The best chefs in the world will tell you that seasonal eating is better for flavour and quality. After all, you’re not going to get a better summer fruit pudding than in the summertime. And you’re not going to get better pumpkin soup than around Halloween.
But having a seasonal palate goes far beyond just taste. Shopping for the season is also better for the environment, and much better for your family’s health too. So whilst it can be tricky for those who really crave sprouts in July or strawberries at Christmas, seasonal diets are a win-win for you and the planet.
Benefits of Seasonal Eating
Selecting seasonal fruits, vegetables, fish and meat over out of season produce is one of the most sustainable ways to consume food. Some of the benefits include:
- Reduced energy used to grow unseasonal food
- Less impact on fuel consumption in order to transport the produce from long distance
- Lower CO2 emissions due to reduced food miles
- Minimise the use of destructive mass agriculture systems
In addition to the amazing environmental advantages of seasonal eating, shopping responsibly will also help to improve the local and national economy. By buying in-season goods, you are supporting local businesses and farmers. And by buying British, you are doing your bit to improve the economy of the country.
The good news for you is that you won’t be paying premium prices for out of season groceries, meaning you get to make a saving.
Seasonal Eating and Your Health
On top of living a more sustainable and responsible lifestyle (and also saving a few quid each year), eating seasonally is the most nutritious way to feed your family. With the numerous health warnings about pesticides, metal in our water, mercury in seafood, hormones in chickens and genetically modified crops, it’s important to do what we can to obtain vital nutrients from food.
Seasonal produce is fresh and packed with essential vitamins and all the nutritional goodness that simply isn’t as prominent for out of season food. In addition to more nutrients, seasonal ingredients will have so much more flavour. Fruit and vegetables are often sweeter and taste much fresher at the right time of year.
Seasonal Eating Tips
Eating for the season means that you need to educate yourself about the veggies and local produce available every month.
Some easy tips to follow:
- Shop at local farmers markets
- Ask your local green grocer about seasonal varieties
- Pay attention to food prices (if it’s overpriced, it’s likely to be out of season)
- Preserve seasonal vegetables in the freezer (they can keep from 8-10 months)
- Plan your menu every season to stay organised
- Grow your own veggies in the garden each year
- Make jams, pickles, sauces and preserves with leftover produce
If you need guidance on what produce is available when, this useful table below is a great place to start. It provides a clear overview of the best fruit and veg, fish and seafood, meat and local produce that is abundant from January to December.
The great thing about seasonal eating is the way it can encourage you to experiment with new recipes – dishes that you and your family may not have tried before. And with variety in our diets being one of the most important healthy eating habits, seasonal food can really be beneficial to you and your loved ones for generations to come.
Read also: Top 14 Powerful Fruits Boost Immune System