- 31 Mar 2017
Seasonal, organic, fresh and local – we’re always preaching the good stuff, and as autumn descends it’s time to boost our immunity and up our intake of seasonal produce.
To get you in the mood for fresh food, we reveal the top seasonal swag for autumn, and some recipe inspiration to boot; and for those interested in why seasonal is superior…we’ve detailed all the reasons why you can’t beat produce that’s in season, organic and fresh.
Seasonal eating means building your meals around the foods that are being harvested at their absolute peak. And this means foods that are seasonal to your local area, the reason being, we have a natural body clock for food, and adjusting our food intake to incorporate seasonal produce means you’ll be adjusting your diet to meet the health challenges of that particular season1.
Flavour-full food is the number one reason why seasonal should be standard! Produce that’s in season tastes better, it’s been given the growing time and optimal conditions to ripen to perfection. Plus, seasonally harvested produce has a higher nutritional value because it’s consumed closer to harvest and many antioxidants and vitamins decline when stored for periods of time2.
Another delicious win-win is that growing seasonally requires less human interaction, and being the local produce of the moment, there should be an abundance in supply which naturally drives down the price!
Understanding seasonal produce and making sure you utilise those ingredients will see more variety in your diet, which is great for your overall health and wellbeing. For example your early April diet should be full of beetroot, cabbage, pumpkin and chicory, but when you get to early October, you can start getting creative in the kitchen with bok choy, salads and spring oinion3!
Seasonal also equals sustainable – something we are big advocates for. Growing in sync with the seasons requires less energy and far less human assistance. Supporting local farmers and growers also reduces energy expenditure when it comes to transport and storage – far kinder to the environment.
Organic refers to food or farming methods that don’t utilise chemical fertilizers, pesticides or other artificial chemicals.
Although the controlled use of pesticides may be necessary in parts of the world to combat food shortages, if locally grown organic produce is available to you it’s a healthier option.
In addition, chemicals used on crops stay in the environment for a long time, their use isn’t targeted efficiently and their effects become widespread, so much so that groundwater contamination with pesticides has been noted globally4. Encouraging organic farming will reduce the impact of chemicals in our waterways, preventing harm to local ecosystems.
Opting for organically grown also promotes responsible soil management. Crop rotation is essential for the maintenance and development of soil fertility, meaning the soil is more nutrient rich and able to supply optimal nutrients to the crop!
Food-lovers and health-conscious consumers know that farm-to-table eating, the idea that food goes through the least amount of steps to get from where it’s grown to where it’s eaten5 is the best way to eat – you get the freshest of the fresh!
Fresh food tastes better – fact – and preservatives added to pre-packaged, processed foods can be a problem. Preservatives are added to prolong shelf life, stopping bacteria and mould. Eating foods that contain preservatives can have an effect on our bodies normal flora too, the bacteria our gut needs for optimal health.
If those weren’t reasons enough – these four autumnal-eat ideas are sure to get you in the mood for seasonal food.
AUTUMN SEASONAL FRUIT > FIG > FIG, MOZZARELLA & PARMA HAM SALAD
Figs are delicious – and are twice as nice for being in season in both Summer and Autumn. With a plethora of health benefits including being a good natural source of fibre and full of essential minerals6, these sweet fruits complement salads beautifully. We love Honest Cooking’s Arugula Salad with Figs, Buffalo Mozzarella and parma ham, perfect for lunch or dinner, simply add the ingredients together, drizzle with honey and add croutons to serve!
AUTUMN SEASONAL FRUIT > POMEGRANATE > WARM QUINOA, SWEET POTATO & KALE SALAD
Pomegranates are divine…but getting those pesky pomegranate seeds out can be off-putting. Full of antioxidants and many other health benefits8 check out Matt Stone’s pomegranate hack to enjoy seasonal pomegranates with minimal fuss! Not enough cinnamon’s warm quinoa, sweet potato and kale salad incorporates these flavour full seeds and is a great recipe for lunches and eating on the go!
AUTUMN SEASONAL HERB > FENNEL > ROASTED FENNEL & CAULIFLOWER SOUP
For those who love the liquorice taste of fennel – now’s the time to buy your bulbs and get cooking! A great source of folate and vitamin C, fennel also contains a significant amount of fibre that helps lower cholesterol7. A delicious addition to salads and roasts, but for a change of pace why not try In Sonnet’s Kitchen’s roasted fennel and cauliflower soup recipe – perfect for those cooler autumn evenings.
AUTUMN SEASONAL VEG > BEETROOT > ROASTED BEETROOT HUMMUS
Brilliantly bright – beetroot’s earthy taste and immune boosting capabilities make it an essential autumnal root veg! Packed with potassium and vitamin B9, make use of this versatile veg for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Try making As easy as apple pie’s roasted beetroot hummus recipe – your healthy snacking needs sorted!