Why eating seasonally is about more than just the cost.
Eat local. Eat what’s in season. Eat organic. Confused by multiple messages about what to eat and when to buy it?
There is something quite comforting about thinking that everything in the universe happens at the time that it’s supposed to happen and that applies for the food that we grow too. Eating seasonal produce is so much more than just another food trend. So why is seasonal food better?
Let’s begin with flavour. Freshly picked produce has the optimal flavor – it’s crispy, fragrant, juicy and colorful. Seasonally fresh produce is picked when ripe and fully developed. The plant has had more sun exposure, which means it will have higher levels of antioxidants!
Simple supply and demand – when produce is in season, the abundance of the crop usually makes it less expensive. Seasonal food is much cheaper to produce for the farmers too. Seasonal produce can grow without much added human assistance. It’s also more likely to be locally produced as well, which reduces the load on our environment, due to transport or ‘food mileage’.
Getting to know where your food is coming from, who is growing your food and how they do it also makes you feel more connected to that whole process. We can live in balance with our surroundings. Embracing the natural rhythm of things also helps simplify our lives.
Several varieties of aubergines are grown all around the world and they vary greatly in size, shape, and color. Generally, aubergines fall into two broad categories, either oval shaped, or thin and elongated. The plant reaches about 3-4 feet tall quite quickly and bears many bright fruits. Each fruit has smooth, glossy skinnternally, it has an off-white color pulp with numerous centrally arranged small, soft seeds. Fruits are generally harvested when they reach maturity but just short of full stage ripeness.
Beetroot evolved from wild seabeet which is a native of coastlines from India to Britain. A bright purple root that adds a great splash of colour to roasted root veg.The pigments that give beets their rich colors are called betalains. Beets are perfect for summer salads or roasted in olive oil in the oven. And if you haven’t tried fresh beetroot juice you may be pleasantly surprised at how subtle it is, plus it’s full of antioxidants too. Beets are at their prime in July, August, September.
Spinach is available all year-round, but the freshest, tenderest spinach is picked in Summer – July and August. Spinach is so rich in its phytonutrient content and is an excellent source of other antioxidant nutrients — including vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A. If you’re buying it fresh make sure you wash it well and dry the leaves out before using. Spinach cooks down – a lot – a tightly packed cup of raw spinach makes less than 1/2 cup cooked.
British blueberries are available from June till September and the start of the season usually features the Duke variety. If you’re lucky to be growing them, they will be ready for picking in late July-mid August. Don’t rush to pick the berries as soon as they turn blue. Wait a couple days. When they are ready, they should fall off right into your hand.