The Benefits of Eating in Season

Our friends at Simply Fresh Fruit give their five tips for why you should follow the seasons when it comes to fruit and vegetables.

It’s no coincidence that “seasonal produce” seems to be a buzzword among the best chefs.  There are some great benefits in letting the seasons dictate what fresh ingredients you cook with and enjoy, so we spoke to our friends over at Simply Fresh Fruit about their top five reasons for eating in season.

 

1. It’s easier on your wallet:

When the produce is in season locally, the relative abundance of the crop makes it less expensive – and you’ll get better value for money because the quality will be higher.  Just think of the packaged herbs in the grocery store during winter: you’ll sometimes pay upwards of $5 for a droopy bunch of basil.  During the summer, not only will your basil be a few dollars cheaper, but the bunch will also be bigger, brighter, and beautifully aromatic.  By purchasing what’s in season, you’ll save good money on your groceries.
  

2. They’ll taste better:

Throughout the year, any produce that isn’t in season locally will be sourced and shipped from the other parts of the world, or grown in a hothouse.  These crops have to be harvested early and refrigerated, so they do not rot during transportation. In certain cases, they will not ripen effectively and therefore do not develop a rich flavour.

You don’t need to be a professional chef to tell the difference between a vine-ripened dark red tomato, still warm from the summer sun, and the pale red, hothouse tomatoes you eat during the winter.  They lack colour, lack flavour, and are somewhat mealy.

 

3. It’s better for you:

Brian Halweil, author of Eat Here: Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket, says, “If you harvest something early so that it can endure a long distance shipping experience, it’s not going to have the full complement of nutrients it might have had.”

Produce that is grown for transportation undergoes a process known as irradiation, in which it is zapped with a burst of radiation in order to kill germs. Additionally, preservatives such as wax are added to protect the produce.  There are no current studies conducted that quantifies the impact of these treatments, so eating local fresh produce is truly a safer and healthier option.

 

4. You’ll get variety all year long:

There are so many wonderful fruits and vegetables available, and eating by the seasons, rather than simply sticking to the same old recipes, will bring you lots of variety.  To give you an idea, here’s a quick list of some of what’s in season during:

·  Summer: apricots, corn, pumpkin, eggplant

·  Autumn: apples, garlic, figs, grapes

·  Winter: mandarins, kale, citrus, turnips, radishes

·  Spring: oranges, cherries, broad beans, zucchini

Head over to the Seasonal Food Guide to see a full list of what’s in season across Australia.

 

5. Make use of your backyard:

Due to limited growing seasons in most regions, it’s very difficult to eat locally and in season throughout the year.  What do you do in this scenario?  Try to grow it yourself!  You’ll learn what goes into growing vegetables and can enjoy the fresh taste and flavour when they are harvested.

You can also make a visit to your local farmers’ market on a weekly basis, or sign up at a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm.  Some of them will even deliver their weekly harvest to your doorstep as well.  So figure out what’s in season and dig in to the quality produce!

 

Simply Fresh Fruit are based in the Mornington Peninsula and their philosophy is to supply the freshest quality produce at the best prices, while supporting Australia’s backbone: the farmers.  Click here to find out more about their produce and what they do.