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Seasonal Eating and What to Eat Now

April 1, 2014 | By | Reply More

seasonal eatingSeasonal eating is one of the most important things you can do for your health, your wallet, and the environment. It simply means that your diet is composed of foods that are naturally available in your area at a given time. Mr. President and I try to eat seasonally, with a few exceptions. For example, because I cannot live without guacamole, we must buy avocados that are grown far, far away. We live in Pennsylvania, and avocados will never be local or seasonal for us.

Seasonal eating may sound restrictive, but it introduces great variety into your diet. Once you learn what’s available in your area, you’ll likely find yourself eating all sorts of things you may not have tried before. Kohlrabi anyone? How about braised mustard greens? I never thought I liked radishes until I tried the colorful heirloom varieties available from my garden and the local farmers markets. Now, one of my favorite spring snacks is generously buttered toast layered with slices of colorful, spicy radishes.

Just as soon as I get tired of eating one season’s offerings, it’s time to move on to something else. For instance, every spring, I get my fill – and then some – of asparagus. Local spring asparagus has spoiled me from all others, and I refuse to buy it in the store out of season because it’s not as good. So, I eat it all spring knowing that even if I get tired of it, I won’t have it again until the following year.

Reasons for seasonal eating

seasonal eatingSeasonal eating and local eating go hand in hand. When you eat foods that are produced locally, you reduce the number of miles food travels to get to your plate and you help reduce energy and fuel consumption in our food supply. Long before there were food processing plants and complicated distribution systems for food, people ate with the seasons and used what was available in their local area.  Seasonal eating is traditional and doing more of it will put you in touch with the natural rhythms of what grows when.

seasonal eating

I’m trying fava beans in my garden again this spring!

Foods eaten in season are at the peak of their nutritional value and flavor. If you don’t believe me, eat a fresh tomato picked from a plant in August. Try to remember that juicy, intense flavor, and then try one from the supermarket in December. There’s simply no comparison.

Seasonal eating is easy on the budget because foods are plentiful when they’re in season. I think about this every time I go to the grocery store in the winter and see how much they’re charging for a pint of blueberries. It’s highway robbery! But, I can buy a whole quart of them for a reasonable price in July.

Finally, seasonal eating can help the local economy. If you’re buying seasonal foods that are grown locally, your money goes to a local farmer.

What to eat in spring

Asparagus, morels, lettuce, spinach, arugula, mustard greens, bok choy, kale, peas, snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, radishes, fava beans, chervil, cilantro, cabbage, broccoli raab, spring onions, rhubarb, garlic scapes

Your area may have other crops available in spring. What are your favorite spring treats?

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Category: Food, General, Tips & Tricks

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