Strolling through the countryside, it might be obvious what fruits and vegetables are in season. That’s because you see them growing in fields or gardens and sitting in farmer stalls by the roadside. If you live in a place where it’s not so apparent, you may have to do a little digging to figure out which seasonal foods you need.
Unless you notice a large amount of a certain product filling up the produce shelves at the grocery store, it’s sometimes hard to tell exactly what was recently picked off the plant.
Arranging your eating habits to harmonize with the growing times in your area could have many benefits that go beyond convenience. A quick Google search can reveal the foods readily available near you for the current time of the year. But why should you consider eating this way? If you can buy pretty much any food you want, is there really a reason to eat with the changing climate?
The truth is, there are benefits to eating seasonally-ripe food. So, here are a few reasons to tune into the growing cycles of the plants that surround you.
- Easier on Your Wallet
Whether you’re shopping in exciting Brooklyn neighborhoods or a quaint town in southern Louisiana, you don’t want to spend more on food than necessary. Following the logic of supply and demand, when produce is ripening in nature, there will be more of that product for grocery stores to buy. That means the prices at your local store will be lower than at other times of the year. Buying out-of-season items means the store has to have them shipped in, which means they’re less fresh and more expensive.
So, choosing to eat with the season will not only be less expensive but the foods you’re eating could be local as well — and that’s perfect for the planet.
When your food is cheaper, it’s also a great time to stock up on your favorites and freeze them to use during the off-season. But note that not all produce withstands freezing, and some take special care, so be sure to look up the proper way to freeze them before you start.
- Better for Your Body
Not only is seasonal eating wallet-friendly, but it could be better for your body as well. Foods grown on their regular cycles contain higher nutritional values because there is less time between harvest and consumption.
Some studies show those nutrients in fresh and local produce are the same ones your body needs at that particular time. Plus, the food tastes better. Have you ever eaten a strawberry in October when the typical growing time is in March? It’s like you’re eating a different fruit altogether.
- Friendlier to the Planet
Buying foods in-season and locally eliminates the need for shipping from faraway places. That saves on fuel which, in turn, lessens the pollution generated from traveling by water, land, or air. On the other hand, local produce grown at the proper times takes little resources from farm to table, requiring little travel time and less strain on the planet.
Eat in Harmony
Eating as one with the cycles of nature makes sense in a lot of ways, from your wallet to your body to the Earth we share. As creatures of this planet, it makes sense that our health needs align with the nutrients contained in the fruits and vegetables that grow at certain times of the year.
Working with nature instead of against it is a good way to bring more flavorful and nutritious foods to your table without breaking the bank. After all, food’s whole purpose is to keep you alive, healthy, and strong, so if you can do that while saving money and helping the planet, it’s a win-win for all.