Why eat seasonally?
I was lucky enough to grow up in Griffith, constantly surrounded by fresh seasonal produce.
It was only when I moved to the Perth were “fresh fruit” was normally picked weeks prior to being placed on the supermarket shelf, that I realised fresh fruit and vegetables straight from the farmer was not a luxury many Australian will ever experience.
Here are some reason’s eating local seasonal produce is so good for you!
It tastes way better!
When fruit and vegetables are picked for immediate consumption, they are naturally ripened on the vine or the tree and harvested at their peak time; this produce normally has a bigger burst of flavour.
In the case when fruit and vegetables are picked for sale that requires an extended transport time, the produce is picked before it’s ripe, chilled for storage and then artificially ripened using a specific heating technique; each of these stages reduces the fruit’s natural flavour.
Fresh Fruit Packs a Punch!
The nutrient density of fruit and vegetables begins to decline the moment it’s harvested.
The longer fruit and vegetables sit on the supermarket shelf the lower their nutrient content, in particular their vitamin C, folate and antioxidant levels.
Green beans and spinach lose more than two third of their Vitamin C by one week post harvest.
Eat Like a Caveman
These days you can find any type of fruit or vegetable you want all year round.
This is due to better international transport, storage systems and agricultural techniques.
However, our bodies are designed to consume a range of nutrients not just the same foods day in, day out.
Eating seasonally, just as our ancestors did, allows us to consume a range of foods, often designed by nature to be particularly beneficial for that season, for example citrus are Winter fruits and are high in Vitamin C which is important for our immune system.
It’s good for your wallet
Seasonal produce is often lower in cost, because it’s in abundance and often has to travel a shorter distance.
Additionally, anyone with fruit trees or a vegetable garden knows that when fruit or vegetables are ready to eat; it comes all at once, kind farmers will often sell this produce for a few dollars less a kilogram just to stop beautiful fresh fruit going to waste.
What’s in season at the moment?
Autumn produce includes apples, berries, pears, persimmons, beans, broccoli, capsicum, cauliflower, chillies, pumpkins and tomatoes just to name a few.
If you are interested in finding out more what fruit and vegetables are in season, check our www.sustainabletable.org.au or stop past our local farmers markets and chat to the growers.
If your not sure what’s in season, check with your lovely produce staff, they can let you know what’s locally grown and what’s coming into season.
Recipe – Tomato and Pumpkin Soup
I have an easy Tomato and Pumpkin Soup that’s great to freeze when you have a surplus of pumpkins floating around!
1 tablespoon of olive oil
2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
600g of pumpkin (cut into 2cm cubes)
1 tin of diced tomatoes
2 cups of stock- I used chicken stock but if you want to keep it vegetarian you can use vegetable stock.
Heat oil in a soup pot and brown off crushed garlic
Reduce to a medium heat and add pumpkin, stirring to coat pumpkin cubes in garlic and oil mixture and allow the mixture to cook through for 4-5 minutes (don’t let it burn).
Stir in the tomatoes and stock, bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for a further 20 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Blend the soup using a stick blender – you want to soup to become thick and velvety.
Serve with crusty bread.
*Tomatoes can occasionally give an acidic taste; add a half to 1 teaspoon of sugar to balance out the flavours if this occurs.