Eating seasonal is a great way to ensure great health. Vegetables are great for you and aid in weight loss. It is best to eat foods that are naturally available according to the season. Geography plays a huge role as to what locally grown vegetables are available to the community. In Florida, Avocados are in season during fall and in the Spring for those located on the west coast. Eat locally grown food to support your local farmers. It guarantees that the food you eat is fresh and it also decreases your carbon footprint on the planet. Farmers markets are a great way to support your community, and get fresh, inexpensive produce.
Fresh produce is loaded with anti-oxidants, fiber, vitamins, and nutrients when compared to frozen or canned fruit and vegetables. When you buy produce locally, you are buying it at it’s peak form. When you buy produce at supermarkets, they usually come from hundred of miles away. The produce is often picked before it’s ready preventing it from reaching it’s peak in nutrition potential. Try to buy local produce if you can, but always buy locally.
Organic produce can be locally grown, but just because its organic does not make them locally grown vegetables. Organic standards vary so go to the USDA website to research what the standards are in your state. You don’t have to buy all of your produce organic. Many times, fruits and vegetables have natural occurring pesticides so farmers don’t have to use pesticides anyway. The Environmental working group designed a guide to identify fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide residues and which do not. Make sure to buy organic for those fruits and vegetables known to be the most contaminated with pesticides.
- 12 Most Contaminated
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Grapes (Imported)
- Sweet Corn (Frozen)
- Sweet Peas (Frozen)
- Kiwi Fruit
12 Least contaminated
Seasonal foods vary by location. What’s in season in California may not be available in Florida. Produce that is out of season is still accessible but will often be more expensive because of the cost of transport from one country to another. Buying locally cuts down fuel consumption, and lower pollution making it more sustainable for the environment. It also supports local businesses and stimulates the economy. Eat seasonal, live green, and help the environment as well as your health. Locally grown vegetables are better for you and your environment. Get involved by growing your own vegetables right in your backyard in accordance to the season.
Spring: Artichoke, Asparagus, Avocado, Beets, Fava Beans, Fennel, Fiddlehead Ferns, Green Garlic, Lettuces & Mustard Greens, Nettles, Peas, Radishes, Vidalia Onions, Water cress.
Summer: Arugula, Avocados, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Garden peas, Green beans, Mushrooms, Okra, Sweet peppers, Shelling Beans, Tomatoes, Zucchini
Fall: Belgian Endive, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celery root, Onion, Pumpkin, Spinach, Zucchini
Winter: Artichoke, Bok Choy, Broccoli Rabe, Cauliflower, Kale, Celery root, Radishes, Rhubarb, Snow peas, Watercress
Enjoy these vegetables every season by grilling, sautéing, roasting, or simply in a salad. Try this marinade and throw your vegetables on a grill or lightly sauté them in a skillet!
- 2 shallots (or 1/2 red onion and a bulb of garlic)
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt to taste
If marinating mushrooms, clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth and slice them into medium-sized pieces. Place the mushrooms and other vegetables in a container with the vinegar and olive oil. Let them marinate for at least an hour, preferably overnight.
Heat a skillet over medium high heat and add the mushrooms. Saute until they are slightly brown. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan!
Add the shallots or onion/garlic mixture. Pour in some leftover marinade as well for extra flavor. Let the vegetables cook for another 3 minutes or so. If grilling, place vegetables directly on the rack. Grill for 3-5 min.
Serve as an easy appetizer, side dish, or topping. This recipe is delicious warm off the grill or cold during any season.