I love winter, not only because it means snuggling up by the fire, but it is the season for slow cooking, enjoying the luxury of soups and stews, tagines and woodfired goodies!
Winter always makes me wonder though about seasonality and the always abundant supermarket veg aisle…
I was in Tasmania earlier this month and was curious to note that most veg patches I visited were bordering on empty, apart from a stray broccoli sprout, a bunch or two of rhubarb and a thriving rosemary bush. Those who have poly tunnels or green houses are able to extend their growing season, but essentially, the ground is bare and the harvest is done.
The difference between that cold climate and our garden, in a more temperate zone, is that we are still plucking juicy cherry tomatoes, the last of our summer zucchini, fabulous leeks and celery and don’t even get me started on the growth spurt the parsley, rocket and sorrel have had!
The thing I note with interest though, is that despite this variety in growing season, the supermarkets in Tassie were equally well stocked as those in my part of the world…with fruits and vegetables of all descriptors, both seasonal and not!
As a nation we have acquired a taste for fruits and vegetables all year round, meaning we are consuming foods out of their season. In one way we are fortunate to live in a vast country with a range of climates, which is just perfect for food….but what this consumption out of season means is that our foods are potentially lacking in nutrition and are impacting on our planet as the carbon impact of transport bites.
Do we really need to eat asparagus from Peru in July?
This month we should be enjoying the late autumn harvest of pumpkins and the earthy delights of beetroot and spuds. The hardy brassicas like broccoli and cauliflower are in their peak and the cabbages, leeks and celery are at their sweetest. Navel oranges and many varieties of apples come into their own at this time of year.
My advice to you is this – eat with the season, learn what vegetables and fruits are in its prime, enjoy the winter bounty and make the learn recipes that make the most of the harvest and buy from your local farmers markets (or from your own garden) to ensure you are purchasing locally grown, nutritious and seasonal food!
Submitted by Rebel Black on behalf of What Can I Eat