I just ate a delicious peach. The type that the juices go running down the sides of your mouth and you just want to lay in the sun on blanket drinking some iced tea. Ahhh… delicious. While eating my sweet treat I read a post about a fresh looking strawberry spinach salad on figgy & sprout, and I got to thinking about a book I got as a present called “From Asparagus to Zucchini”. The book is all about different vegetable recipes from farmers and cooks. Last year I was determined to only cook based no what was in season, but of course like many things my goal soon disappeared and I forgot all about it.
So here is a little Q and A about seasonal cooking. (This comes from my own knowledge and what I have learned)
Why cook seasonally?
You should cook seasonally so that you are using the best and freshest ingredients. The meals you make will taste better and you will get the best flavors. You also are letting stores know that you don’t want the artificial stuff they sell, and that you don’t want to buy African Oranges in Nebraska. Why? Because chances are they were grown artificially so that they could make it from the tree to Nebraska and still be fresh. Also, they will usually be less expensive then things that are not in season.
How do I find out what is in season?
There are tons of charts and calendars online, and some farmer’s markets will have them or you can ask local farmers. Here are some sites I found Fruits and veggies matter; Seasonality Chart; Foodland Availability; Choose My Plate Smart Shopping Tips
Where is the best place to find what is in season?
You should be able to find fruits and veggies in your grocery store, but there are many other places. You can try and find a farmer’s market around you. There are sites you can visit like Local Harvest where you can search for your area or from the USDA.
What if I can’t find a farmer’s market?
If you can’t find a farmer’s market near you, you can try using a CSA(community supported agriculture). If you apply to a CSA, a local farm will deliver to you (or you pick up) a basket of produce. The cool thing is you get whatever they have, so you may get to try tons of new produce that you have never eaten! If you want to find one simply type in CSA and your town into google and tons will pop up. I have also seen milk and meat type CSAs.
You can also start your own garden. I live in an apartment, but I am itching to start my own indoor herb garden. Again, go online search for your type of situation (i.e. home garden, apartment gardening, dorm room gardening), and you will find tons of things. I personally have found a bunch of books on Amazon that I may buy about apartment gardening.
What do I cook with all these vegetables and fruits?
As I have said multiple times before on this blog… practice…practice…practice. Try something new, boil, bake or fry your potatoes or asparagus or broccoli. Try new fruit, try fruit in desserts. The day I made the Cauliflower Gratin and Blue Cheese was the first time I had that dish and I liked it enough that I plan to make it again. Try taking bigger vegetables like tomatoes or green peppers and cooking eggs in them. Simple hollow out the inside and put in eggs, salt and pepper, other veggies, bacon or sausage, top with some cheese and bake at 350 until the eggs are set. Or you can make taco meat and do the same. Again, look for books online check around other blogs to find new techniques.
I am glad I did this post, I inspired myself to add some more seasonal fruits and veggies to my diet, and I hope you did too! Any other questions you want to ask please email me or leave a comment!!