Gone are the days of supermarket produce being limited to what was seasonal, and getting excited that Strawberries were finally on their way. Nowadays, our shelves are stacked full with everything you can think of, regardless of whether it is Autumn or Summer.
Our bodies are geared up to seasonal eating, with our nutritional needs varying with the change of season. This explains the craving for a slow-cooked stew in winter and a fresh leafy salad in the summer.
This convenience has become an expectation rather than a luxury, but is it really that good for us?
In short, no. Tests undertaken in the USA and published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition compared the vitamin C content in seasonally, conventionally and organically grown broccoli at the same stage of ripeness and found that those collected out of season contained almost half as much vitamin C as those grown in season. Similar experiments have been done with other fruit and vegetables and have reported the same.
So, how easy is it to eat seasonal?
There is an abundance of beautiful seasonal produce available, and at this time of the year – the selection is plentiful. The main hurdle to overcome doesn’t appear to be availability, but actually our own desires. So, stop insisting on eating Strawberries in November and pick up those English Pears instead!
A few simples tips on eating seasonal;
- Grow and pick your own – probably the easiest way to know exactly what you’re eating, although it’ll depend on your green finger ability!
- Use local farmers markets and vegbox schemes – there are some fantastic ones in and around Bristol, that you’ll be spoilt for choice. Find reviews on some of them here
- Buy in bulk and freeze – this could give you the best of both worlds, as you can preserve most of those nutrients and eat them later on in the year – so you don’t have to be quite as refrained as you once feared!