Seasonal Fruit and Veg
A new years resolution of mine has been to significantly up my fruit and vegetable quota in meals. I completely understand the importance of getting the recommended 5 servings a day, but in practice it doesn’t always pan out like that, or I find myself relying on multiple portions of the same 3 or 4 types of vegetables plus the occasional apple. I recently read that if you make your new years resolutions specific you are more likely to stick to them, as the more you define and refine it the more benefits you will gain.
To define my “eat more fruit and veg” in a more helpful way I will say that what I actually want to do this year is eat more different types of fruit and veg which will have the knock-on effect of encouraging me to learn how to cook with different fruit and veg. No more relying on a handful of frozen peas chucked into a soup at the last minute for me!
Learning how to cook new and interesting produce is one thing, but in order to get the best out of said produce, I also need to know when to cook with what. Large supermarkets have no shortage of produce year round but a lot of that produce has been flown or shipped in from other countries where growing seasons are longer or happen at different times of the year. Produce grown in hothouses also don’t tend to taste quite as good. It’s nice to be able to have a punnet of strawberries whatever the month but have you ever noticed that the ones you buy in the summer months taste exponentially better than any you will get in December? Buying fruit and veg in season not only makes more budgeting sense as prices can drop significantly when there is an abundance of a crop but also is straight up, better for you. Produce loses nutrients the longer it sits on the back of the lorry or plane that is transporting it before ultimately spending time on the shelf. Produce that is grown and eaten in season is always going to taste better and be more nutritious.
Here are a handful of seasonal recipes and produce that I am planning on experimenting with this year:
Quick Korean style pickle using asparagus, cauliflower and cucumber
Individual Rhubarb crumbles
Roasted aubergine stuffed with sorrel, fennel and fresh peas
Homemade elderflower and loganberry cordial (My plan is to make a giant batch that will last until next summer)
Pureed beetroot and squash with lime and smoked pumpkin seeds
Plum tarts (mastering pastry is another new years resolution!)
Red cabbage braced with Rosemary
Pears patched in mulled wine
My mouth is absolutely watering just writing this, I can’t wait to get stuck in and start cooking. You can look online for guides to find out what is in season when in your area but better yet, get friendly with the produce managers at the shops you frequent the most. They will be able to guide you on the best buying time for different items.