posted Mar 30, 2015, 8:45 PM by Merrin McGregor
updated Mar 30, 2015, 8:57 PM
Ever notice how strawberries just don’t taste the same in November, how peaches are awfully hard to find in February, or how zucchini never seems to go on sale in the winter? Pay attention to when fruits and vegetables are in season
throughout the year and you’ll have your answers.
Once you notice to how distinctly delicious in-season produce is, you’ll have a hard time settling for out-of-season alternatives. But the benefits of eating in-season go far beyond just good taste. So often, nature knows best. And when it comes to eating what’s growing now, there’s no mistaking the benefits.
Here are 5 great reasons:
Possibly the most persuasive reason of all — when produce is fresh from the garden or the farmer’s market, it just tastes better. And with every day that passes, flavor and sweetness is lost. Certain veggies like peas and corn are incredibly sweet when fresh picked, but that sugar converts to starch within a day or two, leaving them lackluster in the flavor department [and likely pushed aside on the dinner plate]. When fruits and veggies taste great, you and your family will be inclined to eat more of them! No one wants to fill half their plate with flavorless produce, so eating by the season is a tasty way to get your daily servings in.
2 . Nutrition
Fresh picked produce is highest in nutrients, and the longer it takes to get from harvest to table, the more nutrients are lost. So produce that is picked early and artificially ripened on a truck while it travels long distances just can’t compare to naturally ripened fruits and veggies that soak up nutrients from the sun and soil until they reached the peak of ripeness.
Another compelling rationale: Seasonal produce is cheaper! And that is the case simply because there’s an abundance of produce that is available — frequently from local sources — with much lower transportation costs to get from farm to market. Cash in on this seasonal benefit all year long!
When the season for any particular fruit or vegetable hits, you’ll know it by the plentiful displays at your farmers market or grocery store. Whatever is in season sells quickly, making for frequent turnover and a fresher selection.Take asparagus as an example: you might notice that when it’s not in season, the smaller, withered selection [if it’s in-stock at all] moves to a less-prominent area of the store. So look for the largest displays for a clue as to what’s in season now.
5. Good Pairings
When you are eating different foods around the calendar year, you’ll likely end up choosing and cooking with a wider variety of fruits and veggies overall, and pairing up those that naturally go together. What naturally goes together? Think tomatoes and basil, apples and squash, or strawberries and rhubarb. You’ll find plenty of inspiration for great food combos by shopping by the season. As the saying goes, things that grow together, go together!
Right now, look for the bounty of spring produce at your farmers market or grocery store. Spring welcomes so much tasty produce back to our plates, including greens, peas, asparagus, leeks, radishes, berries, rhubarb and more!