Over the bank holiday I enjoyed some fresh Asparagus, not an item usually found in my shopping basket, but as it’s low in calories, boasts an impressive nutrient profile, and was cheap – I thought it would make a nice change to Broccoli.
Served with some fresh salmon and new potatoes, and cooked as per instructions from Jamie Oliver, ‘wilted’, that’s lightly boiled in normal everyday language, I quite liked it. I couldn’t really remember the last time we had eaten it, and although the family were concerned about the impact it would have on their wee, (it did have an impact, but that’s a story for another day) we all agreed that it made a nice change.
This got me thinking about why I hadn’t bought it before, and I quickly realised it was the price. Now I’m not mean but I do like value for money, and the asparagus was good value because it was ‘in season’ – asparagus grown naturally in the UK is harvested between mid-April and the end of June. So, could I get better value for my hard-earned pennies if I started eating seasonally; eating foods that are grown here in the UK at the same time as you eat them?
- It saves you money
Eating locally grown produce, means that it hasn’t had to be transported from the other side of the world, making it much more affordable.
- It tastes better
Out of season fruit and veg must be transported, adding days to it was picked, this compromises flavour and freshness. Whereas seasonal produce travels just a short distance reducing the time it has to spoil. You eat it not long after it was harvested so the taste is maximised.
- It’s healthier
We have all heard the saying ‘the fresher the better’ – the less time your fruit or veg has spent sitting in cargo containers, the better the nutritional value.
- It’s kinder to the planet
The less distance your food has to travel the more environmentally friendly it is.
- It helps local producers
Buying what is produced locally, we will be supporting our own local communities by keeping any profits local.
- It’s fun
When you make an effort to eat seasonally, you will invariably end up eating things that are new or different to what you normally eat. We are all guilty of sticking to the same few dishes, rotated week in week out. A new ingredient might help get your creative juices flowing and help improve the variety of things you are eating.
Where to start?
- Look at the prices in the supermarket – if the price is going up, it’s out of season, if the price is falling, it’s coming into season.
- You may have a local farmers market, these can have the unfair reputation for being expensive, when in reality they aren’t unless you are buying an artisan product. Another trick is to visit towards the end of the day as the farmers don’t want to have to pack all their produce away and so often further reduce their prices.
- Visit a trusted web site, the BBC good food site has a great calendar of season foods.
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