Seasonal Produce: Why It Matters

Eating in season is a way to be assured you can get more fresh produce. Less chemicals are used to create and preserve fresh vegetables that are in season and more of the nutrients are available in most fruits and vegetables the closer they are to harvest. The cool thing about the present world we live in is that even if you live in Florida and a seasonal food is produced in California it can arrive in your state overnight if you wanted it to. So no matter where you live in the country in this day-in-age you are basically able to get pretty fresh seasonal produce.

Seasonal Produce: Tips and Tricks

If you want fresh produce that is not in season, don’t be afraid to freeze your fruits and veggies and or buy them fresh frozen. Frozen produce can be kept in the freezer for 8-10 months before going bad! Some studies suggest that frozen produce can contain even more nutrients than fresh because fresh produce contain enzymes called trypsin and chymotrypsin that can cause loss of color, flavor and nutrients after they are harvested.

Some foods like apples, bananas, carrots, celery, lemons, limes, are always in season in some part of the United States, so that is why you may see them so commonly in many grocery stores and dishes in restaurants.

Where to Find Seasonal Produce:

Grow it Yourself: If you live in a climate that can foster the growth of your own herbs, fruits or veggies GO-FOR-IT! There are a lot of cool home growing kits and tools you can purchase and watch your food grow in your own backyard, kitchen or balcony. Hydroponics, which is a method of growing plants without soil, has been becoming more popular and garden towers are becoming more available for us to purchase and have in our homes.

Get it Locally:  Go to either your closest farm, if that’s an option, or farmer’s market for fresh seasonal produce. A farmer’s market is one of the most assured places to find local, seasonal and fresh produce. Support local growers by purchasing this way if possible.

Buy it Fresh from the Grocery: At your local grocery store chain you can find fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables pretty easily. These stores don’t usually make it known about what’s in season, but sometimes you can get a good idea from what’s on sale. The seasonal fruits and vegetables seem to be on sale more frequently because – well they are in season and more abundant!

Freeze Them or Buy Them Frozen: It could be a could strategy to grow or buy the fresh seasonal produce and freeze them for use in another season. Be sure to buy it fresh and freeze it right away or buy fresh frozen fruits and vegetables. These fruits and vegetables should have been taken from their prime seasonal growth and frozen in a timely manor to preserve nutrients and freshness.

What’s In Season When?

Spring:

Apples, apricots, asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, collard greens, garlic, kale, kiwifruit, lemons, lettuce, limes, mushrooms, onions, peas, pineapples, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, Swiss chard, turnips

Summer:

Apples, apricots, avocadoes, bananas, beets, bell peppers, blackberries, cantaloupe, carrots, celery, cherries, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green beans, honeydew melon, lemons, lima beans, limes, mangos, okra, peaches, plums, raspberries, strawberries, summer squash, tomatillos, tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini

Fall:

Apples, bananas, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, collard greens, cranberries, garlic, ginger, grapes, green beans, kale, kiwifruit, lemons, lettuce, limes, mangos, mushrooms, onions, parsnips, pears, peas, pineapples, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, raspberries, rutabagas, spinach, sweet potato, Swiss chard, turnips, winter squash

Winter:

Apples, avocados, bananas, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celery, collard greens, grape fruits, kale, kiwifruit, leeks, lemons, limes, onions, oranges, parsnips, pears, pineapples, potatoes, pumpkins, rutabagas, sweet potatoes and yams, Swiss chard, turnips, winter squash