Eating seasonally also benefits the environment and sustainability. Having fresh produce that is in season means there is less transport required and therefore a lower carbon footprint. It is likely to be fresher as produced locally and so has been picked more recently. It is possibly more nutritious as it is more fresh, therefore less time for the nutrients to degrade as the food spoils, plus will have been picked when it is riper, therefore having spent longer on the plant. Subsequently, it is likely to taste better which is another reason why we would naturally choose foods at their time of season.
Choosing in season produce may also be lighter on the purse as there are less transport and growing costs as the food isn’t grown in managed conditions. It’s also exciting to make the most of the changing availability of fresh produce, encouraging variety and different tastes, as well as nutrients into your diet. Do not get stuck in a rut with the same meal ideas and recipes.
Seasonal foods in the UK for spring:
Rhubarb is one of the main fruits - I have to admit I love a rhubarb crumble or stewed with yogurt (obviously the healthier option!) and that is from a memory-based love, as I used to grow rhubarb and cook it with my grandparents. Why not add it to a bran or oat muffin for a change or jazz up a grilled pork chop with a rhubarb chutney with vinegar, onion, and lime zest? It doesn’t just have to be restricted to dessert, plus, this adds another portion to your five-a-day.
Other seasonal foods to look out for include artichoke, beetroot, cabbage, carrots, chicory, new potatoes, kale, morel mushrooms, parsnips, radishes, rocket, sorrel, spinach, spring greens and watercress, which are all coming into season.
All of these foods can be used to produce amazing and colourful salads, coleslaws or kebabs – all lovely dishes for a BBQ. Invite some friends over and cook chicken or fish on the BBQ, it’s a healthier way of cooking that adds flavour. Serve with some tasty sides – a jazzed up grain salad with grated beetroot and carrot, or spicy stir fried kale with chilli and garlic, or a peppery radish, watercress and rocket salad. Or, add a twist to your usual coleslaw by using a half fat creme fraiche and chicory.
Contact Sarah Farren for nutrition advice at escanutrition.co.uk.