Simply put, seasonal eating is eating food (with reference to fruit and vegetables) that is grown and sold during its optimal growing season.
Benefits of eating seasonally:
- The flavour of season-appropriate produce is much better because its fresher and has been grown, ripened and harvested during its peak. That is why a tomato grown, picked and sold at the right time, is packed with much more flavour. Out of season produce on the other hand, is unlikely to taste the same (or even nice L) because it would have lost too much of its flavour and nutrients along the growing (unnaturally), storage and transportation process (possibly being imported from elsewhere).
- Eating seasonally is also a lot lighter on your wallet. This is because out of season fruit or vegetables need more time, nutrients from the now cold soil, artificial growing and storage solutions, transportation and even possible importation from other countries. The higher cost is then passed on to you, the consumer. That is why out-of-season produce is more likely to be expensive to buy, if you do find it at the store. For example, a punnet of strawberries will be more expensive now than it was during the spring-summer months.
- Eating seasonally also helps to give your body its season appropriate nutrients-that is why we find ourselves craving for and eating certain foods during certain seasons. Heart-warming and creamy soups, hearty stews and the likes in winter and fresh fruit and salads in spring and summer. The produce that we eat in the summer caters for the body’s need for more energy and carotenoids (found in red, yellow and orange fruit and vegetables) to protect against sun damage.
Summer (December, January, February)
Artichokes, asparagus, aubergines (eggplant), baby marrows, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, celery, chives, chillies, corn, green beans, rhubarb sugar peas, patty pans, pumpkin, radishes, red onions, spinach, and sweet potato.
Apricots, apples, bananas, blackberries, cherries, figs, grapes, guava, kiwi fruit, lemon, litchis, mangoes, melon, mulberries, nectarines, pawpaw, peaches, pineapples, plums, pomegranates, prickly pears, prunes, raspberries, strawberries, sweet melon, watermelon.
Autumn (March, April, May)
Artichokes, aubergines (eggplant), baby marrows, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, butter beans, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chives, courgettes (zucchini), cucumber, mushrooms, onion, parsley, peas, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, sweet peppers, squash, turnips.
Apples, avocados, figs, granadillas, grapefruit, grapes, lemons, naartjies, oranges, pawpaws or papayas, pear, pineapples, plums, pomegranates, quinces, sweet melon, watermelon.
Winter (June, July, August)
Asparagus, artichokes, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, cucumber, Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, spinach, spring onion, squash, sweet potatoes, turnips, waterblommetjies.
Apples, avocados, dates, grapefruit, kumquats, lemons, limes, melon, naartjies, oranges, pawpaws or papayas, pears, pineapples, tomatoes.
Spring (September, October, November)
Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, Cape gooseberries, cherries, coconuts, dates, grapefruit, guavas, lemons, limes, naartjies, nectarines, oranges, pawpaw or papaya, pears, pineapples, plums, strawberries, sweet melon, watermelon.
Artichokes, asparagus, aubergines (eggplant), baby marrows, beans, beetroot, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, courgettes (zucchini), cucumber, kale spinach, leeks, lettuce, parsnips, potato, pumpkin, radishes, red onions, rhubarb, turnips, watercress.