Seasonal Fruit and Vegetables
Why should we eat seasonally and what’s currently in season?
The phrase “seasonal eating” is often thrown around with positive connotations, but many of us may be left wondering what it actually means. We hear people praising seasonal eating; it’s good for us, good the planet and good for local communities. But where do we start? With the global marketplace only ever expanding, it’s getting increasingly harder to eat seasonally. Supermarket shelves are always stacked with every kind of fruit and vegetable you could want, so how do we know what’s in season in the UK? We’re here to help explain why we should eat seasonally, what’s currently in season and even get you on your way with a warming winter recipe using our seasonal Soup Up Your Stew Box…
What is Seasonal Eating?
Seasonal eating may sound pretty self-explanatory, it’s just eating what’s in season right? Whilst that is correct on the surface, varying climates around the world mean different growing locations experience the seasons at different times of the year. So, for example, you could be tucking into a strawberry this November, however it will likely have been grown somewhere abroad where the sun is still shining.
Therefore, we should think of seasonal eating more specifically as local seasonal eating. Eating foods at the same time as they are grown in the UK. So, back to our strawberry analogy – we should be enjoying British strawberries at the height of summer and perhaps switching to a hardier fruit (we’re talking English apples and pears) during the winter.
Why Should We Eat Seasonally?
First and foremost, eating seasonal fruit and vegetables means you’ll get the tastiest possible produce. Freshly grown fruit and veg will be riper, sweeter and more flavoursome as it won’t have been sat in boxes during transportation and picked before it was ready. This also means the fruit and veg will be more nutritionally dense. As the produce sits in containers to be shipped or stored it will lose some of its nutritional value. To get the most of out eating healthy fruit and vegetables, choose to eat seasonally for produce bursting with nutritional benefits and flavour.
Nature is also really clever, and we should listen to it more. The seasons provide us with produce that we need at the time. Tougher root vegetables love to be grown in the winter, giving us delicious, nutritious vegetables that make great additions to warming soups and stews. Whereas lighter juicy fruits grown in the summer come with further nutrients to protect us from the sun.
By purchasing local seasonal produce, you can also help support your local community. Less money going into the pockets of middlemen and less costs for transportation and storage means more profits for local growers. This helps to sustain a healthy local ecosystem. Not only this, but less external costs usually results in a slightly lower buying price of seasonal fruit and veg, keeping our pockets a little heavier too.
Last but not least, fewer transportation needs mean shopping and eating seasonal foods reduces our carbon footprint. Anything we can do to help the planet out is a win in our books. Ultimately, eating seasonally is about reducing the time for fresh fruit and vegetables to get from field to fork.
What Fruit and Veg is Currently in Season?
Arguably, winter is the easiest season to decipher what fruit and vegetables are in season. Pretty much all the veggies you’ll find on a Christmas dinner plate will be in season. Think Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, parsnips, potatoes, swede, turnips and white cabbage and red cabbage. Alongside other root vegetables (onions, garlic, beetroot, celeriac, sweet potato), squashes are also in season in the early winter. There’s a reason we carve and enjoy pumpkins at Halloween, plus other squashes such as butternut squash and spaghetti squashes are also in season. Additional lighter vegetables are also in season through the winter, including greens (we always need greens!) such as kale, leeks and celery.
In terms of seasonal fruits, we can also take inspiration from the festive season. Cranberries are a winter fruit, used to make the traditional cranberry sauce that so perfectly accompanies our organic turkey. Elderberries can also be found along British country lanes at this time of year, which can be used to make jams or pies. Apples and pears are also a British fruit that withstands the winter, delicious made into crumbles and served with hot custard.
Winter Stew Recipe
One way to be sure you’re eating seasonal vegetables is to try out our Soup Up Your Stew Box. The idea of this box is that the contents can be used to make winter stews or soups, using organic vegetables that are currently in season. Here’s a simple stew recipe to get you started, using the organic vegetable box contents for next week (15th November).
- 1 organic onion, chopped
- 125g organic leeks, chopped
- 400g organic carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 organic butternut squash, chopped
- 280g organic celeriac, chopped
- 900ml organic vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp organic parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp organic olive oil
- 25g organic butter
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan
- Add the onion and leeks, stirring for 4-5 minutes on a medium heat
- Add the carrots, celeriac and butternut squash to the saucepan and continue stirring for 2-3 minutes
- Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then simmer for 20-25 minutes
- Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth
- Return the mixture to the saucepan, season with salt and pepper then stir in the parsley.
- Reheat gently and serve