Five Benefits Of Buying In Season Produce, And Ten Spring Options

Eating seasonal produce won’t directly improve A1C levels, but it will ensure you’re enjoying flavorful, nutrient-rich, economical foods.

Seasonal eating generally means buying produce that’s grown locally (or nearly so) in its natural climate environment. It sounds like an easy task, but actually takes some sleuthing since our grocery stores are always full of both in and out-of-season items.

In-Season Benefits

Though requiring a bit of investigation, there are compelling reasons for stocking our pantry and fridge with each season’s best bounty:

  • Flavor. A food’s flavor is at its peak when harvested in-season. For instance, consider the taste of a juicy, ripe tomato picked and purchased in August to those pale, hard tomatoes that arrive in the supermarket around February.
  • Nutrients. A fruit or vegetable begins losing nutritional value as soon as it’s harvested. Out-of-season items can spend ten days crated and in transit, their nutritional vibrancy diminished by the time they’re in our shopping cart.
  • Economy. Purchasing produce in-season saves money. For example, grapes purchased in March are likely from Chile, and time, fuel costs, and other transport factors add dollars to the grapes’ price tag. Even when shipping distances are shorter, the expense of growing items in summer-like greenhouses is charged to consumers.
  • Variety. By eating seasonly we change up our produce purchases every few months. This gives our taste buds variety, and we expose ourselves to a healthy broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
  • Nature. Consuming fresh produce in flow with the seasons may help us reset the inherent connection between our brain and body—a link sometimes lost in our fast-paced world of convenience. It might enhance our awareness of the foods our body desires for long term well-being.

Fortunately, memorizing what’s in-season is unnecessary. It’s easy to find lists of seasonal fruits and veggies online, including a handy list prepared by the website Whole9 (link below).

Ten Spring Season Options

Because focusing on seasonal produce enriches our lives and pocket books, here are five fruits, and five vegetables you may want to enjoy this spring.

Fruits

  • Apricots. Choose firm, plump apricots that are uniformly colored. Store at room temperature until ripe, then refrigerate in plastic bags for three to five days.
  • Honeydew. Choose nearly spherical melons with waxy (not fuzzy) surfaces that feel heavy for their size. Store at room temps until cut, then in the fridge up to two weeks.
  • Limes. Choose those with smooth, shiny skins that are heavy for their size. Refrigerate up to two weeks.
  • Mangoes. Choose mangoes that are slightly firm, have a sweet aroma, and no sap on the skin. They keep at room temperature a couple days; once peeled and cut, refrigerate.
  • Strawberries. Choose shiny, firm, bright red berries with their green caps intact. They keep in the fridge up to three days; wash just before eating.

Veggies

  • Asparagus. Select odorless stalks with dry, tight tips. Refrigerate up to four days by wrapping stalk ends in damp paper towels; place in a plastic bag.
  • Broccoli. Select odorless heads with tight, bluish-green florets. Refrigerate, and use within three to five days.
  • Green beans. Select well colored beans that snap easily went bent. Refrigerate in plastic bags; use within seven days.
  • Spinach. Select crisp green bunches without insect damage. Wrap loosely in damp paper towels and refrigerate in plastic bags; use within three to five days.
  • Vidalia onions. Select firm onions with dry skins, and no sprouts attached. Wrap the onions individually in paper towels and refrigerate up to six months.

Sources: Fruits and Veggies More Matters; Whole9 Life; Whole9 Seasonal Produce Guide
Photo credit: Susanne Nilsson

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