Go back a generation or two and the idea of how to eat seasonally would just have been called normal eating.  My dad used to work in fruit and veg and he always tells me that certain foods just weren’t around at certain times of the year.  Now, with imports and transportation improvement, we can have food from around the world at any time of the year.  But if you want to eat seasonally, what kind of foods are available now and for the rest of spring?

Advantages of trying to eat seasonally

While looking to eat seasonally can be good fun, there are also some solid advantages to following the idea that might work for many people.

Health benefits

To get the most from any fruit or vegetable, getting it as fresh as possible is always the best option.  By eating seasonally, you are eating food just after it has been harvested and therefore is getting the very top nutritional benefits from every bite.  Also, there are some people that suggest our bodies need certain nutrients at different times and that the food that is naturally available at these times have higher amounts of these. 

Helping local businesses

By eating seasonally, you are boosting local businesses as this encourages supermarkets and other stores to buy the freshest food available nearby.  This helps everyone and means you are supporting your local economy as well as getting the best food.  Nothing wrong with importing food but it is nice to get good stuff and help your local economy too!

Helps the environment

Another point made by www.eatlocalgrown.com is that if you eat fresh food that is grown locally, the food is more environmentally friendly as it has travelled less of a distance to reach you.  This reduces pollution and helps boost the natural seasonal produce that in turns follow the natural cycle of things.  An interesting point too!

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March food

As we are half way through the month, I thought I would have a look at what kind of foods are classed as March foods.  Typically, these are a mixture of foods that have been growing over winter as well as some of the very short term, early spring produce that will appear towards the end of the month.

eat seasonally

A glimpse of the vegetables in season this March

Most of the food in season for March are vegetables because these grow over winter and are ready for harvest this month.  These include:

  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celeriac
  • Chicory
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Leeks
  • Parsnips
  • Potatoes
  • Purple sprouting broccoli
  • Salsify
  • Shallots
  • Swede

As the name suggests, Spring Greens are showing themselves in the shops this month.  This is a type of cabbage that have a fragrant and slightly nutty flavour to them.  They are ideal in place of other greens on a roast dinner as well as in salads.

In terms of fruit, the only real one to mention is rhubarb (not that it ever seems like a fruit to me!).

Eating seasonally for spring

As we move into April, lots more foods will become available from local producers to continue to eat seasonally but to add more to the list.  Added to the existing list will be things such as apple, asparagus, Brussel sprouts, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, onion, radish and red onion.  Herbs such as basil, chives, dill, parsley and sorrel will also be started to create enough leaves to harvest and these are ideal for window box growing.

By May, the list gets even longer and includes one of my parent’s favourites – Jersey Royal new potatoes.  Both lambs and curly lettuce will be available along with peas, radish, spinach, spring onions and watercress.  Broccoli makes an appearance in May on the list so is the perfect time to try my Broccoli and Cheddar Soupmaker Soup recipe!  There are also plenty of fresh herbs to add to recipes including chervil, chives, coriander, dill, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage and tarragon.

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Conclusion

There’s a lot to be said for eating seasonally and can also be a good fun way to find recipes based around just what is available freshly.  Sure, you don’t want to avoid imported foods to do this but it is a good way to boost nutrients, support local businesses and even help make choices when faced with that sea of fruit and vegetables.

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