Eat Seasonal

Why eat seasonal food? When you eat foods in season, they’re at their peak flavor and nutrition, plus they’re often less expensive. There’s pleasure in anticipating the arrival of foods.  When you eat seasonally, there’s always something new to enjoy.

It can be hard to know what’s in season, though. You go to a typical grocery store and everything is available all of the time.  Supermarket produce departments are eternally brimming with variety after variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. Sure, I guess it can be great to get strawberries whenever you want, but the flavor?? It’s like eating….nothing.

Ultimately it’s up to you to educate yourself on which foods are at their peak at any given time. Luckily, more and more people, retailers and restaurants are catching on to eating seasonally and making a point to highlight seasonal foods.

Eating seasonally goes hand in hand with eating locally. The best way to determine what’s in season is to find out what is growing in your area right now.   If you live in a cold climate region like mine where it’s not possible to grow many crops during during certain times of the year, it’s still good to educate yourself on what’s in season and seek out those foods.  Why?  Not only do those foods taste best at their peak, it keeps your eating experience fresh and interesting.

As you shop at natural foods stores, co-ops or farmers markets or subscribe to a CSA share, you may be unfamiliar with some of the fruits and vegetables you come across and what to do with them.

The table below lists posts I’ve written about various foods during specific seasons.  These posts give background infomation about the fruit or vegetable and often contain recipe links to inspire your cooking.  Many of these foods are only available through CSAs or farmers markets, so this section can be a useful reference for you if you subscribe to a CSA share or regularly shop at farmers markets.

I live in the upper Midwest region of the United States, and so this table reflects the typical time of year that these foods appear here.  Note that many fruits and vegetables overlap multiple seasons, and depending where you live they may be available earlier or later, but for the purpose of this display, they’re assigned to a single period.

Spring Summer Fall Winter
Artichokes
Arugula
Asparagus
Chives
Fiddlehead ferns
Hon tsai tai
Mangoes
Morel mushrooms
Nettles
Pea vines / shoots
Radishes
Ramps
Rhubarb
Sorrel
Spinach
Sugar snap peas
Sunchokes / Jerusalem artichokes
Amaranth
Asian greens

Baby white turnips
Blueberries
Bok choy
Cauliflower
Eggplant
Fennel
Green garlic / scapes
Green, yellow and purple beans
Kohlrabi
Raspberries
Red komatsuna
Red mizuna
Strawberries
Swiss chard
Apples
Broccoli romanesco
Pears
Peppers

Beets
Brussels sprouts
Citrus
Kale
Kumquats
Parsnips
Pineapple

So, go ahead – try a new food! Be a fruit and vegetable adventurer and eat seasonally.  It’s fun!

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Cookbooks and Other Books

  • How to Pick a Peach by Russ Parsons
  • Savoring the Seasons by Lucia Watson and Beth Dooley
  • The Northern Heartland Kitchen by Beth Dooley
  • Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables by Farmer John Peterson and Angelic Organics
  • From Asparagus to Zucchini by Madison Area CSA Coalition

Websites and Food Blogs

Smartphone Apps

  •  Harvest [indicates which produce is in season and how to gauge ripeness]

2 thoughts on “Eat Seasonal

  1. Thanks for the mention and for getting the word out there about seasonal eating! Not always easy, but definitely worth the work! I’ll have to check out some of your other resources…I’ve had several people now recommend How to Pick a Peach! Must be a sign…

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