Sign up for news and discounts.
In a global market where, before Covid, we could all travel the planet easily - so could food. Improved transport has meant that we can eat any type of food, whenever we want - despite the season and the weather. Watermelon in Winter? Yes. Summer fruit in February? Absolutely. All were doable thanks to shipping food from different climates, or due to enhanced farming techniques closer to home.
However, just because we can eat all foods out of season, does not mean we should. In fact, eating seasonally is so important both to us on a personal level, but also to society as a whole. Here, we investigate why eating seasonally is so important and what foods are in season right now.
Eating seasonally is important on a personal level because eating food that is growing more naturally means that you will get the benefits of that food nutritionally speaking, but also in terms of taste. Simply by looking at the seasonal produce available in supermarkets and on grocery store shelves, you will be able to see the difference between the two types of food. Seasonal food will look brighter and fresher - which translates into having more nutrients that are beneficial for your body.
The taste will be better too. Because food that is in season is fresher, it is simply nicer to eat. Often you will find, particularly with fruit, that it is riper and far sweeter. Non-seasonal food that is force grown tends not to taste too strongly of what the food really is. It is why eating tomatoes, for example, in a Mediterranean country always tastes like tomatoes, as opposed to the ones in the UK that we get in cooler months. Those have been force grown and as a result do not taste nearly as nice.
Importantly, eating seasonally is also far better for the planet. By only growing what food is actually happy to grow at certain times in certain places, the impact on the environment is much less. Less fertilizer is needed as well as other farming techniques that encourage growth, but actually to the detriment of the world around it. For example, more water is needed for foods that are grown in the Summer but should not be. Greenhouses too are not good for planet Earth - nor is cultivating crops in overused soil. It robs the soil of minerals it needs to support plant growth.
Finally, eating seasonally is simply a good idea because it is cheaper. Because seasonal food and produce grows in abundance, as the conditions are perfect for them to do so, farmers are able to sell their food at lower cost. The result is buying it, when it is in season, is better for your monthly food bill than when it is not.
In late May and June, Asparagus comes into season and hits grocery store shelves by the truckload. While this delicious vegetable may make your wee smell funny, making the most of it when it is in season is such a good idea. It is quick and easy to cook - you only need to boil it and serve with some lightly salted butter and you have yourself a delicious starter or side for any meal. It is low in calories and is a bit of a powerhouse when it comes to vitamins and minerals. In a serving of Asparagus you will find lots of fiber as well as folate and the vitamins A, C and K. As a result, it can help improve digestion and has also been seen to lower blood pressure.
Aubergines are delicious to eat in so many ways. They are great to make use of therefore when they are in season - particularly if you are vegan or vegetarian as they are often a good substitute for protein in many dishes. The texture of aubergine when cooked is unlike other vegetables and can have an almost meaty like density to it that crunchy greens often won’t. They’re also very good for your body with lots of fibre for good digestion and containing high amounts of vitamins B1 and B6 as well as potassium.
While it is so important to eat fruit and vegetables that are in season to lower your carbon footprint on the planet, the same is also imperative when it comes to eating fish and meat. Mackerel is more prolific in June, making it the perfect time to eat this fantastic little oily fish. Full of Omega-3 oils, mackerel is good for your hair and skin, but also your brain. Plus, for Pescatarians that miss eating meat once in a while, mackerel is a meatier fish than something like cod. And, when cooked fresh, it has a unique flavour that makes it absolutely delicious.
We are all so used to seeing potatoes year round that it is hard to believe that they actually have a season. And, while they can be depended upon to provide robust carbs in the depths of Winter, they taste a heck of a lot better when harvested and eaten in June. Jersey royal potatoes are a fantastic example and need little more than just a quick boil, and some salt and pepper. They also make for delicious potato salads now that BBQ season is also in full flow.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list. Given that we are in June, so many fruits and vegetables can be grown far more easily in the UK and harvested having been ripened in some sun. Using meal kit delivery services are a great way to make the most of seasonal foods as chefs intrinsically know that food that is seasonal tastes better. And, they’ll also know how best to make the most of seasonal ingredients - which means that you can widen your repertoire in the kitchen quickly and easily.