The idea of eating with the seasons isn’t new. Before supermarkets, our ancestors would grow their own food and use only that which was available. Eating fruit and vegetables which grow and ripen during certain times of the year is what we call ‘seasonal eating.‘ When it comes to shopping for fresh produce, we are spoilt for choice with an abundance of fruit and vegetables growing locally.
While technology has come a long way in assisting with extending the shelf life of our favourite fruits and vegetables, it is still really important to shop and eat with the seasons.
When we buy in-season the produce we are purchasing is in peak supply. Not only will our fruits and vegetables be fresh and tasty but, a lot cheaper too. The cost of growing, harvesting and transporting the produce is also much lower than that which is out of season. The result, savings that are passed on to you, the consumer. One of the best places to shop looking for in-season produce is farmers markets. While these may not be available to all, local supermarkets are also a great place – so look out for weekly specials!
By purchasing local and in-season produce, you’re helping the planet by reducing food miles. Food miles describe the resources that it takes for food to get from the farm to your plate. Locally grown and in-season foods use dramatically less resources when being grown, transported and stored. Furthermore, you’re helping local growers and farmers.
Produce that is not in-season is usually picked before it is ripe, it’s then cooled to stop the ripening process and then stored and transported a significant distance for sale. Due to the processes involved in controlled ripening, produce can lose some taste and nutritional value. Alternatively, fruits and vegetables naturally ripened on their trees, plants and vines are harvested at their prime. The result is tastier, crispier vegetables and sweeter fruits, all much higher in their nutritional density. Any type of berry is a great example of just how sweet and delicious in-season produce can be.
If you are just starting out on this journey, stick to produce that you are familiar with. Not only, will you already know how to use it in the kitchen but, it also ensures that there is less food waste being produced. Australians waste up to 20% of the food they purchase. Food waste is an issue that is becoming more apparent as we become more aware of sustainability and food supply issues.
To learn more about what you can do towards living a sustainable future, visit the following websites:
This guide will become a handy little tool in the kitchen, helping you plan and purchase your
favourite fruits and vegetables all year round.
I can’t wait to see what you create in the kitchen, so make sure you tag @mysimpleplate over on instagram.
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