When you eat food, you are not just filling your belly with delicious fuel. These days eating, my favourite past-time, is full of complications. It is not just what you eat that is important but where it came from, who produced it and what impact it has on the environment. It can be a little overwhelming. While being aware of where our food comes from is a huge step towards becoming a mindful-eater and taking charge of our health – there must be a simpler way.
I believe that we can achieve a great deal by eating with the season. That is, eating foods which are in season at the time of consumption. That doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy other foods – of course we can! – however using thisa rule of thumb has many benefits and is oh so in vogue at the moment.
Fresher & Tastier Food
Eating foods in season means that we have the freshest foods available. These have not been sitting in a freezer or refrigerator for weeks, or months in some cases, which means that the structural components of the fruits or vegetable have not been compromised. As your food has been recently harvested and not kept in storage for a long time, the fruit or vege will taste just as it should. Say goodbye to impossibly hard pears, rubbery tomatoes and watery strawberries.
Another benefit of shorter storage periods before purchasing seasonal foods is the fruits and vegetables last so much longer. I have a cauliflower in my fridge that I bought from a local farmers market two weeks ago that still looks, smells and tastes amazing.
Eating seasonal foods also means that you are more likely to shop locally. This benefits your local community and helps to encourage a more sustainable food system by supporting your local producers. Eating seasonal foods from your area also reduced the amount of miles it has to travel, thus saving extra greenhouse gas emissions.
I used to get stuck in a recipe rut, where I pretty much just cooked the same foods over and over again (sound familiar?). Eating seasonal foods encourages you to try different produce, or experiment with one in particular. For example did you know that cauliflower and miso are – in my humble opinion - the best of friends?! Neither did I, until I started experimenting.
Well being & Nutrition
Apart from allowing you to think more creatively in the kitchen, helping the community and eating tasty and fresh foods, eating seasonally just feels good. It might be something to do with the fresh foods being more nutrient rich as they have not been in storage. Eating with the season also means that we will consume different fresh foods depending on the time of year, theseand our bodies will reap the rewards of a varied and nutritious diet.
Green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and asparagus are all in season at the moment and they are perfect for warm spring days and chilly evenings. So, get back to basics and remember how good real fruits and vegetables taste.