Now that we are well into summer, there is an abundance of juicy stone fruit, you can smell mangoes everywhere, the salads are out in force in cafes and eateries, and avocados are added to almost every breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Although it may be harder these days to spot the foods which are out of season, because most foods are now grown all year round, there are many benefits to eating for each season. You get the chance to experiment with foods you otherwise would not have considered before. Here are a few reasons to eat seasonally:
The taste of fresh fruit and vegetables at their peak compare to nothing else. Their juiciness and flavour are out of this world. I’m sure you know how much better the flavour is of a tomato in Summer or a vibrant juicy mango compared to eating it in other seasons. What’s not to love about biting into a fresh watermelon on a hot Summer’s day!
When you choose to stick to seasonal foods, you naturally lean towards produce which is grown locally. Seasonal eating also encourages you to get out and explore farmers markets as the local growers will have an array of fruits and vegetables. This also means the food you are eating will have lower carbon miles and as a bonus, you get to know who grows your food.
Best of all if you incorporate seasonal produce into your eating it will be cost effective too! Prices will naturally be lower as fruits, vegetables and herbs come into season due to transport costs being significantly less. This is good news as the savings get passed onto you.
Foods that are grown in season are at less risk of nutrient loss such as vitamin C. Long term storage of fresh food reduces vitamins and other antioxidants and phytochemicals which are protective and help support cellular metabolism. Choosing a seasonal diet ensures you are maximising the nutrition content of those foods.
Eating for the seasons enables you to consider your eating habits if you tend to buy the same fruit and vegetables week in week out. Below are some great reference charts for checking what is growing in season for Melbourne. If you are living in any other region in Australia simply go to seasonalfoodguide.com.
Get out there and start exploring some new fruits, vegetables and herbs that you may not have cooked with or eaten before.