For some of us, eating seasonally is a no-brainer. You can save plenty of money on your produce by going straight to the seasonal stuff whenever you can. Even further, shopping seasonally is better for the environment and beneficial to the local economy. When you shop seasonally, your food is traveling shorter distances and, therefore, fewer pollutants are emitted in the process. The best part? Seasonal fruits taste better, too! While seasonal products do vary slightly from state to state, generally, the US has pretty standard seasonal produce cycles. Here are examples of seasonal produce for each season, with meals for each one:
- Broccoli: Try making a warm broccoli casserole, or pair some broccoli rabe with Italian sausages and polenta.
- Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are great in the winter time. Make a warm sweet potato pie with whipped meringue on top, or a creamy sweet potato soup.
- Zucchini: Fried zucchini, grilled zucchini, however you make it, this vegetable is great in the spring. Try serving honey glazed chicken with a side of roasted zucchini, onion, and yellow bell peppers, seasoned with olive oil and peppers.
- Lettuce: Lettuce is ripe and ready in the spring time so use this veggie for your lunch salads during the springtime months. Arugula, baby spinach, chives, herbs, sliced almonds, and goat cheese could be combined make a mouthwatering side dish.
- Corn: Corn is a classic summer dish. Try making summer corn chowder with bacon, or simply serve your corn on the cob with garlic butter for a great side at an outdoor BBQ.
- Watermelon: Cool down in the summer months with watermelon sorbet that’s the perfect, healthy dessert for warm summer nights. You can also make a watermelon, pecan, and gorgonzola salad that works great on a bed of fresh lettuce.
- Cranberries: Cranberry sauce goes great with turkey on Thanksgiving, but it can also be made into an autumn strudel with squash and cranberries, or a cranberry beef stew. The cranberry stew can be made with an economical chuck roast, beef broth, pearl onions, mushrooms, egg noodles, and, of course, cranberry sauce.
- Pumpkin: Around Halloween and Thanksgiving, everyone has a hankering for pumpkin pie. Bursting with flavor, this veggie can be introduced to practically any dish, sweet and savory alike. Pumpkin soup, pumpkin oatmeal muffins, and best of all, pumpkin pie all taste great when the leaves are falling from the trees.
Having a seasonal healthy meal planner and shopping seasonally can help you cut down your grocery store bill while getting fresher and riper food straight to your table. Don’t hesitate to make traditions around your house based on these seasonal treats.