Eating well often means eating that which is in season, and the start of summer is a great time to get familiar with what fruits and vegetables are harvested when so that you can make wise and flavorful decisions during mealtimes.
Why eat seasonally?
We have abundant choices when it comes to what we eat. Having access to foods from across the world throughout the year is a blessing that enables our diets to diversify and our palates to expand. As little as a generation ago, access to food was largely limited to one's geographic location, meaning that people were much more in tune with the earth's natural rhythms of growth. It's still possible to do this today when you are mindful of seasonal eating. When you eat seasonally, you eat something at the peak of its ripeness, when the fruit or vegetable's flavor (which typically comes from the nutrients inside it) is maximized. This means it will be more enjoyable—and more healthful.
What is in season when?
Just because something isn't in season where you live doesn't mean that it's not in season in another part of the world. While eating seasonally and locally is ideal, focusing on what is in season is more accessible. In the springtime, look for leafy greens, strawberries, peas, and asparagus. In the summer, fruits and vegetables like plums, cherries, peaches, eggplants, zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes are great options. In the fall, you'll find the ripest apples, potatoes, onions, and carrots. In winter, look for citrus fruits, mangoes, and grapes, which will be at their peak. Fruits and vegetables like apples, potatoes, carrots, and rutabagas (root vegetables in general) store well, so they are also good choices at this time.
Tips for delicious seasonal eating any time of the year:
When you go out to eat, look at the specials first. High-quality restaurants and chefs will go out of their way to prepare food at the peak of ripeness. At the grocery store, you can buy and freeze large quantities of in-season produce. Strawberries frozen in the springtime can make a tasty (and nutritious) smoothie in the winter. Eating seasonal food is just one aspect of a healthy diet: how much you eat, the quality of other staple ingredients, and the community you share meals with all contribute to a well-rounded diet.