Cooking with in-season ingredients is a great way to stay healthy and within your budget. It also helps to improve your meals, as in-season ingredients are at optimal flavour. Seasonal produce is more likely to be naturally sun-ripened, while out-of-season fruit and veg have likely undergone ripening in packaging or gas emission rooms.
Alternatively, they’ve been imported, which doesn’t help your carbon footprint or budget. While you may think that buying an imported avocado in summer harms no one, remember that buying out-of-season produce creates a vicious cycle of demand and supply.
The more people begin buying seasonal produce only, the more grocery stores will begin to phase out the sale of out-of-season and imported goods that are tough on the environment and your wallet.
The end product also often undergoes a less labour-intensive process, and buying seasonally could mean that the produce has been exposed to less or no genetic modification.
Seasonal eating is also Mother Nature’s way of providing the human body with what it needs to adapt to what the new season will bring.Autumn, when everyone begins getting sick, is the time for pomegranates, which contain three times the number of antioxidants compared to a well-known superfood like green tea.
Summer is abundant with fresh and tropical fruit, all of which hydrate the body. (Bonus: You’ll end up being more mindful of the environment and how certain dishes affect your body!)
It also provides a great challenge, as seasonal eating forces you to get more creative with your cooking in order to change the way you see ingredients you’ve used for so many years, like cauliflower.
Need more ideas?
We’ve rounded up what’s in season now, plus some of our favourite recipes to make with them.
Autumn vegetables and what to do with them
Aubergines (Quinoa salad with baby marrow, aubergine and harissa yoghurt)
Avocadoes (Chocolate protein power smoothie)
Baby marrows (Zola Nene’s braaied corn, courgette and spinach salad)
Beans (Three bean chorizo stew)
Beetroot (Seasoned roast beetroot)
Broccoli (Spaghetti with broccoli and avocado)
Brussels sprouts (Shredded brussels sprouts with chorizo and walnuts)
Cabbage (Spicy cabbage and potato curry)
Cauliflower (Creamy vegan cauliflower risotto with maple soy mushrooms)
Celery (Vegan detox celery leaf pesto)
Mangetout (Garden pea pasta)
Leeks (Spinach, leek and feta tart with sweet potato crust)
Mushrooms (Garlic mushroom with avocado and basil)
Peppers (Red pepper potato frittata with chives)
Spinach (Spinach and egg tart)
Squash (Honey roasted butternut)
Sweet potatoes (Chicken and sweet potato salad with orange dressing)
Tomatoes (Quick quinoa stuffed tomatoes)
Autumn fruit and what to do with them
Blueberries (Blueberry and banana muffin)
Figs (Roasted figs with Gorgonzola cream)
Granadillas (Gin and coconut granadilla curd cake)
Papayas (Papaya lassi)
Peaches (Peach and coconut cake afternoon tea)
Pears (Chilli sausage and pear salad)
Plums(Spiced plum crumble bars)
Pomegranates (Low carb pomegranate and herb chicken with cauli rice)
Watermelons (Steak bruschette with watermelon salsa)