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The reason for seasons

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There are very few foods that are only available at a certain time of year. (No) thanks to the rise in imported fruits and vegetables from all over the world, we can eat strawberries and blueberries in December. Even mince pies are known to creep into the supermarket by October.

I fear we are losing sense of the order of things: of spring greens through to wintery root vegetables. There’s a magic and excitement when you haven’t eaten a particular dish for many months. It’s not unlike the way we associate turkey with Christmas. In some ways I think it’s possible to retain that sentiment of reverence through our habits. Eating more seasonally doesn’t so much restrict our diet, so much as expand our horizons and encourage more creative cooking.

Let’s not become spoiled. When we can eat what we want whenever we want, it becomes harder to cherish it. But as the old adage goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. I suspect in this case, it really does apply. Can you live and eat according to the seasons? It’s no easy task, but I am attempting to alter the landscape of food around me. For one, I am no longer purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables from half way around the world if British-grown versions are available at other times of the year – strawberries and asparagus are a great example of this. Granted, it’s a small step, but it’s an important one.

I recently listened to an interview with the late Marguerite Patton, who spoke of her experiences of rationing during the war. There was a lump in my throat when I thought back to how many sacrifices people made during those days and how easy it is for us these days to run down to the supermarket and walk through aisles and aisles of products before deciding on what we will have for dinner. One easy way to introduce this concept to our children is by eating more seasonally. Doing so serves as a gentle reminder of how much we grow in abundance in Britain and of just how lucky we are for so much choice.

In celebration of the seasons and for the small window in the year when courgette flowers are more readily available, I’m sharing a very simple recipe. Courgette flowers are often served deep-fried and they are absolutely divine when prepared this way. However, I find that coating them with crispy breadcrumbs and baking them offers the same wonderful experience and is ever so slightly healthier.

 

 

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