food seasonal eating shopping sustainability

Seasonal eating – December

I was going to start this series next year, but I’m excited about it and it’s still early December, so here goes. The last couple of months I’ve been trying to eat more seasonal food. There are a number of reasons for this.

Firstly, eating things out of season means they have to be shipped from somewhere. For some products, that means they have to be flown in from elsewhere. I don’t think that’s a sustainable way of eating, and so I’m cutting back on those things. Plenty of people have written about this elsewhere, so I won’t dwell on it here. Because it doesn’t have to be harvested with travel time factored in, seasonal food also tends to be fresher.

Secondly, I want to reconnect with the seasons a little. The earth is a big bundle of natural cycles, from light and dark, to lunar cycles, mating cycles, autumn and spring, rainfall patterns, and growing seasons. We disconnect ourselves from the land when we supercede the natural order of things. I couldn’t tell you what the consequences of that are. Others might be able to. But I’m going to try and honour the seasons, and maybe this time next year I’ll be able to tell you what I’ve been missing.

Thirdly, and this sounds somewhat paradoxical, I want more variety. I know that left to my own devices I’ll eat the same things. I’ll err on the side of the Mediterranean, and eat peppers and courgettes and tomatoes. Seasonal eating will inevitably push me outside of the obvious, and I will have to consider some new things.

And that takes me to the last point, that I want to challenge myself a little. I’m not a martyr to this cause, so I’ll still eat some things out of season in moderation, but I enjoy cooking, and I want to be provoked. In my kitchen today I have a bunch of beetroots from the market, and I don’t really know what I’m going to do with them. But I’ll find out, and it’ll be fun.

In case you’re wondering, or if you want to join me on this little culinary adventure, December is good for the aforementioned beetroots, and also sprouts, curly kale, leeks, garlic, pumpkin, and swedes. And spinach, which is why I’ve just made a pot of rather tasty creamy spinach soup, though I do say so myself.

Anyway, to find out what’s in season, eat the seasons is a nice simple website with all the details. The BBC’s good food site is useful too. It’s not just fruits and vegetables that have seasons either. Meat and fish do too, and so does cheese.

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