5 Reasons to Eat in Season

Scroll

Today’s blog is all about reasons to eat in season.
With the improvement in technology and consumer demands, consumers can now buy things like strawberries and apples in supermarkets all year-round instead of when they’re growing naturally in their season.
This means these out-of-season fruits and veggies are either being grown in greenhouses or flown in from warmer countries. Here they are often picked before they are ripe for ease of transport and therefore unable to fully develop their flavours.

As a result, you actually get less—less flavour and less nutrition. Compare the sweetness and flavour of a tomato in February to one in August and you’ll know what allowing food to fully ripen means to your taste buds!

That’s why we’re extending a challenge to our readers and customers to eat their vegetables and fruits in season. Not only does it carry benefits to the planet, but also to your health and your wallet.

Read on to learn 5 Reasons to Eat in Season, and at the end, there’s an autumn seasonal eating list to help you get started!

eat in season

No. 1 – Seasonal Eating = Less Expensive

Food is always going to be easier to grow when it’s in season. This makes it more abundant, less time-intensive for the grower or farmer, and often more affordable for the consumers.

Buying out of season produce is much more expensive because of the:

  • time
  • shipping distance
  • fuel costs
  • amount of people involved with getting that produce from one place to next. This often involves produce sitting in a shipping container going across the ocean.

It doesn’t even need to be shipped a great distance to cause a price increase. Simply growing fruit and veggies out-of-season in a false season environment, such as a greenhouse, still adds up to more energy consumed and higher costs. Unfortunately for us, these costs are more often than not passed along to the consumer – that would be you and me!

To avoid paying such a hefty price for your produce, think “Less energy, less transit time, cheaper total cost.”

If your produce is in short supply or has travelled a long way, you’re going to pay more, so try to buy locally and seasonally.

eat in season

No. 2 – Seasonal = More Nutritious

Food that is in season is likely fresher, tastier and more nutritious. This makes it much better for you than food grown out of season or food that has been lugged about the planet for days.

When produce is grown in its proper season, under its natural growing conditions, these seasonal foods have time to grow and develop all of their nutrients and flavours. Seasonal and local fruits and vegetables don’t have to endure as much travel, so they don’t lose those vital nutrients.

As soon as a fruit or vegetable has been picked or harvested, the nutritional values begin to break down.
Since out-of-season produce may be shipped from thousands of miles away, it can spend days in transit, losing valuable nutrients along the way.

Eating with the seasons also means looking forward to having things at their best. Equally, it means variety because you won’t be eating the same ingredients all year round. Instead, you’ll be consuming a variety of different beneficial supporting nutrients. Even better if you can source the ingredients locally.

eat in season

No. 3 – Seasonal Foods = Are more Flavoursome

It goes without saying, fresh produce picked in-season tastes significantly more flavoursome in comparison to an out-of-season product. Foods that are shipped from around the world, often picked prematurely before they’ve been given the chance to fully and naturally ripen will taste noticeably different.

Let us go back to the tomato example, comparing the sweetness of a tomato in February to one in August.

Often fruits and vegetables are picked prematurely in order to ensure the produce survives the duration of a long trip or has time to mature during travel. Think about the times you see only green bananas on a supermarket shelf without a glimpse of yellow. Or mangos that have no delicious sweet scent coming from them and are as hard as a rock!

I’m not saying never eat them because they don’t grow here in Ireland. Instead, I encourage you to put more of a focus on what’s in season where you are as opposed to making these out of season foods the staple of your diet, month in month out. 

One other thing to think about are the chemicals used in growing and transporting out-of-season foods. Not only for growth rates and pest prevention but for appearance too.

Foods picked too early and travelled long distances won’t look or smell nearly as good as the seasonal ones that were allowed to grow to their peak both flavour-wise and nutritionally.
To make them look more appealing, produce is often given:

  • chemical ripening agents
  • artificial fertilisers
  • chemical pesticides and fungicides
  • wax coatings
  • other preservatives

As a result, these can all affect the flavour of the produce, not to mention the potential damage caused to the environment and your own health.

eat in season

No. 4 – Seasonal = Variety = Good

Eating seasonally means that every few months we’re trying something new. That’s a good thing for both our taste buds and our health. Different vegetables and fruits contain a wide range of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. If we don’t eat a variety of foods regularly, then the good stuff that comes from asparagus or nectarines won’t be available to us if all we eat are peppers, onions and apples.

Following the seasons allows us to consume different foods containing different nutrients.
Check out this Eat Seasonally Calendar which helps you discover what’s in season throughout the year!

No. 5 – Seasonal = More Environmentally Friendly

There’s nothing like juicy fresh fruit and wholesome vegetables right at their seasonal best. There’s something so good about eating food when it’s just been picked. It tastes better, it’s better value and it’s a better deal for the planet.

Shipping fruits and vegetables over long distances can have a large impact on our planet, from:

  • increased greenhouse gas emissions
  • atmosphere pollution
  • energy usage

Seasonal and local foods more often than not have to travel much shorter distances compared to non-seasonal fruits and vegetables. Thereby, they require less carbon-footprint-increasing transport such as aeroplanes.

It does seem a bit silly to buy apples shipped all the way from New Zealand. Especially when for a lot of the year we can munch on native versions of our own.

veggies

But how do I do it? How do I know what’s in season?

Do your research!
Find out what’s in season right now or chose to look month by month at Eat the Seasons.

If you’re shopping at local farmers market you can ask the seller what they have that’s in season now. A lot of the time they will be happy to tell you as they probably have an abundance of it!!
You can also ask them exactly where they get their produce from.

And remember, just be mindful of your choices. If you want to include more leafy greens in your diet and kale is out of season but your supermarket shelves are just bursting with it, don’t feel you have to turn them down because you’re “eating seasonally.”

This also goes for foods such as bananas, pomegranates and passion fruit. No, they are not what you’d call native fruits to Ireland by far, but they are not to be disowned should you enjoy them! Just try to be mindful of your choices and opt for the majority of your shopping basket to be seasonal and local.

What’s in season in the coming months?

OCTOBER

artichoke| beetroot| broccoli| butternut squash| celeriac| celery|chicory| chillies| fennel| garlic| horseradish| Jerusalem artichoke| kale| kohlrabi| leeks| lettuce & salad leaves| marrow| parsnips| potatoes (maincrop)| pumpkin|radishes| rocket| runner beans| salsify| shallots| swede| sweetcorn| tomatoes| truffles| turnips| watercress| wild mushrooms|
apples| bilberries| blackberries| elderberries| figs| grapes|pears| quince

NOVEMBER

artichoke| beetroot| butternut squash| cauliflower| celeriac| celery| chicory| horseradish| Jerusalem artichoke| kale| kohlrabi| leeks| parsnips| potatoes (maincrop)| pumpkin| salsify| shallots| swede| truffles| turnips| watercress| wild mushrooms|
apples| clementines| cranberries| passion fruit| pears| pomegranate| quince| satsumas

DECEMBER

beetroot| brussels sprouts| cauliflower| celeriac| celery| chicory| horseradish| Jerusalem artichoke| kale| kohlrabi| leeks| parsnips| potatoes (maincrop)| salsify| shallots| swede| truffles| turnips| wild mushrooms| apples| clementines| cranberries| passion fruit| pears| pineapple

I grabbed this list from Eat the Seasons – pop over there for more information.

So there you have it – 5 reasons to eat in season!

Emily Nöth

Any questions? Drop into your local Nourish store to chat with our expert team and explore our full range of foods, supplements and skincare. You can also find our full product range in our online store.

Follow (and chat with us) on Facebook and Instagram or subscribe to our weekly Nourish newsletter.

Image of Nourish female staff member standing in doorway of shop

*Please note that while we are knowledgeable about our products and nutrition, this blog should never be a substitute for medical advice and attention

Please remember that you should always obtain the all-clear from your doctor before starting any new supplement plan or diet if you’re on any medication

Useful Links:

Jamieshomecookingskills
http://www.eattheseasons.co.uk
bbc good food
For more ideas about what’s in season and when, plus how to get the most out of the delicious, seasonal produce available, see this article. It gives a healthy recipe for one seasonal food per month!