In today’s markets and large grocery stories, you can have whatever vegetables you like, regardless of the season, even asparagus in the winter and pumpkins in the springtime. However, eating vegetables at the right time has more of an impact than you might think. A vegetable’s ripeness affects not just its flavor, but also its nutritional value, and even its carbon footprint. The same is true for fruits.
Tomatoes: Why seasons matter
Tomatoes are in stores year-round. But forget about the sad autumn tomatoes, the bland and watery-tasting winter tomatoes, and the spring tomatoes with their unfulfilled potential. Instead, give in to the temptation of the one, true tomato, the summer tomato that delights your taste buds and quenches your thirst. This message could be the same for all summer vegetables. We often forget when they are in season because there are fresh tomatoes year-round that have been shipped to our stores from all over the world. To experience the true flavors of cucumbers, zucchini, and eggplants from our local farmers, our only option is to eat them during the summer! Likewise, winter vegetables should be enjoyed during the winter.
From greenhouses to far-off lands
The development of agriculture in greenhouses is largely responsible for this trend. However, this growing method requires up to nine times more energy than traditional open-air agriculture. In fact, it often requires heating to ensure a stable ambient temperature that is relatively high compared to the outside temperature which is too low for the vegetable to develop correctly. Artificial lights that also use lots of energy are sometimes used to maximize production. So choosing fresh, seasonal vegetables means recognizing the importance of the natural cycle and deciding to make the environmentally-friendly choice.
Seasonal vegetables and freezing
Do you want to continue to enjoy these foods in spite of the fact that they aren’t in season? Please consider ready-to-use vegetable options. These vegetables were harvested when they were in season and perfectly ripe before being rapidly prepared to limit any loss of nutritional value or flavor. Frozen or canned vegetables require little time to prepare and have the same nutritional benefits as fresh, seasonal vegetables, but they are always available!