Eating seasonal ingredients is a great way to keep your dishes diverse and nutrient rich, support local farmers and the environment, and reduce your carbon footprint of the food system. Whether it's summer or winter, or the seasons in between, there are lots of whole foods veggies you can add to your meals.
In a world where global food supply chains provide us with access to an abundance of ingredients, it can be easy to forget the importance of eating seasonally. The practice of eating seasonal ingredients provides numerous benefits for our health, the environment, and local economies.
I recently sat down with my grandmother to ask her what farming life was like for her back in our little mountain village in Greece. She shared that their two main crops were wheat and corn, and of course both have their own unique growing season. They lived life according to the land and in alignment with the cycles of the Earth. Over the years I have seen my elders grow into their 90s, including my grandmother who will be 91 this year. She is strong in all the ways this word can be used. I truly do attest this to her generation's way of living. There were great hardships, but those hardships connected them into what truly matters.
I soak up her wisdom and try my best to incorporate into my own life. I've learned so much from eating seasonally, including the way the Earth works to create vegetables that embody qualities that help our bodies stay in harmony. We'll be exploring in this post what it means to eat seasonally, why it matters, and how you can incorporate seasonal ingredients into your life.
Some Quick Links on Eating Seasonally
What does it mean to eat seasonally?
Eating seasonally means choosing ingredients that are grown and harvested at the peak of their season, rather than relying on ingredients that are grown and harvested out of season. This is important because seasonal ingredients are more fresh and flavorful, and they are also grown in a way that is in harmony with the Mother Earth.
Why is it important to eat seasonal ingredients?
Seasonal ingredients are often picked at their peak, which means they are at their most nutrient-dense and flavorful. For example, in-season fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health, and they also contain antioxidants that help protect your body from damage. Also, eating seasonally encourages you to eat a variety of foods that includes a wide range of ingredients, which of course is important for overall health and wellness.
When you eat seasonally, you are supporting local farmers and reducing the distance that your food travels from farm to table. This is good for the environment because it reduces the carbon footprint of your food, and it also supports the local economy by keeping food dollars within the community. It's important to mention that when farmers grow ingredients in harmony with the environment, they are using sustainable practices that help protect the soil and water, which are essential resources for our planet.
Seasonal ingredients are fresher and more flavorful, which makes them taste better than ingredients that are grown and harvested out of season. For example, have you ever taken a bit out of a juicy, ripe summer strawberry picked straight from the vine? You'll notice it will be much sweeter and more delicious than a strawberry that has been shipped from halfway around the world. By eating seasonal ingredients, you will be able to taste the true flavors of the food and enjoy dishes that are bursting with flavor.
How to incorporate seasonal ingredients into your life
Visit Your Local Farmers Market
One of the best ways to eat seasonally is to visit your local farmers market. This is where you will find a variety of fresh, in-season ingredients, grown by local farmers. You will have the opportunity to talk to the farmers, learn about their practices, and be able to choose the freshest and best-tasting ingredients.
Plan Your Meals Around the Season
Plan your meals around the season and include ingredients that are in season. For example, in the summer, you might include ingredients like strawberries, peaches, and tomatoes in your diet, while in the winter, you might choose ingredients like squash, carrots, and beets.
Try New Ingredients
When you eat seasonally, you will be able to try new ingredients that you may not have tried before. For example, you might discover that you love kohlrabi, a root vegetable that is in season in the fall, or you might try a new type of apple that is grown in your area. Trying new ingredients is a great way to expand your palate and keep things new and exciting in the kitchen.
Preserve Seasonal Foods for Later Use
Preserving seasonal foods is a great way to enjoy their benefits all year long. Canning, freezing, and dehydrating are all methods that allow you to preserve seasonal ingredients for later use. This is especially helpful when it comes to seasonal ingredients that are only available for a short period of time, like berries and stone fruits.
How to create meals using seasonal ingredients for different seasons
Now that you know all about eating seasonally and how to incorporate it into your life, check out some seasonal recipes for inspiration and to get you started. Compassionate Filled Life has an array of recipes that incorporates seasonal veggies into dishes.
Winter is a great time to add ingredients like dark leafy greens and root veggies. Spring calls for bitter flavors, like dandelion greens. During the summer, our digestion if firey, so best to keep the system cool with ingredients like dill and coconut. Finally, the fall is a beautiful time for squash, apples, and so much more! So, get in the kitchen and begin your seasonal veggie journey:
Eat seasonal to live in harmony
There is a natural wisdom inherent in Mother Earth. We witness trees, plants, and even other animals instinctually live their lives according to the circadian rhythm of nature. As humans, we are no different, so eating seasonally can make an impactful change on our well being, but also of all and who is around us. So, whatever season you're in, take a look to see what's in season right now and make a meal out of it. You won't regret it :-)