All you need to know about eating seasonally
Like Gary Barlow circa 2007, or Andy Murray at the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, every fruit and vegetable too has its glorious peak time when it’s at its very best, and full of natural goodness and flavour. We all know this, but many people’s idea of eating seasonally is pumpkin spice lattes. Or, worse, it’s seen as just another foodie fad.
After all, you can find anything your heart desires in supermarkets these days (who hasn’t had strawbs in the middle of winter, ‘just because you can’?). ‘So why should I bother eating seasonally?’ I hear the sceptics among you say.
Well, I thought you’d never ask! My friend Lucy has been trying to get me into eating seasonally and, as a convert, I can now tell you it makes sense whichever way you look at it – and it’s easier than you think. So here’s all you need to know about eating seasonally.
Because you get the best-tasting food
Fruit and vegetables that are grown, harvested and sold locally at the peak of their season will retain all their flavour and nutrients. So they’re extra delicious and extra good for you.
Because it’s cheaper
Seasonal food is available in abundance. And when there’s an abundance of a product, its price goes down. It’s basic supply and demand. It’s also cheaper to produce, harvest and distribute, which means less ‘food miles’ and less CO2 emissions – so I like to see this as ‘everyone wins’!
Because it supports the local economy
Before you pick up that overpriced Peruvian artichoke in December at the supermarket, think again. Buying seasonal produce locally is a great way to support producers in your area. And if, like me, you LOVE a lazy weekend jaunt to your local farmers’ market, it’s a no-brainer.
Because it’s fun!
Maybe it’s just me, but I get such a buzz when I try out new ingredients and recipes that I wouldn’t normally use (my other half isn’t all that overjoyed, but that’s a story for another time). I love the challenge of coming up with a recipe based on the season’s quirkiest ingredient (hint: this season it has to be kohlrabi).
So what’s in season right now?
Butternut squash and pumpkin are the obvious autumn delights, but some of my personal favourites are also truffles, turnips, wild mushrooms and chestnuts, and of course Scotch Lamb just now is full of glorious flavour. You can find a full list of what’s in season here.
And now we come to the best part – some of the best seasonal recipes based on my all-time, year-round, whatever-the-weather faves: Scotch Beef and Lamb of course!
Beef and pumpkin stew
Tucking into this feels like autumn just descended on your taste buds – plus, slow cooking is a sheer delight at this time of year.
Butternut squash is one of the most popular veggies at this time of the year, and this spicy curry really does it justice.
Roast beef with creamy parsnips and horseradish
Parsnips and horseradish are both in season – and they complement the rich taste of beef beautifully. I’m tempted to cook this every single Sunday this autumn.
Shepherd’s pie with cheesy leek topping
The British classic gets a seasonal upgrade with a delicious cheesy, leeky topping. Yum!
Lamb’s liver with orchard fruits
Lamb’s liver is quite a delight anyway, but the seasonal fruit add an extra layer of flavoursome awesomeness.
Horseradish sauce for steaks or beef joint
Isn’t beef and horseradish sauce a match made in heaven? Here’s a quick and easy recipe to help you get your horseradish sauce right every time.
I’d love to hear some of your favourite seasonal recipes – you can post them in the comments section below. And hopefully all this has inspired you to head down to your local co-op or farmers’ market and pick up some of the tastiest autumnal treats.