Summer in the UK has sadly come to an end but saying goodbye to the sun and longer days doesn’t have to be all bad. We’re about to move into a new season, which means you have the perfect opportunity to work on yourself and change your habits. If you’ve not heard of seasonal eating, let us give you some background.
What is seasonal eating?
The changing seasons bring with them a change in the types of fruit and veg that can be grown at that time of year. Eating seasonally basically means that you’re only eating produce that is being harvested at that time of year.
More on how to find out what’s ‘in season’ later, but for now, here are five awesome benefits that come with seasonal eating.
Better for your health
No matter how much thought you put into your diet and healthy eating, if you aren’t eating seasonally then you aren’t getting all the nutrients that you could be. Seasonal produce is much more likely to have been grown near to the place that you live, this means it has to spend less time travelling to get to you. The less time that your food spends on a boat or lorry, the more nutrients and vitamins it will retain.
Not to mention the nasty pesticides and preservatives that are associated with out of season produce. To make sure that your fruits and veggies are kept fresh, ripening agents such as gases and chemicals are sometimes added to keep them available all year round, slowing down the ripening process and giving them their much-needed longer shelf life. Further research is needed on the long-term effects of pesticides on humans, but for the time being, why take the risk when you could choose locally grown or organic produce?!
Nipped to the shops with a craving for some extra sweet strawberries but returned home with a flavourless punnet? We’ve all been there, and there’s good reason for it. Fruit and veg that has to make a long journey to get to you is usually chilled to preserve it during transportation, then heated up in a hot house which greatly impacts the flavour and texture.
Another factor that comes into play here is that out of season produce has to meet demand, which as you can probably imagine, there is a lot of! With such a high level of demand, the main goal of large commercial farms is to mass-produce and unfortunately a lot of the time, the appearance of the product is considered way before the taste.
Stop and think for a second. Where does your out of season produce come from? The likelihood is it either came from overseas, or it was grown in a greenhouse to make up for the weather that it requires to grow properly. Think about the travel, time and added expenses that come with this and maybe you’ll think twice about eating in season.
When food is in season, it can be locally sourced with ease. This obviously has a knock-on effect on the production cost because travelling expenses are cut out and storage isn’t necessary, which means that your yummy fruit and veg is cheaper when in season.
Better for the environment
We like to encourage ANYTHING that benefits the environment and it just so happens that helping the environment is another reason why you need to make the switch to seasonal produce as soon as you can.
As we’ve mentioned, your out of season produce travels to you on trains, planes, boats, trucks and more - you name it, they use it, but it’s rare that people consider the lengths that your food travels to reach the supermarket shelf. By eating seasonally, either locally or organically, you can reduce your carbon footprint and support a more sustainable food economy.
Supports your community
Eating seasonally doesn’t always mean eating locally, but it definitely makes it more achievable. Okay, so this might not benefit you directly, but it will definitely benefit the local farmers that rely on farmers markets to keep afloat. The more farmers in your area, the more chance you’ll have to make better choices when it comes to what you’re putting into your body.
What's in season right now?
Ah, Autumn. The time of year where coffee shops add pumpkin flavouring to just about their whole menu (not naming any names), so it probably goes without saying that pumpkin is currently in season. But are you aware of what else is?
With cold nights ahead, roasted veggies are definitely on the menu, and there’s no better way to get into the spirit of the season than to take a trip down to the local market and pick up some fresh ingredients for a hearty casserole. Think root vegetables - carrots, squash and sweet potatoes will all be in abundance. For those of you with a sweet tooth, we’re delighted to announce that it is, in fact, pie season. Apples, blackberries, elderberries and plums are all super juicy at this time of year, perfect for making a pie that really hits the spot.
Why not try eating seasonally for a week? You’ll be surprised how easily you can fit it into your normal diet! You can find out what else is in season in Autumn, as well as Winter, Spring and Summer here.