What Does It Mean To Eat Seasonally and Why Should We Do It?

On the surface seasonal eating might seem like a simple food philosophy yet we’ve become so far removed from it due to decades of operating within a globalised food system. Looking back 100 years ago, it wouldn’t have even been called seasonal eating, just eating what was on hand, ripe and ready to be eaten!


Before science was used to aid agriculture, it was only possible to find fresh produce during the season it grew in (as produce relied on weather and other natural growing conditions). Now, pretty much any fruit or vegetable is available regardless of the season. Go grocery shopping in the peak of winter looking for tomatoes. No problem. Strawberries? You bet. Grapes? Absolutely. 


What Does It Mean To Eat Seasonally? 


Eating seasonally means eating foods that are naturally harvested at that time of year. Eating produce out-of-season means a lot of the time keeping them in cold storage in order to preserve their freshness, or using impactful farming methods such as pesticides and greenhouses to force them to grow all year round. As you can expect, this uses a lot of resources which come with a huge carbon footprint. Eating seasonally is not only a cost-effective way to add more nutrients into your diet, but it also tastes better, is cleaner and better for the environment. 



5 Benefits of Eating Seasonal Foods:  


1) It saves money


The biggest misconception is that it is expensive, or only for the folk who shop at organic farmers’ markets are able to afford seasonal produce. This is far from the truth! Seasonal eating can actually be the cheapest way to eat, as long as you know what to look for and when. When produce is out of season it costs a lot to either be grown in artificial conditions and this cost gets passed down to the consumer. When you eat seasonally, produce can be grown in natural conditions and not maintained fresh in cold storage till the point of sale, making it much more affordable. 


2) It tastes better


Food grown and picked out of season are picked earlier than they should so do not get the chance to fully develop, in turn, flavour and freshness is compromised. Seasonal produce is harvested at the very best time of year so will taste far riper, sweeter and fresher. 


“If you’ve tasted a tomato outside of its seasonal window, you’ll know that the taste is almost water-like with a much less intense flavour and freshness as a tomato doesn’t harbour a lot of flavour when eaten out of season.” - as said by Jyoti Patel, CEO and Founder of FeastBox and Red Rickshaw, in a recent interview with Food Navigator.



3) It's healthier

 

Supermarkets have long been using wax coatings, cold storage, pesticides and radiation in order to preserve produce and expand their shelf life. It is no surprise that these harmful practices alter the nutritional value of the produce. Furthermore, it’s much healthier for us to be consuming produce void of any harmful chemicals. 


Fun fact: in the summer, stone fruits provide us with extra beta-carotenes and other carotenoids that help protect our skin from the sun. Don’t you just love nature?!



4) It's better for the environment


Around 96% of the environmental impact of food production occurs even before either of the transportation or packing phases begin. This is usually down to artificial and intensive farming methods. Eating seasonally reduces energy (and associated greenhouse gas emissions) needed to grow the food we eat.


“By bringing the world’s best produce to the people of the UK and beyond, we want to help the food industry and foodies embrace the world’s biodiversity and balance the world’s diet, so that it isn’t so weighted towards sustainable animal farming and high-yield, low nutrition cash crops.” - as said by Jyoti Patel, CEO and Founder of FeastBox and Red Rickshaw, in a recent interview with Food Navigator.



5) It's exciting


The greatest joy of eating seasonally is the opportunity to reconnect with nature’s cycles and the discovery of the diverse and delicious foods that our seasonal climate provides. When you make the conscious effort to eat seasonally, it opens up a window of ingredients and dishes that you may have never considered before. Take bitter melon, a part of the gourd family and a staple in many Asian cuisines. Bitter melon is praised for its immense health benefits and is even arguably known as the king of all superfoods (yet most people have never even heard of it!). 






Part of FeastBox’s mission is to connect its customers with the world’s tastiest recipes and introduce them to intriguing, hard-to-find, seasonal ingredients that they may have never cooked with before. We want to help the food industry and foodies like you to embrace the world’s biodiversity. By sourcing seasonal produce, we can guarantee ingredients that have a lower environmental impact than mass produced over-farmed crops. https://feastbox.co.uk/


If you’ve been with us for a while and feel like a FeastBox graduate, have a go at conjuring up your own recipes using the raw ingredients. Head over to Red Rickshaw, our sister company and the home to the world's most intriguing and hard-to-find ingredients.

https://www.redrickshaw.com/


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