Eating Seasonally

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Have you ever heard of the phrase “eat seasonally” and wondered what this meant and why it is important?

 

Eating seasonally refers to purchasing fruit and vegetables when they have naturally ripened. As fruits and vegetables naturally grow in cycles and ripen during certain seasons each year.

 

These days we are lucky enough to have access to an abundance of fruit and vegetables year round, unlike years ago when you could only purchase certain fruits and vegetables when they were in season.

 

Why if we have access to an abundance of food year round, would it be important to still eat seasonally?

 

It is important to realise that just because produce is available year round, does not mean that the quality is the same throughout the year.

Below are some of the benefits for opting for in season produce:

  • Eating seasonally is more affordable:

    Opting for in season produce generally means it is in peak supply and therefore both fresh, tasty and more affordable. This is because supply = demand and in season produce is more abundant and requires less travel, time, and other expenses such as greenhouses (which are required to grow produce when out of their normal season). For more information on what is in season, have a look at the seasonal produce charts below. Another way to find out what is in season is looking out for supermarket specials, or going to your local farmers markets and talking to the farmers about what is in season.


  • Eating seasonally is better for the environment:

    By choosing locally grown, in season produce, you are doing your part to look after the planet. This is because buying locally requires less resources to transport and store the food, leading to a lower carbon footprint.


  • Eating seasonally supports the farmers:

    By choosing in season fruits and vegetables, you are supporting Australian farmers and what they are growing. Look out for “made in Australia” labelling. It is also important to support your local farmers. Next time you are after fresh fruit and vegetables, see what your local farmers market has on offer.


  • In season produce contains more nutrients:

    By opting for in season produce, you are more likely to buy produce that has been grown for the correct amount of time. Rather than produce that is picked  before it has had time to fully ripen and therefore the nutrients have not fully developed. It is important to also remember that out of season produce has travelled large distances and been exposed to certain chemicals to control its ripening. This can have an effect on the nutritional density of fruits and vegetables, especially on their levels of antioxidants and certain vitamins and minerals.  By eating seasonally and including a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet it will ensure you are consuming adequate amounts of different nutrients and an abundance of fibre.


  • In season produce is tastier:

    This is because in season produce is generally harvested when it has fully ripened and not undergone certain processes such as being cooled to stall ripening or stored and transported large distances. Certain produce, especially our off season produce may be ripened in hot rooms, with humidity or ethylene to cause a more uniform ripening. These methods possess no food safety issues, however when seasonal fruit and vegetables are ripened naturally on the plant, tree or vine and harvested when they have reached their prime, they are tastier, crisper and sweeter.

 

So now that you have more of an idea around the importance of eating seasonally, what fruits and vegetables are in season and when?

 

Seasonal Food List:

AUTUMN (March- May)

Fruit:

  • avocado
  • apple*
  • blackberries
  • banana
  • cumquat
  • custard apple
  • feijoa
  • fig
  • grapefruit
  • grapes
  • guava
  • kiwi fruit
  • lemon
  • lime
  • mandarin*
  • mango
  • mangosteen
  • nashi
  • orange*
  • papaya
  • passionfruit
  • peach
  • pear*
  • persimmon
  • plum
  • pomegranate
  • prickly pear
  • quince
  • rambutan
  • raspberries
  • rhubarb
  • strawberries
  • tamarillo

Vegetables:

  • artichokes
  • asian greens*
  • avocado
  • beans*
  • beetroot
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • capsicum
  • carrot
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • choko
  • corn
  • cucumber
  • daikon
  • eggplant
  • fennel
  • leek
  • lettuce
  • mushrooms*
  • okra
  • onion
  • onion, spring
  • parsnip
  • potato
  • pumpkin
  • shallot
  • silverbeet
  • spinach
  • squash
  • swede
  • sweet potato
  • tomato
  • turnip
  • watercress
  • witlof
  • zucchini

Herbs and spices:

  • basil
  • chervil
  • chilli
  • chives
  • coriander
  • dill
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • lime, kaffir (leaves)
  • lemongrass
  • mint
  • oregano
  • parsley
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • tarragon
  • thyme

apple* aba, bonza, braeburn, cox’s orange pippins, fuji, gala, golden delicious, granny smith, jonagold, jonathan, mutso, pink lady, red delicious, snow, sundowner, artichoke* jerusalem, asian greens* bok choy, choy sum, gai laan, wombok beans* borlotti, butter, green, mandarin* imperial, mushrooms* field, pine, slippery jacks, orange* navel, valencia pear* beurre bosc , howell, josephine, packham, red sensation, williams

 

WINTER (June- August)

Fruit:

  • apple*
  • avocado
  • cumquat
  • custard apple
  • feijoa
  • grapefruit
  • kiwi fruit
  • lemon
  • lime
  • mandarin*
  • nashi
  • orange*
  • pear*
  • persimmon
  • pineapple
  • quince
  • rhubarb
  • tamarillo
  • tangelo

Vegetables:

  • asian greens*
  • avocado
  • broccoli
  • broccolini
  • beans, broad
  • brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • capsicum
  • carrot
  • cauliflower
  • celeriac
  • celery
  • chokos
  • cucumbers
  • eggplants
  • fennel
  • horseradish
  • kale
  • kohlrabi
  • leek
  • mushrooms
  • okra
  • onion
  • onion, spring
  • parsnip
  • potato
  • pumpkin
  • radish

Herbs and spices:

  • ginger
  • coriander
  • dill
  • mint
  • oregano
  • parsley
  • rosemary

apple* bonza, braeburn, cox’s orange pippins, fuji, gala, golden delicious, granny smith, jonagold, jonathan, lady williams, mutso, pink lady, red delicious, snow, sundowner, asian greens* bok choy, choy sum, gai laan, wombok mandarin* ellendale, imperial, murcot, orange* blood, navel, seville, pear* beurre, bosc, josephine, packham

 

SPRING (September- November)

 

Fruit:

  • apple*
  • avocado
  • banana
  • blueberries (start of Nov.)
  • cantaloupe
  • cherry
  • cumquat
  • grapefruit
  • honeydew
  • lemon
  • lime
  • loquat
  • lychee
  • mandarin*
  • mango
  • mulberries
  • orange*
  • papaya
  • pepino
  • pineapple
  • rhubarb
  • strawberries
  • starfruit
  • tangelo
  • watermelon

Vegetables:

  • artichoke*
  • asian greens*
  • asparagus
  • avocado
  • beans*
  • beetroot
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • cabbage
  • carrot
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • choko
  • corn
  • daikon
  • eggplant
  • fennel
  • leek
  • lettuce
  • mushrooms*
  • okra
  • onion
  • onion, spring
  • parsnip
  • peas
  • potato
  • pumpkin
  • radish
  • shallot
  • silverbeet
  • spinach
  • squash
  • swede
  • sweet potato
  • tomato
  • turnip
  • watercress
  • witlof
  • zucchini

Herbs and spices:

  • basil
  • chervil
  • chilli
  • chives
  • coriander
  • dill
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • lime, kaffir (leaves)
  • lemongrass
  • mint
  • oregano
  • parsley
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • tarragon
  • thyme

apple* lady william, artichoke* globe, jerusalem, asian greens* bok choy, choy sum, gai laan, wombok, beans* broad, green, mandarin* ellendale, imperial, murcot, orange* blood, seville, valencia

 

SUMMER (December- February)

Fruit:

  • apple*
  • apricot
  • banana
  • blackberries
  • blueberries
  • boysenberries
  • cantaloupe
  • cherries
  • currants
  • fig
  • grapefruit
  • grapes
  • honeydew
  • lemon
  • loganberries
  • lychee
  • mango
  • mulberries
  • nectarine
  • orange*
  • passionfruit
  • peach
  • pear*
  • plum
  • pineapple
  • rambutan
  • raspberries
  • rhubarb
  • strawberries
  • tamarillo
  • watermelon

Vegetables:

  • asparagus
  • avocado
  • beans*
  • beetroot
  • cabbage
  • capsicum
  • carrot
  • celery
  • corn
  • cucumber
  • daikon
  • eggplant
  • leek
  • lettuce
  • okra
  • onion
  • onion, spring
  • peas
  • peas, snow
  • peas, sugar snap
  • potato
  • radish
  • shallot
  • silverbeet
  • squash
  • tomato
  • watercress
  • zucchini
  • zucchini flower

Herbs and spices:

  • basil
  • basil, thai
  • chervil
  • chilli
  • chives
  • coriander
  • dill
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • lime, kaffir (leaves)
  • lemongrass
  • mint
  • mint, apple
  • mint, vietnamese
  • oregano
  • parsley
  • rosemary
  • sage
  • tarragon
  • thyme

apple* gravenstein, beans* butter, green, orange* valencia, pears* bartlett, william

 

Where can you buy in season, locally grown produce in our area?

Local farmers markets:

 

Markets in Melbourne:

 

Local fresh produce:

 

Fresh produce home delivery boxes

 

Local cafes that utlise seasonal produce:

 

Tips for eating seasonally

  • Try to buy fresh produce from your local markets or farmers market when possible
  • Look out for labels especially in the local supermarket saying “grown in Australia’” or “made in Australia”
  • Refer to our seasonal food charts (above) to know what is in season
  • Experiment with seasonal produce and recipes
  • Look out for produce on sale- seasonal produce is more likely to be cheaper and on sale due to being in abundance 
  • Try to incorporate one new seasonal fruit/ vegetable into your diet each week.

 

What to eat and how to incorporate it

Each new season, refer to the seasonal food guide to look at what produce is in season.

 

INCREASING INTAKE OF SEASONAL FRUITS:

  • Snack on a piece of fruit when on the go or add fruit into your child’s lunchbox
  • Add fresh fruit to your morning porridge e.g. poached pears, stewed apple, warmed berries
  • Add fresh fruit to your salads e.g. mango salad, pear and walnut salad
  • Add fresh fruit into your beverages e.g. slices of lemon, mint and orange infused water
  • Add citrus to you salad dressings
  • Make smoothies out of in season fruits *TIP: freeze your fruits, this creates a thicker and creamier smoothie
  • Add seasonal fruit into your baking e.g. use ripe bananas to make homemade banana bread

 

INCREASING INTAKE OF SEASONAL VEGETABLES:

  • Add seasonal vegetables into homemade fritters
  • Add grilled vegetables to your parmigiana or instead of lasagne sheets e.g. eggplant and zucchini
  • Create a roasted vegetables salad with in season vegetables baked in olive oil, cumin, paprika, cinnamon and mixed herbs
  • Bulk up sandwiches and wraps with salad vegetables e.g. tomato, mushroom, lettuce
  • Snack on vegetables sticks and dip
  • Add in leftover vegetables into your normal salads e.g. pumpkin and chicken salad
  • Create homemade quiches or muffins with in season vegetables
  • Add grated vegetables into your pasta sauces
  • Add vegetables into your smoothies e.g. frozen zucchini or broccoli or cauliflower (I promise you won’t taste it)

 

 

When it comes to eating seasonally, even making a few changes can make a massive difference. Set yourself a goal and aim to buy at least one in season fruit or vegetable per week and slowly build on this.

 

You can now see that eating seasonally has many benefits including benefits to your bank account, nutritional needs, your local farmers and environment.

 

If you would like more information on how you can shop seasonally, how you can implement more seasonal produce into your diet and improve your nutrition, book in with our dietitian today!!

 

Laura Goodridge (Dietitian) at Total Balance Healthcare.

 

This blog post is an educational tool only.  It is not a replacement for medical advice from a registered and qualified doctor or health professional.

Any other questions not answered here? Get in touch with us! Phone:  (03) 97738085    

 

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