Saturday, October 4th
The ongoing theme of my presentations at the North Gower Farmers Market has been the promotion of fresh, locally available foods, and the nutritional value of those foods.
The recipes I have demonstrated are not only nutritious but easy to make. It does not have to cost a lot, nor take a lot of time to prepare dishes that support good health.
Seasonal eating refers to consuming fresh fruit and vegetables at the time when they are naturally available. The advantages are many:
– Generally cost less when they are abundant, volumes ripen around the same time eg asparagus, or berries. Cost increases when they must be stored, or shipped from greater distances.
– Fresh seasonal foods taste better and are more nutritious as they are picked at peak ripeness, this means the full potential of phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals are available. If these foods undergo any processing, such as canning or dehydration, much of these nutrients are lost in the process. Freezing is somewhat less detrimental, but any application of heat, such as parboiling, initiates some of this loss. Even refrigeration can diminish flavor (phytonutritents)
– Many whole foods contain natural enzymes that aid in the digestion of that food, these also can be degraded with processing.
– Looking at this from an environmental aspect fresh local foods require less energy compared to those that are stored, refridgerated, shipped and/or processed.
Shop at local Farmers Markets – the biggest advantage is you can get to know the producer and his farming practices, and know that you are supporting local families, business and economy.
Growing some of your own foods also has its benefits, when you know exactly what is in the soil and on the produce – hopefully nothing chemical, man-made or otherwise harmful!
Just remember – “our health is our most valuable resource”, so many negative things can happen if you don’t have good health. As a Nutritionist, I encourage you to explore genuine cooking – by this I mean from scratch, with wholesome, fresh foods. It can be simple recipes that are fun to prepare and tantalize the taste buds. The benefits are subtle, but in the long term can provide you and your family with a long and vital life.
In the words of Jennifer Raymond (The Best of Jenny’s Kitchen) “ There is real pleasure and deep satisfaction in the proper handling and careful preparation of fresh, beautiful foods from the earth.”
Some examples of cool season spring/early summer
asparagus, peas, lettuce, spring onion, radish, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries.
Artichoke, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, leek, carrot
onion, potato, squash, turnip, cauliflower, parsnip, apples, pear
Beans, corn, cucumber, eggplant, melons, okra, peppers, zucchini, sweet potato, tomato, swiss chard, berries, peaches, cherries, plums
Another aspect of seasonal eating is what we prefer as the seasons change, particularly in Canada where there are distinct differences.
• Hot humid days encourage us to consume foods that are higher in moisture, fresh fruits and softer vegetables all high in vitamin content.
• ‘cooling’ herbs such as mint, lemon balm, lemon grass, citrus and melons
• With the colder weather we need ‘warming’ foods, herbal teas and dishes made with those fall seasonals, root vegetables and dark leafy greens that can be lightly steamed. Warming spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove, curry and turmeric also foot the bill and are a great source of antioxidants. A leafy salad at this time just does not satisfy.