Eating with the Seasons
Eating with the seasons puts us back in touch with nature - our greatest healer. Historically, eating seasonally was of the most natural ways to keep in rhythm with nature, to help to restore balance when our body feels taxed and ungrounded by the ever-changing temperatures and climates. Nature designed us to eat seasonally; it is the way we have eaten throughout our evolutionary history.
What does it mean to eat ‘seasonally’?
Seasonal eating focuses on choosing produce that is naturally grown and freshest with the season, this means it is naturally ready or ripening for in preparation for consumption. Nature intended for us to eat seasonal foods at the times that they are at their best, which is often when you’ll find the highest nutrient quality in the vegetables that are in season.
Have you ever noticed that in summer, your strawberries taste sweeter and juicer and your sprouts taste earthier with a better crunch at Christmas? This is because these foods are naturally grown at this time of year and therefore thrive in the environment.
For example, in summer - we have light delicious berries, light leaf salads, cucumbers and apricots. As we head into autumn, we seek foods such as leeks, carrots and potatoes. When winter comes around, we are seeking grounding and nourishing ingredients such as parsnips, sprouts and squashes. It’s no wonder that the time of year and the weather impact the foods we crave and desire – nobody is craving a raw cucumber salad in December.
Incorporating preparation techniques that honour the seasons will enhance seasonal eating even more - with more raw, light, and cool dishes during the summer months and more nutrient-dense, warming, slow-cooking foods during the winter.
What’s in Season for September?
September is often deemed the most varied month in the ‘seasonal vegetable garden because we see the gradual change away from the summer crops such as tomatoes, courgettes and runner beans but the introduction of the autumnal produce such as apples, pears, squashes and carrots. This means we can be experimental with the foods we eat and the variety of nutrients too.
To name a few – we see:
- Bell Peppers
- Sweet potato
Does seasonal eating have an impact on our health?
It has been shown that the nutrient content of fruits and vegetables varies within the season, climate and ripeness when harvested – with produce being the most nutrient-dense, straight after harvesting. As mentioned previously, you’ll notice that the taste of the produce changes as a result. For example – it was found that turnips have the highest antioxidant and vitamin content in autumn and winter in comparison to summer – as this is when they are most ripe and in season. Similarly – Rosemary was found to have higher antimicrobial content in the summer, often when we opt for Rosemary as the topping of our summer drinks and salads.
Top tip for supporting our health as the season's change
If you look around, you’ll notice that the produce that is in season often correlates with the colours of the environment at that time of year. In September, we notice the beginning of Autumn with oranges, reds and brown leaves which are mirrored in the vegetables that are harvested such as squash, beets and potatoes. These are the richest in nutrients and should be prioritised as the season's change. It’s no coincidence that these fruits and vegetables also contain the highest amount of Vitamin C to support your immune system as we start to pick up winter flus and colds – isn’t nature fantastic?