As the nights roll in, and the temperature drops, this change in seasons is the perfect time to explore seasonal produce and get a little bit adventurous in the kitchen at home.
It may be a cliché, but there really are many benefits to eating fresh produce when it is at it’s best and in season, just as Mother Nature intended.
Here are top 6 reasons why you should be eating fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season:
- Environmental impact
- Better for your health
- Support your local economy
Our modern world means there is very little produce that we can’t get our hands on all year around, but there are some downsides to growing our favourites when they would not naturally be in season. Other than the obvious opportunity to expand our knowledge, understanding and love for food, there are a number of other benefits to eating the fruits and vegetables as they are seasonally available.
Okay, this one was probably an easy guess, but surely this is reason enough in itself to encourage you to follow the seasons! Fruits and vegetables are more likely to be packed full of more flavour when they are being eaten in their natural season because they are fresher. As they’re not being shipped across the world, they can be in your kitchen from the field much faster than when outside their season, meaning you get to enjoy more ripe, sweeter and fresher tasting produce!
There are different dimensions to eating seasonally and the environmental impact this has. First off, and as we touched on earlier, when you opt for produce that is in season in your local climate, it reduces the carbon footprint left by transporting the goods from field to the supermarket, and then to your home.
Growing fruits and vegetables out of their season also relies on more resources to help replicate their natural climate, which can result in excessive water and energy being used to grow mediocre produce that is more damaging to our planet and less appetising on our palette.
You might be starting to realise that all of these benefits are linked, and well, make sense! Eating local, seasonal produce should mean that farmers are relying less on machinery, supplements and other additional (and costly) resources to grow the produce. Instead of synthetically replicating their growing conditions, they can rely on mother nature to take the course that their crops need to excel.
Reducing the carbon footprint can also help to reduce the costs as there are less transportation fees and costs being passed on to us customers in the final item price.
It’s no secret that fruits and vegetables are full of vital vitamins and minerals, and it’s recommended that we try to enjoy a variety of each every day to fill our bodies with the good stuff. Eating seasonally can help feed our bodies with more nutrients than the out-of-season counterparts.
As well as the optimum growing conditions, the natural cycle of fruits and vegetables can be linked to human survival. There are some fruits and vegetables that are particularly beneficial when eaten in season due to the nutrients that they are filled with, and at the time of year they should naturally be consumed. For example, British apples are full of health-promoting vitamins that can help prepare our bodies to fight off winter colds, and are in season just as we begin to venture into the winter months.
Support your local
To briefly reflect on 2020 so far, one of the key things many of us have learned and focused on is how important it is for us all to support local and independent businesses whenever possible. By choosing to eat seasonal produce, you’re likely to be helping your local farmers and growers rather than importing your favourite fruits and vegetables from overseas.
You probably won’t have to go looking for your local suppliers, so don’t worry about searching out your next farmers market – although we won’t discourage this! – as many if not all of the main super markets have sourced them for our convenience. You should easily be able to identify where your fresh produce has come from, so take the time to read the label and check whether or not they’ve come from down the road, or further afield.
This is simple, and like anything, the more research you do, and the more you immerse yourself in a subject, the more likely you are to retain your newfound knowledge.
Take the time to discover what is in season, and when, and look out for the seasonal produce whilst doing your regular grocery shopping. This might seem like an odd benefit, but knowing what is in season is a fantastic skill to have, and something you can pass on to others around you whether that’s the next generation or even your elders.
We all have a vital role to play in climate change, and in doing so with eating seasonally not only will you be enjoying a varied and nutritionally packed diet, but you’ll be helping improve the environmental impact caused by human consumption.
Time to eat!
The prospect of changing how you look at food and plan your meals can be somewhat daunting, and sure, there will be lots to consider initially as you shift your mindset. But once you begin to identify the seasons, you’ll be a seasoned pro in no time! Take it as an opportunity to try new foods, play with new recipes and explore the landscape in your local area.