This Is Why You Should Eat Seasonally
Until refrigerators and freezers were invented, people ate seasonally and locally, and in many parts of the world they still do.
At Sanskruti we are convinced that simply cooked vegetarian food from India tastes so amazing because the ingredients are fresh and organic from the market as well as seasonal and local. And so, we strive to get most of the ingredients locally sourced.
For most of us this might be an unusual thought. We can have whatever food we fancy all year round, right? Well, thanks to supermarkets we have that option, but this is not the natural state of affairs.
Fruit and vegetables have seasons; periods of time where conditions provide optimum harvests and flavour. If a food is harvested when it is naturally ripe not only will it have a great taste, but it will also be bursting with health-boosting vitamins and minerals.
When seasons change our physical needs do too, there’s a reason we crave wholesome hearty meals in the winter and lightweight salads in the summer. Seasonal vegetables help us meet our health challenges.
A diet based around seasonality ensures varied, local and seasonal consumption and this can help keep mind and body well-balanced. It’s certainly a real luxury having all kinds of produce all year round, but by not listening to the seasons and our bodies we are losing out on a number of benefits.
The Benefits of Eating Seasonally
In Indian cooking the way spices are used also alters from season to season, because our bodies have different nutritional needs and it is thought that we are more likely to pick up certain viruses and illnesses at certain times of the year.
This intrinsic knowledge about spices, herbs and vegetables comes from food and cooking being so central to family life and culture in India.
Winter spicing influences the body to warm from within with more garlic, ginger, star anise, black pepper, turmeric etc. whereas in the spring the use of fresh mint, shredded coconut, fennel seeds and coriander all have cooling properties.
- Saving Money
Probably one of the most compelling reasons to maintain a seasonal diet is that you save money. When you buy in-season the produce is available in abundance so basic economics principles means that it costs less for farmers to distribute to shops and therefore less to buy, saving money all round.
- Helping the Environment
Supporting local producers means that the food you buy is likely to be even fresher thanks to reduced transportation time so you’ll be doing your bit for the environment by reducing your carbon footprint and saving precious water on growing out-of-season crops. And you will be supporting your local businesses, allowing the local economy to thrive!
- More Variety and Flavour
The most important principle of seasonal produce is that it tastes great. It’s grown close to home and harvested when it’s at the height of ripeness. It costs less to distribute and there is no need for additives or preservatives as it hasn’t got far to be transported.
Foods that are out-of-season either have to be shipped in are often picked unripe and have to survive long trips or are grown in greenhouses where they are artificially ripened – either way it’s the flavour that suffers.
Eating a seasonal diet is not only good for your budget and health but changing ingredients seasonally can keep food interesting and diverse. It’s easy to work out what is seasonal – it’s the stuff that’s available in your grocery store or farm shop that’s piled high and it looks fresh.
Remember don’t just shop with your eyes – use your nose and feel what you are buying. If it looks, smells and feels ripe you are on to a winner.