Is shopping and cooking with the seasons worthwhile?

seasonal food + cooking

Choosing seasonal produce is a natural approach for many food lovers. It’s something they have done for years and they inherently know the benefits of shopping and cooking with the seasons.

They discovered long ago that in-season produce tastes great, is really affordable and it makes cooking easy as the ingredients are full of flavour.

These food-lovers have (developed over time) a knowledge of what to buy each season to gain these benefits. They know asparagus, mangoes and broad beans and peas are outstanding in springtime. That winter is the time to cook with cabbage, parsnips, turnips and rhubarb. That autumn delivers apples, pears, almonds, beetroot, eggplant and pumpkin to be enjoyed. And so on.

It’s an automatic action for some food-lovers around the four seasons of food and they don’t think too much about. Others take a maximalist approach to shopping for ingredients when nature intended.

These food-lovers often enjoy expanding their knowledge around seasonal food and cooking and this is an audience I really enjoy interacting with through my writing.

However the audience I equally I want to be reaching are those who don’t yet have a lot of knowledge about seasonal food and cooking. Simply because I believe they could benefit if they knew what to buy and when to buy it.

I’ve seen first-hand how providing someone with season by season produce lists can guide what they shop for on a weekly basis. And how their cooking transforms as shopping with the seasons slowly but surely becomes automatic.

This has been the case from people who came across a mention of using seasonal food in a recipe. Others came to read about seasonal produce online, heard a discussion on radio or a conversation where a stallholder at a market was telling a customer which apples were best that week.

No matter the starting point getting your hands on seasonal shopping lists will be a game changer for many as the fresh produce they buy is leading towards ingredients packed with real depth of flavour, are naturally abundant, nutritious and are really affordable.

One aspect often overlooked is you don’t have to be shopping at a farmers market to gain these benefits. Shopping with the seasons can be done in supermarkets and greengrocers. Farmer’s markets will likely offer a wider variety of ingredients, but seasonal food is on offer wherever fresh ingredients are sold.

There are also many other benefits of having knowledge of what’s in season. I know people who can now choose dishes from restaurant menus which feature seasonal ingredients. And they tend to be the best tasting dishes!

Even for those who don’t cook much at all it can guide them to buying the best fresh fruit for the week ahead or even ready to eat salad mixes and prepared vegetable packs.

Also if you enjoy preserving food for future use such as pickles, jams, sauces and preserves then seasonal lists will guide you to what to buy and when.

So where to from here? Well it’s pretty easy really as I have free to download seasonal produce lists on my website blog under a post titled The Four Seasons of Food.

If you are after something more substantial I have designed seasonal produce tote bags, each bag comes with a full list of the best fresh produce for that particular season.

For those who would prefer keeping a list of the very best seasonal food at their fingertips the new seasonal produce phone cases are just the thing for you.