Around here our food is put up around the harvesting schedule, which in turns makes this our schedule. I was really bad at it my first year here, but I am doing better this year thanks to help from some local farm ladies, much love to all of them!
So, with that being said, here is a general chart of when fruits and vegetables are ready to be harvested. Bring on the fruit and vegetable pickings, followed by canning parties.
You may not even realize how much of your nutrition can come from eating seasonal fruits and vegetables. There are some fruits and vegetables that are just associated with certain seasons: watermelon in the summer, corn for Independence Day, pumpkin seeds for the fall, and so on, and so forth. Not only is eating seasonally a delight and reminds us of certain holidays and memories, it is amazing to be able to have these foods home grown when possible.
What Americans have to learn more and more is that eating in-season can add years to your life and better equip you to overcome health issues. There are plenty of other countries that have always practiced in-season consumption and the proof is in the pudding when you compare their overall health to that of the average American. The way we eat in America has to be de-programmed and re-examined.
Aside from the feeling of satisfaction attached with eating what you harvest, there are other benefits to consuming foods that are naturally made. Plus, even if you don’t grow it yourself, it is just easier to find foods that are grown locally. They also offer more nutrients, are less like to be preserved artificially, and are packed and shipped probably somewhere near your house. This way, you know it’s fresh and not shipped from some distant region.
The even better aspect of in-season foods is that they are full of the things your body needs to reach optimal health. At the end of the day, seasonal just makes more sense than having foods shipped internationally. How can they possibly be fresher than what you can find in your own neighbourhood? Many people, myself included, believe that seasonal foods should only be bought from nearby farms and markets during certain times of the year.
Eating peaches and watermelon just seems to make more sense during the summer, when it can get particularly hot and we tend to sweat more. During the fall, when we crave warmth, we tend to gravity to more starchy fruits and vegetables, like squashes, potatoes, beans, lentils, and peas.
In some countries, only seasonal produce is used – for example, in Italy, the cooks prefer not to use off-season produce that has been transported from international regions. Unfortunately, this is not a process that is employed as much in America and we are paying the price for it nutritionally.
The timing has to be right as well. In Japan, culture and food go hand in hand, and most fruits and vegetables are deeply tied to the time of the year. They have even done research that shows that when vegetables are grown and eaten during the proper season, they tend to contain up to three times more vitamin C than spinach grown artificially. No one knows if this is true of all fruits and vegetables as not enough research has been done on the subject, but what is known is that eating in-season is far more beneficial when eaten during the time of year that it was harvested.