means to eat produce naturally grown during their peak cycle. It not only allows us to live more in tune with the natural rhythm of the earth, but there are a myriad of benefits that go alongside this practice. For example, fruit or veg grown during its peak season is cheaper to grow and can often result in an abundant harvest, which helps lower the cost per unit. In addition to this, it tastes much better and doesn’t require added chemicals for preservation. This can also apply to meat. Lamb season is usually in the spring time in most countries, whilst beef, chicken and pork have a fairly continuous supply year round. So, what can we do to start eating more seasonally today? Here are my top 3 tips:
1. Know what’s in Season
Knowing what’s in season is better for your bank balance and will ensure you get the most out of your produce flavour wise and nutrition wise!
When produce is grown in season, they are picked at their prime. When they are allowed to develop naturally, they are also picked at their nutritional prime, which means you are more likely to enjoy the full nutritional benefits of your fruit and veg, as well as the taste! Macro nutrients found in fruit and veg, such as vitamins, can be sensitive to changes in temperature or other stimuli. This means that produce that has been shipped or imported from another location may not be as packed with goodness as it could be. A little bit of knowing in this area is not only beneficial for your wallet, but for your health too!
2. Buy from a local market
Supporting local farmers and artisans is not only good for the economy, but it helps to foster a mindful approach to food by seeing where the food you are eating, preparing and cooking comes from. This is really good if you have kids, as it gives them a chance to learn about their food in a sustainable and meaningful way. It also gives you the chance to have a chat to local farmers, perhaps barter a little, and increase awareness of whats in season or available.
If you are close to an area that allows for seasonal activities like fruit picking, this is another great way to align towards a seasonal mindset. Plus, it's active, great value, and lots of fun!
3. Meal plan accordingly
I like to think that Mother Nature helps accommodate our needs throughout the year by providing fruit and veg in each season and climate appropriate to our needs for each season and climate. For example, an abundance of citrus fruit during the colder months helps to provide a much needed boost of vitamin C to help support immunity. Summer time often sees fruit and veg with a higher water content, such as melons and cucumbers, to help keep us hydrated and cool. I encourage you to embrace this knowledge and use what's available to you to your advantage. Use this to create meals that are familiar to you, and maybe get a little creative and try something new, or adapt a family favourite with what's in season? A little thought, preparation, and courage to try new things can be all that's needed to harness what's available to you during each season, and to get the most out of your produce.