Perhaps you’ve shopped for vegetables and noticed a significant difference in the selection during the winter versus the summer. All of these scenarios relate to purchasing and eating your fruits and vegetable by the season.
Seasonal eating means purchasing and eating fresh fruits and veggies around the time they have been harvested, or ripened and gathered from the fields.
The start of June always signifies sunny-filled skies, warm temperatures, and exciting outdoor activities.
Each season brings a different variety of products, and although we may enjoy certain fruits and veggies throughout the year, the best time to purchase or eat them is when they are harvested.
Produce that has been grown, ripened, and eaten during its peak season, typically has a greater amount of nutrients.
This does not mean that you will not get any nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, from produce eaten off-season. However, the nutrient content may be lower.
Naturally ripened and harvested produce typically has a bolder flavor than its counterparts.
You’ll find that produce grown in season is better tasting, has a stronger flavor, as well as greater texture and color. Think of robust tomatoes, sweet-tasting strawberries, and vibrantly colored bell peppers.
Purchasing seasonal produce is less expensive than purchasing off-season because there is a greater supply available.
Given that the crop is in-season, farmers are able to harvest large quantities, so the supply is greater than the demand.
In addition, in-season produce that is harvested by local farmers requires fewer resources such as travel and storage, which ultimately reduces production costs and makes it cheaper for the consumer.
Growing food out of its natural season typically requires human intervention such as fossil fuels which mimic or recreate seasonal weather conditions.
Consuming produce in season does not require these resources and reduces the negative impact on our environment.
On the other hand, eating with the seasons can have some challenges.
For instance, during the winter months, there may not be a great variation in the selection of produce. To combat either challenge, consider experimenting with frozen or canned fruits and veggies.
You can also freeze your own fruits and veggies, then pull them out when you’re ready to eat them during the colder months.
Be careful, though, some fruits and veggies, like celery, cucumbers, watermelon, and bell peppers, do not freeze well.
In New York, beets and strawberries are best during the summer months.
Check out these delicious, healthy recipes which highlight both:
Have any questions about nutrition? Email Feeding Westchester’s Nutrition Resource Manager, Monique Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org.