As we enter March in the UK and begin to see those little signs of Spring, we can start to see lovely early crops of tasty green veg such as asparagus and purple sprouting broccoli. We also see the humble cauliflower come to the fore, which is a wonderful ingredient for curries, and delicious roasted.
Cauliflower, carrots, kale, leeks, purple sprouting broccoli, salsify, spinach, spring onions, cucumber, radishes, swede, wild garlic, artichoke, early asparagus.
Beef, chicken, pork, rabbit, farmed venison, wood pigeon.
Cod, coley, megrom sole, oysters, Dover sole, haddock, skate, scallops, monkfish, sardines, clams, mussels.
Why should you be eating with the seasons?
1. Better tasting produce
One of the main reasons to eat produce when it’s in season is that it typically tastes better. Generally speaking the reason for this is that the produce is grown in naturally optimum conditions then harvested and available to everyone sooner and ultimately fresher.
2. In season produce is cheaper
Produce that is available in abundance tends to be cheaper. The cost is further reduced with locally sourced produce as it requires less transportation. When produce is in season there is less need for storage again reducing the growers overheads which would otherwise be passed on to the consumer.
3. Higher nutritional value
Produce purchased in season is more likely to have been recently harvested and therefore fresher retaining more of it’s nutritional value. On harvesting, Vitamin C begins to decline and continues during storage with some antioxidant activity declining in cold and room temperature storage like those used in warehousing produce before reaching the consumer.
What about seasonally grown produce that has been frozen?
If you’re not able to pick up fresh in season produce then there’s no harm in grabbing it’s frozen variety. Some studies have shown that produce frozen shortly after harvesting retains the same levels of nutrition as its fresh counterpart. Most frozen fruit, vegetables and fish are frozen within minutes of harvest, locking in those all essential nutrients. One study even showed that freezing fresh produce increased fibre content by making it more soluble.
Frozen produce can also be more convenient for certain ingredients so should be utilised. Ultimately it’s all about using the best quality produce for both flavour and goodness.