Seasonal Eating: Foods to Embrace this Summer
Most of us look forward to the summer months, our taste buds waiting impatiently for the first mangoes to hit the stores. Then it’s the other ‘stones’: peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, plus melons and strawberries. It seems that in the case of summer fruits we instinctively know what’s in season.
Switch to vegetables, though, and it’s interesting we don’t seem to have the same innate knowledge of what’s in or out of season. In actual fact, summer sees an influx of bountiful vegetables such as beans, cucumbers, beetroot, capsicum, chillies, eggplant, mushrooms, okra, pumpkin, squash, tomatoes, zucchini and basil. Please refer to your seasonal guide .
Either way, whether you’re more excited about fruits or vegetables, the important point is there are wonderful benefits to eating seasonally.
Here are 5:
- Cost – seasonal local food are cheaper because it’s much easier for the farmers to produce than out of season fruit and vegetables, and also because it’s plentiful.
- Taste – fresh, locally harvested foods are rich and ripe in flavour because they haven’t been shipped in from another part of the world (which requires them to be harvested early, refrigerated so they don’t rot during transportation, and then held in a warehouse )
- Nutrition – Fresh is best because nutrients begin to be lost soon after produce is harvested. As produce travels long distances and then stored in warehouses the nutritional value decreases. Also, if harvested early for travel, produce loses its vitamin content and nutritional potential.
- Greener – The transport of produce over long distances increases greenhouse gas emissions and it pollutes our atmosphere. Also, produce harvested early and which needs to travel distances, often suffers aesthetically, so preservatives, chemical ripening agents and waxes are used to make them look more attractive.
- Local – buying fresh, locally grown produce supports local producers and agriculture.
So you can see that eating seasonally is a great way to increase your connection to the earth and your community, as well as improve your health. To optimise these benefits, try to choose organic as much as possible and focus on eating locally. Increasingly, people are choosing to grow their own which is ideal, but if you are like me and have a brown thumb, farmers markets are the next best thing. Or, you can join a community co-op in your area.
So why not reward yourself with what’s in season and get yourself acquainted with your local farmers market this week?
I promise it will be full of luscious, nutritious, delicious and cost-effective produce that will help you on your path to achieving a healthful and happy life!