3 things you didn't know about seasonal eating
Seasonal eating isn't just for celebrity chefs. Or people who grow their own vegetables. It's for everyone.
Seasonal eating is exactly what it sounds like. Buying and eating food when it is at its freshest.
For fruit and vegetables, this means eating them when they are ripe and ready for harvest. When it comes to meat and fish, it means buying based on the breeding and/or feeding season.
Why is eating seasonally important?
There are three key reasons why eating seasonally is important:
- It's good for you. Foods are at their peak of both taste and nutrition when they are "in season."
- It's good for the planet. Eating seasonally means eating foods based on your local seasons. This means fewer plane trips for food and less carbon in the atmosphere. It also means fish stock is able to recover based on their natural breeding cycle so it's more sustainable.
- It's good for your pocketbook. Seasonal foods tend to be cheaper than their flown in counterparts. That's because flown in foods have all the travels costs wrapped into the price. While a seasonal food is abundant at the time, which also drives down the price.
But isn't it restrictive?
When we talk about eating seasonally, many people think that this must mean that you can only eat foods at certain times of year. For example, peas are harvested or "in season" in the late spring and early summer. But many of us enjoy eating peas year round.
Does this mean we have to give up peas for 75% of the year?
Of course not. Buying frozen or tinned fruit and veg can be an important part of eating seasonally.
That's because producers buy these foods at the height of their season. When they're at their cheapest. Then they freeze or otherwise preserve them for future months.
Similarly jams, chutney and pickling are a great way to enjoy eating seasonal foods outside their season. And something many of us just enjoying doing as a hobby!
How do you eat seasonally?
Eating seasonally can take a bit of time to get into. Learning which foods are in season can take a bit of research. Finding recipes for them can be time consuming as well.
Luckily there are some websites that can help.
Food Savvy is a campaign led by by Norfolk County Council, Suffolk Waste Partnership and environmental charity, Hubbub. They have an article showing which fruits and vegetables are in season month by month. Each month also has a recipe to help you get started. Check it out here.
There is also the Love British Food campaign, an organisation dedicated to promoting British farming. Their "What's in Season When" page has a factsheet that you can download. It gives you a seasonal list of fruit, veg, meat and fish. You can find it here.
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