Seasonal Cooking: Just Do it!


Did you ever wonder why you crave cabbage soup in the fall; sweet potatoes in the winter, and why strawberries and peaches are on your mind in the summer? This is because until recently humans ate in accordance with the seasons.

Before the 1980s and the rapid expansion of air transport, people simply had no other choice but to eat foods that were in season if they wanted something fresh, and not frozen or canned. This meant, for example, lots of salad, beans and corn in summer; apples and pears in the fall; potatoes and turnip in the winter; and asparagus, carrots and cherry tomatoes in the spring. Our bodies have gotten used to these wonderful recipes that give us a taste of winter or a blast of summer, not to mention the other perks that go along with it.

Below are just a few of the reasons why you should opt for local foods instead of imported ones.

Advantages:

  • It’s tastier. Foods in season taste the best. They are freshly picked so they will have more flavor than, say, fruits that come up from Chile and are already starting to deteriorate from the long distance transport. Food that has been grown out of its season in glasshouses will often be bland and tasteless as well.
  • It’s healthier. Food that hasn’t been stored or transported long distances will have more vitamin C. Not to mention that local foods are more likely to be organically grown or at least to have fewer pesticides and other growth hormones in them.
  • It’s better for the planet. Taking a trip down to your local farmer’s market is more environmentally friendly than the average 1500 mile truck or plane ride that it takes for fresh food to reach the consumer. Plus buying local produce also reduces the unnecessary packaging that is seen in wide scale commercial goods.
  • It encourages local business. Encourage economic growth in your area by supporting local farmers.

What You Can Do

While a diet of strictly local foods is difficult to adhere to, you can definitely eat a lot more of them. Opt for foods that are locally grown and in season whenever you can. They are not only tastier, but more nutritious and better for the environment. Consider freezing, or pickling freshly picked fruits and vegetables to enjoy them in the off season too.

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