By Adele G
BAppSc (Naturopathic Studies)
PGradDip ( Naturopathy)
Walking into a supermarket during winter and seeing all the summer fruits available such as strawberries may be convenient. However is the convenience of having fruits and vegetables which are not in season being available to us worth it?
The best consequence of eating seasonally is that you get the best tasting, healthiest food available. While Australia produces a wide variety of fresh fruit and vegetable crops all year round, there are some products which only grow for a few months of the year. In thesec ircumstances, growers store products in cold storage when they are out of season so Australians can purchase Australian products all year round. The reality being that much of the produce that ends up on your kitchen tables has been stored for months and travelled huge distances to get to you.
When purchasing fruit and vegetables which are not in season you need to consider how the produce was manufactured, with things like; was it picked unripe, frozen and then gassed to ripen? If the ripening process of the produce is disturbed, so is its nutrient content. Most fruits and vegetables reach their nutritional peak around the same time they should be harvested. Not only will they taste better but their nutrient content would be higher. For example the redder a red tomato is, the more beta-carotene it contains.
When produce is in season locally, the relative abundance of the crop usually makes it less expensive. If you’ve ever tried to buy cucumbers in winter or oranges in summer, you’ll know what I mean.
If you purchase fruits and vegetables in season you will be surprised at the variety that you will have all year round.
In spring you will find delicious fruits such as: Bananas, blood orange, grapefruit, mango, papaya and pineapple. A variety of colourful, nutritious vegetables such as artichoke, asparagus, beans, broad beans, broccoli, carrot, cauliflower, cucumber, lettuce, peas, potato, silver beet, spinach, tomatoes and zucchini.
In summer you won’t be able to resist: Apricots, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, guava, mangoes, nectarine, passionfruit, pineapple, raspberries. The variety of vegetables for summer salads include asparagus, capsicum, celery, cucumber, eggplant, lettuce, radish, squash, zucchini and zucchini flower.
Autumn is the best time for: Asian greens, broccoli, brussels sprouts, beans, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, ginger, leek, lettuce, onion, parsnip, peas, potato, pumpkin, sweet potato, turnip and mushrooms.
A variety of delectable fruits such as apple, banana, custard apple, figs, grapes, guava, honeydew, kiwifruit, lime, mandarin, mango, nashi, papaya, passionfruit, peach, pear, persimmon, plum, pomegranate and quinces.
We all know winter is the time for oranges, however there are other fruits available as a sweet treat: Apples, custard apple, grapefruit, kiwifruit, mandarin, nashi pear, quince, rhubarb and tangelo. Winter also has a great variety of vegetables for winter warmer meals such beetroot, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, celery, fennel, horseradish, Jerusalem artichoke, leek, okra, olives, onion, parsnip, peas and turnips.
So when you are picking produce, next time remember that seasonal eating not only has more nutrient value but you will be supporting your local farmer too.