Seasonal eating is really easy as well as being more economical. Because of the abundance of produce available in supermarkets we have got out of the habit of knowing when fruit and veg are in season. If you think eating seasonally is all about endless root vegetables in winter, you may be surprised with what is available.
Fruit and veg are not the only ingredients that are affected by seasonality. Some ingredients such as game are controlled by law. It is not possible to buy game such as pheasant, grouse or deer at certain times of the year. Fish has its season too and the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has a helpful guide to what fish is available at certain times of the year and what alternatives there are. As with game, the fish will breed at certain times of the year, and need time to grow and develop.
You might have to be a bit more adventurous with your cooking but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. There are a number of websites that give you information on the produce that is available in certain seasons, including Eat Seasonably and the Vegetarian Society.
January and February may seem bleak months to be thinking about fresh vegetables however there is a wide variety available. Including parsnips, leeks, onions, butternut squash, purple sprouting broccoli and a range of cabbages. You can make some really tasty dishes from these vegetables such as leek gratin, a stir fry with the broccoli, a butternut squash tagine.
Apples and pears, although harvested in autumn, store well and can be kept for a year in the right conditions and are available at this time of year. Try and buy English varieties so that you’re not using up the air miles of apples flown in from New Zealand or South Africa.
As the year goes by you can consider preserving vegetables. You could pickle them or if you have the capacity, keeping them in the deep freeze. By blanching green vegetables such as green, runner or French beans in hot water for a few minutes and then chilling quickly in cold water, you will be able freeze them without them losing too many nutrients or colour.
Eating seasonally means things taste better. If you are picking the veg at the time it is ripe/ready for harvesting it will taste better.
Click here for more details on what foods are in season
For details from the vegetarian society
For details about the MSC