Buying in season: do you do it? You should. If you’re at the grocery store picking up peaches from Peru instead of honing in on the local goodness, keep reading.Choosing produce in season a great option, not just for supporting farmers, but also because they taste better and are much cheaper.
Sometimes, this isn’t easy. In the winter, for example, we don’t always have much to choose from, so this is when we want to take advantage of the goodness we have now, in the summer months, and make them last even longer. Canning and freezing are excellent options, however, we don’t always have the time (or ambition) to get the job done.
This is when you want to opt for the high-quality frozen, canned, and jarred produce, or heading to local farmers and seeing what they’ve preserved and froze.
While all winter we can still enjoy some seasonal choices, such as citrus fruits, pomegranates, winter squashes, spinach, cabbages, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, kale, parsnips, beets, Swiss chard, and others, we look forward to having much more choice in the warmer months.
Flavour-wise, seasonal, fresh produce tastes the best. In the summer months, we can enjoy loads of berries and stone fruits, along with vegetables such as fresh peas, green beans, asparagus and more. Not only that, they’re filled with extra nutrition, too: frozen and canned vegetables are good options in the winter, as they tend to be picked at their nutritional peak. Just keep your eyes open for added salt and sugar.
Once you take your pick, freeze the extras–freezing maintains flavor better than canning, but be aware that it can change the texture. However, some have other used and the texture isn’t necessary; for example, frozen berries make for good smoothies and on cereal, but don’t hold up in their original form. Frozen vegetables work well in stews, braises, and soups.
Eating seasonally also benefits, often, the local economy, because we want to eat from our local farmers. In general, many growers use plenty of pesticides, and imported produce has more residue. The reason we want to opt for seasonal goods is because often, out of season, it is imported items on the shelves.
Even better, buying in season is far cheaper. This summer, check out the farmers who have too many tomatoes, and a bushel will make you sauce that will last you all winter long. Do the same with strawberries, blanch and freeze some green beans, and take the time to whip up batches of your favourite dishes, such as cabbage rolls in the winter and canned peaches in the summer.
Not only is it good for our health, local farmers, and wallet, it’s better for the environment, too. Purchasing in season, local foods has less strain on the environment; obviously, shipping from Chile requires more fossil fuels, which can create more pollution. Hothouse and hydroponic foods also require extra amounts of energy if growers are not using energy-efficient methods.
Buying with the season saves money, keeps it local, and tastes best, too. What methods do you follow?