‘Tis the Season

According the Shanghai Daily, summer has officially started.  That means a return to heat, humidity and yummy summertime eating. And to eat well in the summer ( or anytime) means choosing what’s in season.

“Eating seasonally” has become a buzz word in the nutrition and health media but it is certainly not a new concept. Actually up until the advent of refrigerated transportation  it wasn’t a “concept” at all. Eating what was in season was just what people did. Strawberries in the northeast of the United States were available from June until mid July. When that was over  you didn’t eat fresh strawberries again until next June (unless you froze some for later). But that was ok because you had raspberries in July and peaches and sweet corn in August to take their place at the table. Nature herself provided the variety in your diet.

Turns out people knew what they were doing even before they knew what they were doing. Somewhere that seasonal rhythm to eating  got lost along the superfood highway and now there are national efforts to get us back to what came naturally, eating foods in season.  But how to tell what’s in season ? With globalization and the ability to create plants and environments that will produce all year round, it is quite difficult to know what is in season.

So what is all the fuss about ?  If it is so easy to get strawberries all year round, why bother to eat seasonally ? Food grown in season is cheaper, might possibly carry fewer pesticides, is more likely to be local and therefore has fewer travel miles on it and it tastes better ( really it does). Most importantly, eating seasonally automatically adds a delicious variety of foods to your diet and all that adds up to better nutrition for you and your family.

With just  a bit of effort you can have a good list of seasonal fruits and veggies to shop for.  Start at the wet market,the cheapest items are usually the ones in season.  For a good clue as to what is in season today, just walk along the Shanghai streets and see what great piles of fruit are being sold off the trucks.  Don’t want to do the legwork ?  Use the internet. Fields, the online grocer, identifies which items are in season in the fruit and veg categories.  Most local organic farms will also feature whats in season.  And with a few clicks of the mouse you can Google the information.

For this early summer season EWS has done some of the work for you.  Great seasonal choices now include:

FRUITS:  Mangosteen ( my favorite), Rambutan,Dragon Eye, Xinjiang Melon,Watermelon

VEGETABLES: Edamane, Asparagus, Water Spinach, Beet Root, Daikon, Sweet corn

Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun !