Why to eat organic fruits and vegetables that are in season

Ever thought about why oranges ripen in winter, and watermelon in summer? Why bananas don’t grow world-wide all year round? There is a reason why certain fruits and vegetables are in season at certain times of the year. Your body needs more vitamin C in winter to fight off colds and flues, and other winter crops such as leeks, carrots, and turnips are just what you need for winter soups and stews. Pumpkins are harvested in autumn and can keep right through the winter as do garlic and onions. Summer fruits are juicy and delicious full of the moisture your body needs in the heat of summer.

These days with large scale industrial faming and world-wide distribution networks you can source any fruit or vegetable in your area any time of the year, even though most of it could never naturally grow there. It has had to be shipped and trucked in at large cost and use of fossil fuels to meet our unreasonable desire for tropical fruits in the middle of winter. And at what cost to the nutrient content of the food?

Research Supporting Seasonal Eating
In a research study conducted in 1997 by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in London, England, significant differences were found in the nutrient content of pasteurized milk in summer versus winter. Iodine was higher in the winter; beta-carotene was higher in the summer. The Ministry discovered that these differences in milk composition were primarily due to differences in the diets of the cows. With more salt-preserved foods in winter and more fresh plants in the summer, cows ended up producing nutritionally different milks during the two seasons. Similarly, researchers in Japan found three-fold differences in the vitamin C content of spinach harvested in summer versus winter.

Guide to Eating Seasonally
In order to get all the nutritional benefit from fruit and vegetables you should wherever possible eat what is in season and grown locally. Instead of paying exorbitant prices for food shipped in from around the world, source food that is grown close by and is still fresh and healthy when it reaches your plate.

Besides helping the earth by not using unnecessary fossil fuels to transport food, and getting all the nutrients your body needs for that time of the year, seasonal eating also helps you to appreciate the different flavours of the foods in season. As you won’t be able to buy summer fruits all year round, by the time they arrive in summer you will be very happy to enjoy them by the box full, and will be happy to see the end of them at the end of the season when they are replaced by other natural wonders in the next season.

In general each season has its fresh produce that is packed full of the nutrients your body needs for that season so indulge in them and then move on to the next offerings when the seasons change. Below is a general guide as to what you can fill your plate and meal plans within each season.

• In spring, you will be able to enjoy tender, leafy green vegetables including Swiss chard, spinach, lettuce, parsley, and basil.
• In summer enjoy light, cooling foods strawberries, apple, pear, and plum and vegetables like summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, and corn; and spices and seasonings like peppermint and cilantro.
• In autumn you can enjoy the more warming, autumn harvest foods, including carrot, sweet potato, onions, and garlic. Also include spices and seasonings like ginger, peppercorns, and mustard seeds.
• In winter enjoy fish, chicken, beef, lamb, and venison with root vegetables, including carrot, potato, onions and garlic.