Walking the aisles of supermarkets it is easy to be confused about what constitutes seasonal food. A lot of produce is now imported to give us the “choice” we have become accustomed to. It usually comes at the price of flavour, nutritional content and food miles.
There is no doubt that vegetables and fruit grown in season taste better. They are also typically more nutritious. Produce that is shipped in from abroad is often harvested early and kept in chilled containers. It ripens out of the natural environment and does not develop its full flavour.
Eating seasonal food also makes sense from an environmental point of view as most of out-of-season produce is either flown in from abroad or grown in artificial conditions, such as in heated greenhouses in winter.
When talking about seasonal food we automatically think about fruit and vegetables. However, let’s not forget that meat, fish, seafood and herbs can be seasonal too.
Visiting your local farm shop, butcher, fishmonger or market is your best bet to find produce that is both local and seasonal. You can also sign up for a vegetable box service as they generally are pretty good are keeping with the seasons.
Personally, I also like the following websites which are dedicated to seasonal food. By signing up for their newsletters, Facebook page or bookmarking their websites, you can keep up to date with what is in season. They act as a useful reminder when you go shopping or plan your weekly meals.
On Eat The Seasons website you will find a weekly seasonal food list including vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and seafood.
Produce that is commonly found in supermarkets but imported is clearly marked.
You will also find produce profiles and recipes. You can sign up for their email update. There is also a US/Canada version.
Eat Seasonably has two main sections: “What to Eat Now” and “What to Grow Now” so it is a useful resource for both cooks and gardeners. It is mostly focused on fruit and vegetables.
The website offers a Tasty Guide that you can print out and stick on your fridge as well as a wheel calendar that you can either consult online or print out. There is also an online application for recipe inspiration.
What’s In Season focuses on seasonal fruit, vegetables and herbs. Everything is organised by month. Perfect for a quick glance.
Well Seasoned offers some great seasonality charts for vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, herbs and hedgerows.
There is also a good choice of recipes broken down by season.