The concept of eating seasonally is very simple; it essentially involves eating foods that are grown at the same time as you eat them. In a world of 24-hour supermarkets, where the shelves are continually replenished with produce from across the globe, it can be easy to lose sight of how and when things actually grow; eating strawberries in winter becomes the norm.
But while we know that eating seasonally reduces your carbon footprint (the quantity of food miles on our roads has doubled since 1974) what about the other reasons to eat local, seasonal produce?
It tastes better
Out of season fruit and veg often spends days and weeks travelling to get to you, and the flavour can be significantly reduced. Seasonal produce is not only harvested at the best time, it also travels a short distance, so flavour and freshness is preserved naturally.
It’s no surprise that being locked in cargo holds and shipping containers for weeks does nothing for the nutritional content of the food. The fresher the better, and you can’t get much fresher than eating seasonally-grown local produce.
Produce grown in managed conditions or freighted from one side of the world to the other costs a lot of money – and that cost is passed on to the consumer. Contrary to popular belief, eating seasonal, local produce that is grown in natural conditions and easily transported direct to the point of sale - is often more affordable.
It’s supporting local producers
We are very lucky in England – and especially here in Kent – to grow some fantastic produce, so rather than buy apples that have been freighted from south Africa, support our farmers and buy local!
It’s more adventurous
It can be challenging fitting in five fruit or vegetables to our everyday cooking, but buying seasonally will give you an enormous range of rainbow-coloured produce and you’ll find yourself looking up recipes for dishes that you may not have considered before. As the seasons change, you’ll get plenty of variety in your diet too.
Farmers markets are a great way to get your hands on some fantastic quality local produce - and at this time of year you’ll find kale, leeks, Brussel sprouts, Jerusalem artichokes, squash, apples and pears. Try flavoursome root vegetables – celeriac, parsnip, beets, swede, potatoes, carrots - fresh from the ground, so don’t be afraid if they look a bit gnarly and knobbly or are still covered in soil!
Winter isn’t often associated with salads but the wealth of local, seasonal vegetables lends itself perfectly for these two fabulous salads – delicious on their own or as an accompaniment to a main course:
- Celeriac remoulade with apple mustard, cider vinegar, natural yoghurt & toasted pecans.
- Winter slaw with shredded Brussel sprouts, chilli, ginger, white cabbage, sesame oil and seeds, orange juice and lemon.