SEASONAL EATING

“A thriving household depends on the use of seasonal produce and the application of common sense.” — Olivier de Serres (1539-1619)

It’s no fault of city folks, but thanks to stocked supermarkets, it’s tough to know what’s REALLY in season or not.  With stockpiles of produce at our fingertips from around the world and industrialization of agriculture – who knows anymore.

I  am still educating consumers that corn doesn’t grow (local or “naturally”) in the winter. It’s not that unusual not to know when things grow or where because of this American lifestyle. In fact, one of my late grandmothers was shocked to hear that one of her children was now eating food from the garden grown in…dirt! Packaged and dirt free produce from the supermarkets was what she was told was the better, normal way to shop.  During the 50’s, it was hammered into the American psyche to get away from the land/ backyard gardens and get far away from the drudgery of “work.”

I really believe that the foods grown locally and in season are all you need for good health. I remember reading about the Eskimos who only ate blubber and fish but have enjoyed excellent health without fruits and vegetables. I think each climate and each season provides exactly what one needs to survive that climate and that season because Nature knows best.

Thanks to our farming habits, we learned to eat more local and in season, eliminating bananas and other fruits (unless grown by someone we know.)  I mean there MUST be reason that corn doesn’t grow in winter – could it be that bodies need to eat seasonal foods to be healthier?  I think so!

“If you eat with the seasons rather than eating the same 15 things all year round, the variety will mean you end up with a greater range of nutrients in the body,” argues Maria Griffiths, spokesperson for the Institute for Optimum Nutrition. “You get a completely changeable diet that is so much more beneficial than sticking to the same things again and again.

“Food allergies and intolerances are also less likely because you are not eating the same thing day after day.”

– via Seasonal Foods Better for your Body

Reducing one’s food print is certainly a challenge and one can only do one’s best.

Here are 3 helpful links to help you get started.

What’s in Season – Vegetable & Fruit Chart

Healthy Eating With the Seasons

Adjust your Eating Habits According to Season

Has your eating habits changed and does gardening help you eat more in tune with the seasons?

Comments(10)

  1. Inge says:

    I completely agree with you !! If we eat tomatoes or strawberries in winter, they even haven’t any taste !!! The most tasteful ( and cheap ) things are always those from the season.

  2. Jhan says:

    I agree with you, and I try to eat in season all the time; however, please remember that the Inuit (they are no longer called “eskimos”) had evolved over generations to survive on a high protein low veg diet. I wouldn’t recommend anyone else try to emulate it. Remember that when the western diet was introduced to the native poplulations in Canada’s north, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity became a rampant problem. It takes time to adjust…

    • tina richardson says:

      just for clarification-there are several different peoples that have their own tribes and heritage in the north-so plse undertand that and do not be so quick to classify all as Inuit or correct others…. Inupiaq, Yupik, Aleut, Eyak, Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, just to name a few are unique and varied tribes that have their own traditions…Eskimo is a tribe as well. Just my two cents worth Jhan-plse do your research before correcting others or making asumptions-I have lived among these wonderful tribes and can tell you they are unique-not all INUIT.
      However your other comments are very informative…

  3. Nebraska Dave says:

    Anais, I agree to some extent that eating seasonally is best. However, here in Nebraska, eating nothing but snow during the winter would get real tiring and I’m not sure just how much nutrition would be in a bowl full of snow. You know, of course, I’m just kidding. There is wild game here but seasonal hunting puts the damper on that during the winter. Some things just won’t grow here like, my morning Folgers in my cup and I really do like to have a banana once in a while on top of my morning oatmeal. I have to say that waiting for that first garden grown tomato makes it taste just that much better or the first bite of fresh out of the garden sweet corn is such a wonderful taste. So as much as I can eat seasonally, I do but winter storage has to definitely come into play here.

    Have a great seasonal eating day.

  4. Cass says:

    I agree that it can be difficult with everything at your fingertips but pricing is really the determining factor for me. I am just starting out with my garden. Iv grown toms and squash and peas but now we are expanding to grow another 10 kinds of veggies and im hoping that this will result in fresh food for more months. It is cheaper to buy what is in season and evenmore cost effective to grow it yourself.

  5. Skills says:

    It would be difficult to eat seasonally here in the northeast. That means everything must be grown during the summer or rather the “growing season,” and put up for the winter. We do what we can. Buying just about any produce from the supermarkets during the winter, it will be out of season. We do what we can given the limits we must work around. I will choose an organic produce from CA even though it is out of season here. CA produce has been shipped across the country for years. Purchasing real food and eschewing processed food, has become a difficult maze. Traveling through the complex branching passages through which we must make our food decisions, is a challenge at best.

  6. Michelle Steen says:

    I have been growing lettuce, onions, scallions, cilantro, basil as house plants this winter in Ohio. My living room hasn’t been warm enough for my tomatoes but I keep trying. This spring we are planning a bigger garden so we can put up more for next winter. I’m down to my last 2 bags of frozen bell peppers from last summer. I have my husband now understanding GMO’s and the problem with eating them. He is looking now for a rototiller for the garden!!!

  7. Lori says:

    I agree seasonal is best. We’ve had a hobby garden in the past just for the fun of it but about 2 yrs ago became more serious about growing our own food. We are still learning. I do try to can whatever whenever we have it for use in winter. Occasionally I’ll freeze things. We are in the process of trying to find veggies & fruits grown organically in our area…boy that is easier said than done! I wish we had a root cellar but in the south where we live its not the norm. Even a basement would be great 🙂 It’s amazing what you will eat or NOT eat, lol, when you are growing your own food and/or eating only seasonal. But it feels good.

  8. Ruth G says:

    Also in the northeast, it is a balancing act of eating seasonally and eating locally. We can up a lot of our garden to feed us through the winter and freeze locally raised meat bought which helps us, especially in prolonged winters like we are currently experiencing. Locally grown grains is more of a challenge but I am able to get some locally grown wheat bread flour. The rest is imported from somewhere else in the country.
    But I completely agree that eating seasonally is not only healthier but is also a joy. Having to wait until June for a local strawberry or even later in the summer for a fresh tomato makes it an even more precious treasure… not to mention fresh sweet corn which is hardly worth eating out of season.
    I am looking forward to our first harvested crop, the over-wintered parsnips which we will pull as soon as the snow finally melts and things dry out a little. Wouldn’t feel like spring without some yummy sweet parsnips (preferably roasted and sprinkled with parmesan cheese!)
    Looking forward to finally seeing the garden once this snow finally melts…
    Ruth in NH

  9. Amy says:

    Hello there!
    I lived for five years in the Philippines with my grandmother who went to the market early morning everyday to buy the foods we would eat that day. Each season brought a different set of foods to eat. I remember celebrating the times when my favorite fruits would be in season and eating them with joy until they came around again the next year. It made eating quite fun. Now I go by what is affordable, not sure if it’s always accurate. But corn is cheaper in the summer so that’s when we eat it…etc. Looking forward to growing as much of our own produce as possible! We are on the path 🙂

Leave a Reply to tina richardson Cancel reply