When it comes to getting people to eat their greens, just add bacon and mushrooms to beet greens and you’ll have a side dish to remember.
When Dee Mason offered to write a guest post for us on the topic of eating sustainably, I couldn’t pass up opportunity. After all, I live in farm country and supporting my local farming community is of prime importance to me.
Let’s see what Dee has to say . . .
Purchasing and eating foods that are in season is a great way to save money, and the planet. It stands to reason. It is a simple question of supply and demand.
Living Like Lords
In the days of Queen Victoria it became a fashion amongst the British aristocracy to be able to produce a pineapple on Christmas Day. In order to do this, huge resources were poured into heating greenhouses built specifically for the purpose. Piles of animal dung were used to produce the heat needed to allow the pineapple tree to come into fruit. It was a plainly ridiculous endeavor, but whilst we can look back at this scenario and see it as absurd, what we are doing by not eating seasonally is not that much different.
By continuing to insist that we live like those foolish Victorian Lords, and have our pineapple on Christmas day – or perhaps our zucchini in mid-winter, we are not only wasting money, but we are damaging the environment too. Whilst this may not be our primary concern, it should at least be at the back of our thinking. It doesn’t just apply to our food buying – it is an increasing consumer trend to pay attention to all goods, from kid’s clothes to garden furniture, to see how far they have traveled to get to us. Retailers are responding, and there is a local sourcing movement gathering momentum. It’s time to get with the program!
Seasonal Supply and Simple Economics
If there is a glut of zucchini in summer, as there always is, the price is lower. If there is a demand for zucchini in mid-winter, when it is only grown in hot countries or expensive greenhouses, the price will be higher. Thus eating seasonally saves you money. It also saves the carbon emissions from the planes used to transport the vegetables. And it stands to reason that the produce from your own country will be fresher than that which has been flown half-way round the world for you! Bear in mind also that by buying more local, seasonal produce you will probably be supporting the local economy. For smaller producers to get a look in at large Supermarkets they need our support. Small is beautiful, as the saying goes and food produced by smaller producers is likely to be better quality than mass-produced fare.
Variety Is the Spice of Life
Wouldn’t it be dull if we had no seasons at all, if every month were the same as the next? By importing foods and having them available all year round, we are essentially eroding the distinctions between seasons, and giving ourselves nothing to look forward to. Think of the joy of the first strawberries of summer; the taste of the first early new potatoes, the arrival of the purple-sprouting broccoli (which is almost a moment of hysteria in my household); by having the changes in the season blurred into non-existence by costly globally sourced goods, we perhaps lose something of the joy of food and damage it’s links with nature and our own internal natural clock.
So it makes sense to eat seasonally, whenever possible. But how is the consumer to know which vegetables and fruits are in season? It’s confusing when you’re presented with a fantastic array of produce and are sorely tempted to buy the lot! The best method I have found is to keep a list handy in my purse. You soon get to know which produce is in season – a look at the price tags will help too. Supermarkets can offer the best prices on things that are in season!
What Are You Waiting For?
There are a number of sites that will help you find out what is in season in any given month in your country or. Just search the internet for detailed lists, but I will provide a quick starter guide here.
Vegetables: Carrots; leeks; turnips; sweet potato; squash; pumpkins; chestnuts.
Fruit: Apple; pear; grapes; figs
Vegetables: Carrot; Daikon; Swede; Celeriac; Turnip; Brussel Sprouts; Pumpkin; Beetroot; Parsnip; Red Cabbage; Leek; Shallots; Green Cabbage; Savoy Cabbage.
Vegetables: Asparagus; Artichoke; Carrots; Cauliflower; Celery; Kale; New Potatos; Onions; Radish; Rhubarb; Spinach; Watercress
Fruit: Early Raspberries and strawberries
Vegetables: All salad crops, including spring onions, cucumber, tomatoes and lettuces; Aubergine/Eggplant; Green Beans; Zucchini/Courgette; Broad Beans; Runner Beans; Swiss Chard; Cannellini beans; New potato; Peas, Borlotti beans; Okra
Fruit: Strawberries; cherries; greengages; nectarines; apricot; mango; plums; watermelons; figs; rhubarb; peaches; blackcurrant; raspberries; cantaloupe melon.
So get Seasonal Shopping! It’s Fall, and there are some delicious warming recipes to be found on this site which will show you just how versatile and delicious Fall fruit and vegetables can be. Remember, as you peruse, one of the joys of seasonal eating is that it helps you to become more adventurous with your cooking, trying things that you may never have considered before now. What are you waiting for?
Fantastic information Dee! To further help you find out what’s in season in your neck of the woods, check out Sustainable Table, and take Dee’s advice. Print up the list, take it shopping with you, and I bet you’ll find you not only save money, but eat healthier too!
Dee Mason is a professional writer affiliated with www.adams.co.uk. If you’re a fellow blogger, you may be interested in her article on social media and your online reputation.
The beet greens shown here were purchased from our local farmers market, Flower World, in Snohomish Washington. Lovely, fresh and oh, so delicious!
- 1 slices bacon
- ½ cup onion, chopped
- 10 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup vegetable broth
- 8 cups beet greens, chopped
- 1 squeeze lemon juice
- 1. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook chopped bacon until fat is rendered. Add onion and garlic and cook another 5 minutes until onion is very soft. Add vegetable broth as needed to keep it from burning.
- 2. Add remaining ingredients and cook another 3 - 5 minutes to soften beet greens.
Nutrtion Per Serving
Calories: 118, Weight Watchers PointsPlus 3
Total Fat: 2.00g
Total Carbs: 21.37g
Dietary Fiber: 7.53g
The statements made here are strictly my opinion and are not meant to replace medical advice from your physician. Please see disclaimer for further details. Nutrition information is compiled with MacGourmet. If you find discrepancies, please let me know. It’s important to me that I provide you with accurate information.