What is Seasonal Eating?
The wonderful thing about the modern world is that we can get anything at any time. Sushi in the countryside? Gotcha. Thai limes in London? Of course. It’s an amazing thing that we can do so much.
However, have you ever thought of eating what’s available right now, rather than searching far and wide for non-seasonal produce?
This is called seasonal eating, and it’s the act of eating the fresh foods only in season where you’re living. In the ancient Indian practice of ayurveda, there is a special term for eating seasonally: ritucharya.
The concept of ritucharya explains what to eat during each season to maintain health and prevent disease. Although the seasons and foods included are specific to the Indian subcontinent, the philosophy still applies no matter where you live.
What Are The Benefits of Seasonal Eating?
Imagine eating an apple fresh off the tree that day! Naturally ripened fruits and vegetables grown and picked in season are typically full of flavor and nutrients. Don’t believe me? Take a trip to your local farmers market for a taste.
2. More Nutrients
Foods grown out of season can’t follow normal growing and ripening cycles. Altering your food to follow the seasons leads to a greater variety in your diet and a wider range of nutrients and minerals. Items that are flown thousands of miles lose some of their nutritional and vitamin value!
3. No Preservatives
When foods are grown out of season, they aren’t able to follow their natural growing and ripening rhythms. In order for certain fruits and vegetables to be available year-round, post-harvest treatments, known as ripening agents, are used. These include chemicals, gases, and heat processes. Some produce is also coated with an edible film to protect it.
4. Smaller Carbon Footprint
Think about it: how far did the apple or pear you bought at your local grocery store travel before it was stocked on the shelves? Did it come from your local farmer, or did it arrive by aeroplane? Most of us give little thought to the effects of this long-distance travel on not only the nutritional value of our food and the costs but also the environmental impact, including fuel emissions. You can do your bit for the environment just by eating seasonally!
5. Better Value
When a fruit or vegetable is in season there’s lots of it and not surprisingly, it’s available at a lower price. For example, summer is berry season, so that’s why strawberries and other berries are so cheap during the summer – if you bought imported strawberries in the winter, you’ll pay a higher price!
What Is Best To Eat By Season?
Here is a quick guide to show you what is in season at the correct time…a lot of choice!
A great time for soups when the weather is just starting to heat up. Try cabbage, leeks and celery. For fruits, pomegranates and rhubarb are fantastic!
Berry season! Strawberries, raspberries and cherries are abundant here, so go for it and include them in smoothies and in your oatmeal. Other summer veg is ready, such as carrots, asparagus and courgettes make a lovely summer salad.
Winter berries such as blackberries and gooseberries are in season, to make an amazing warming pie. Start creating warming soups and join PSL season with butternut squash and pumpkins.
Keep warm with root vegetables such as sweet potatoes, parsnips and swede. Add some locally sourced beef and dumplings and you’ve got a beautiful winter stew!
What do you think and would you try seasonal eating? Let us know!