Why Buy In Season Fruits and Veggies?

Just like clothing, food has fashions and trends. It isn’t just diets which go through fads. Store bought canned fruits and veggies were all the rage while frozen TV dinners were actually considered exciting in the 1950s. The Space Race inspired a variety of dehydrated and instant foods that flooded supermarkets in the 1960s. The new forms of convenience made these seem like attractive options at the time but tastes change. Nowadays, you might find yourself hearing about artisanal toast from foodies who are freegan.

Are current food trends going to seem silly in the future? Probably. In fact, there is no shortage of people already annoyed by these concepts. But one habit which has been back en vogue as of late is the idea of eating in season fruits and vegetables. This is one which has a lot of value and should be considered a good habit instead of merely a style or fad.

The idea of eating in season fruits and vegetables is largely self-explanatory but it may have been off your radar due to the fact that nowadays we can find almost all of the same produce in the supermarket the whole year round. In short, all plants have natural cycles at which they are at their best. It’s easiest to notice this with flowers – daffodils and tulips have their time in the sun come spring, sunflowers shine in the summer, and mums make autumn brighter. The same goes for fruits and veggies – which is why the quality of favorites like watermelon and strawberries vary greatly at different times of the year. (Don’t blame the produce manager. Ed knows what he’s doing!)

This leads to the number one reason to buy in season fruits and vegetables: TASTE! That’s why we love food, isn’t it? Of course you appreciate nutrition and its ability to keep your body alive. But it’s flavor which makes eating a pleasure instead of just a necessity. Produce that is in season is always going to have the best flavor. The out of season stuff you find in the supermarket has usually been grown in faraway climates. In order to travel a long way without rotting, they have to be harvested before they are completely ripe. This premature picking prevents their flavors from reaching their full, tasty potential.

Sometimes it’s unavoidable. Can you imagine going without your favorite fruit or veggie for the eight to ten months that it’s out of season? Complete abstinence isn’t necessary. Instead, experts recommend taking advantage of what is in season when meal planning. For example, tomatoes are a staple of most kitchens because of their presence in a variety of cuisines. (Can you call it Italian food without tomatoes?) That isn’t to mention their ability to be enjoyed raw or cooked. They’re better in summer and in the Western New York area (where Austin Air is located) they’re at their absolute best in late summer. So September is the time to make big batches of fresh salsa or spaghetti sauce. To put it another way, in season fruits and vegetables should take a starring role in your dishes because, like a superstar, they’re ready for their close up.

There are other reasons to make a point of buying in season fruits and vegetables: 

  • Taste isn’t the only thing that develops when fruits and veggies have a chance to ripen properly – it is also believed that nutrients are better developed. There is also some evidence to suggest that fresh vegetables maintain more nutrients when being cooked than their canned or frozen counterparts.
  • It is also generally accepted by environmental experts that it is better for the planet to buy foods that are in season because they typically don’t have to travel as far to get to your market – expending less fossil fuels.
  • Costs are also generally lower because supplies are higher. For some of us, that may be all the convincing we need.

As previously stated, don’t feel obligated to completely avoid items that are out of season. At the end of the day, eating fresh fruits and vegetables are the best part of your diet. Instead, you’re encouraged to be mindful of what is in season so you can make a point of enjoying your favorites while they are at their best – and cheapest. The months when things are at their best won’t change so a tiny bit of learning will forever arm you with the knowledge of how to take advantage of what your supermarket produce section has to offer all year round. Happy eating!