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Eating With the Seasons

 

December 10, 2020

So much of life revolves around the turning of the seasons and yet eating habits have become more and more estranged from the natural cycle. However, there is so much to be gained from getting back in sync with the seasons when thinking about what to put on the table! Seasonal eating goes beyond being healthy to become a more satisfying and socially responsible way to eat; it also has the potential to support local farmers.

Produce that is in season is more likely to be purchased closer to its harvest, which translates to being fresher and more nutrient dense at the time of consumption. According to Dr. Diane Barrett, a Food Scientist at the University of California - Davis, fruits and vegetables "...[U]ndergo higher rates of respiration, resulting in moisture loss, quality and nutrient degradation" following harvest. This is an important consideration because nutrient degradation in postharvest produce translates into the decline of important macronutrients, such as fiber, and important micronutrients, such as vitamins and minerals. Without the presence of all macro- and micronutrients available in fresh fruits and vegetables, consumers will also miss out on the developed flavors a complete nutritional profile provides. It's safe to say the more complete nutritional profile of produce consumed in season tastes that much better.

Seasonal eating can be as simple as integrating a handful of in-season foods to meals on a weekly basis. An easy way to get into this habit is by keeping a list of seasonal foods handy when grocery shopping. Be sure to add these fall and winter fruits and vegetables to your grocery list: Apples, Bananas, Beets, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Green Beans, Grapefruit, Kale, Lemons and Limes, Pears, Pumpkins, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard.

Also, keep this easy and delicious recipe full of seasonal vegetables nearby when planning dinners for the week!

Ingredients

2 cups halved brussels sprouts

1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 medium onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon freshly chopped rosemary

Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside. Place vegetables in a bowl. Add olive oil, salt and pepper, and chopped rosemary. Toss to combine. Tip the vegetables out onto the foil-lined baking sheet and spread out into a single layer. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and golden brown, stirring once or twice.

It's not a surprise to anyone that fruits and vegetables have more flavor when they are fresher and ripe, but now you can rest easy knowing that they also have higher nutritional value and that your purchases have the potential to give local support.

 
 

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