The Benefits of Eating Seasonally

In this post, Jason tells us about the benefits of seasonal eating and where to look for a tasty, late summer treat during our foraging adventures!

Wild blackberries growing in Whitworth Park

Blackberries are incredible. At this time of year they’re ripe, deliciously sweet and you can find them in all supermarkets or grown wild across the UK in bramble bushes (just make sure they’re blackberries and not something else!)

So what makes this time of year the best time for blackberries? Well, to begin with, it’s the right season to pick them which often means they’re at their best in terms of flavour and nutrition. Every year, between August and October, you will find many blackberries turning from green to red to black across your walks in woodlands, gardens and even along public footpaths. They are everywhere!

It is their abundance and shorter travel times to reach our shops and markets which makes their prices cheaper this time of year compared with, say, winter. It also means that the quality and freshness of the fruit remains higher when it reaches our baskets and into our jams, yogurts, cakes or straight into our mouth.             

So, you may have gathered by the title and narrative that I am leading you into reading about the benefits of eating seasonal produce and not the suggestion of eating just once a season!

Some might say that there’s not as much variety when compared with imports. I admit that it is true. We will likely always be dependent on imports due to what can be grown in varying climates and landscapes. However, making the most of what is locally available to us allows the most flavoursome and nutritious produce to play a bigger part in our diets, complimenting imported products we combine them with. Seasonal fruit and vegetables are often cheaper in price, with the added bonus that the money supports UK farmers and helps reduce the pressures on food production abroad, as well as our carbon footprint.

There is also an interesting article, released by the New Scientist, about a study that suggests having a seasonal diet can possibly increase your gut bacteria. If that is true, the idea of ‘eating the rainbow’ for our health could not be more important.

So what varieties of seasonal foods can we look out for this summer?

I’ve always found pictures very useful for putting a name to things we see every day but don’t always know the name of. How many can you name? Answers are at the end.

The choice of eating seasonally will always be our personal choice but if you can, I would encourage you to taste test something that has naturally ripened in season and you can determine whether it is worth the wait.

As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait…

Answers:

Aubergine, Blackberries, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Courgette, Chillies, Cucumber, Discovery Apple, Garlic, Lettuce leaves, Peas, Potatoes, Red pepper, Spring onions, Summer Squash, Tomatoes

Resources

Jop De Vrieze, ‘Eat a seasonal diet and your gut microbes may change in sync’, New Scientist Accessed here: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2145275-eat-a-seasonal-diet-and-your-gut-microbes-may-change-in-sync/

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