As the weather changes across the UK so does the food that comes into season. Each season offers an array of different produce which peaks at different times of the year. There are a number of benefits to eating seasonal fruit and vegetables which extend way beyond getting a varied and healthy diet, rich in fresh fruit and vegetables. Here are six reasons to eat more seasonal fruit and vegetables.
In-season produce is fresher and tastes better, sweeter, and perfectly ripe. When fruits and vegetables are picked for consumption that has been naturally ripened on the vine or the tree and harvested at the right time, they will have much more flavor and nutrition. Most people have experienced that super juicy perfectly sweet orange in winter or that crispy sweet pineapple in summer. When transporting crops, they must be harvested early and refrigerated so they don’t spoil during transportation; chilling will reduce the flavor. Then when they get to their destination they then may need to be heated in a hothouse to artificially ripen the produce before it goes onto the shelves, this greatly reduces the flavor, changes the texture and the taste. Think of those floury apples, flavorless tomatoes, and limp tasteless greens. You may find that the food may be half-rotten inside or overly fibrous such as an out-of-season pineapple.
When farmers are harvesting a large abundance of produce due to the crop being in season, the cost of the produce will go down. When the produce is locally sourced because it’s in season, and in your area, traveling expenses and storage are not required therefore reducing the production costs which can be passed onto the consumer.
Fresher with a Higher Nutritional Value
Produce that is purchased in season is more likely to be fresher, consumed closer to harvesting, and higher in nutritional value. Some antioxidants such as Vitamin C, folate, and carotenes will rapidly decline when stored for periods of time. Locally in-season sourced fruits and vegetables will also appear brighter and more vibrant rather than limp and dried up.
Avoids Overseas Contaminates
When fruits and vegetables are sourced overseas you can’t be sure of the regulations for pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide use. Many countries across the globe have very relaxed laws on the use of pesticides and fertilisers so while one country may have banned harmful chemicals from use in food production, another may not have. Some agricultural areas have been shown to have very high heavy metal and other toxic contaminates due to industrial sites inhabiting the same area. Sourcing seasonal food means sourcing locally produced food which means, in the UK, strict and proper laws on the use of pesticides.
Supports Your Body’s Natural Nutritional Needs
In winter we are provided by nature all things citrus, these are particularly high in Vitamin C which is very important for preventing infections such as colds and flus. Winter vegetables offer comfort and are perfect for hot meals, healthy stews, soups, casseroles, and other warming meals. Summer foods such as stone fruits provide us with extra beta-carotenes and other carotenoids that help protect us against sun damage, they also provide more sweetness for an energetic summer, as well as salad vegetables for those tasty cool summer salads.
Eating seasonally reduces the demand for out-of-season produce which further supports more locally produced food. This in turn supports local farming which reduces transportation, refrigeration, and storage. This leads to greater food production efficiency and less CO2 entering the atmosphere.
If you’re looking to eat seasonally this May, here’s what to eat…
- Salad leaves
- New potatoes
- Spring onions
- Wild nettles
- Kiwi fruit
- Wood pigeon
- Sea trout