A restaurant menu focused on seasonal produce is now super cool, but do you know why it’s important to eat seasonally?
Quite simply, when you eat locally and seasonally you know you are eating the freshest, most abundantly available produce. It is better for everyone – you get the tastiest veg, the local farmer benefits and food miles (the distance our food has to travel from the farm to your fork) decreases so you get to save the environment, too. Another unexpected benefit is to reconnect to nature’s seasonal cycle. If you have children, this is especially important as it teaches that food does grow at specific times, a hard concept to grasp when imports from all around the globe ensure that supermarket shelves look the same practically every week of the year.
If you're wondering when you should start, the answer is: now. A survey in BBC Good Food magazine showed we’re not as good as we think at figuring out what is in season when. Of the 2000 people it asked, 86% claimed it was important to shop seasonally, 78% said they were doing it – and yet only 5% could say when blackberries were at their best.
I want to help make 2018 the year that you can embrace this concept. Watch out for my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/kellyhafnernutrition/ for regular reminders of what’s in season each month and a little inspiration for what to do with it.
Where to buy seasonally......
Farmers’ markets are a great place to find local seasonal veg. Make it your mission this month to find out what’s on near you. Ask friends and family and, if you’re feeling bold, ask the question on your Facebook page to get the quickest response. Failing that, try these two resources to find a place near you:
Having someone else do the hard work and just bring you the goodies is also a good thing. If you’ve never considered getting an organic veg box, it can be an amazing experience. It’ll teach you super fast what is in season when, you’ll get some of the best produce available in your area and delivered to your door, and it will wake you up to the magic of cooking.
I wonder whether this resonates with you. I actually LOVE cooking but it often turns into a real chore; a juggling act between what everyone wants to eat (usually the same things week in, week out) and what I actually have in the fridge or cupboards. Inviting a veg box into your life forces you to try something new, and this can be very invigorating.
The following offer a huge variety of veg-only or fruit and veg boxes, some even with a ‘pick your own’ element where you can pick and choose exactly how much of what you have.
Let’s start off with something delicious that you might not have tried that’s in season this month: Celeriac, recipe provided courtesy of BBC Good Food.
Celeriac Ribbons tossed with Chard, Garlic and Pumpkin Seeds
1 small celeriac, peeled
40g pumpkin seeds
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
15g grass-fed butter or ghee
4 thyme sprigs, leaves only
2 finely chopped garlic cloves
1/2 tsp drdied chili flakes
1 bunch chard, leaves separated from stalks and shredded.
20g pecorino romano
1. Using a vegetable peeler, cut long wide strips (about the width of parpadelle pasta) around the curcumference of the celeriac, into a bowl of water and lemon juice, until you have lots of ribbons. Allow for more than you would if just using pasta.
2. Dry fry the pumpkin seeds in a pan until they've puffed and popped, set aside.
3. Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil. Add the celeriac for 1 min, drain and reserve the water. In a non-stick fry pan, heat the oil and butter until the butter has melted. Add the thyme, garlic and chili and cook mixture for approximately 5 minutes until fragrant and almost golden (being careful not to burn).
4. Add the chard and stir, add pumpkin seeds, season and squeeze in some lemon juice. Turn up the heat and stir in half the grated cheese. Add the celeriac and a slosh of the cooking water and toss, shaking the pan until the sauce looks glossy. Divide between plates and serve.