Monday, 20 July 2009

Age-old cycle of the seasons

Found a rather interesting site just now, recommended by a friend of mine. Eat the Seasons reminds us of the benefits of eating when fruit, veg and fish are in season.
  • it reduces the energy (and associated CO2 emissions) needed to grow and transport the food we eat

  • we avoid paying a premium for food that is scarcer or has travelled a long way

  • it helps support the local economy

  • it helps reconnect with nature's cycles and the passing of time
They're rather important reasons for going seasonal, apart from the all important "it tastes better" too! Overall they have most of the fruit and veg seasons, right (apart from artichokes, better to leave them until January/February in my opinion).

It's funny how we've gone a complete circle again, returning to the ideas that originally appeared in Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management, published in 1861. According to Mrs. Beeton, currently in season we have:

FISH.—Carp, crayfish, dory, flounders, haddocks, herrings, lobsters, mackerel, mullet, pike, plaice, prawns, salmon, shrimps, soles, sturgeon, tench, thornback.
MEAT.—Beef, lamb, mutton, veal, buck venison.
POULTRY.—Chickens, ducklings, fowls, green geese, leverets, plovers, pullets, rabbits, turkey poults, wheatears, wild ducks (called flappers).
VEGETABLES.—Artichokes, asparagus, beans, cabbages, carrots, cauliflowers, celery, cresses, endive, lettuces, mushrooms, onions, pease, radishes, small salading, sea-kale, sprouts, turnips, vegetable marrow,—various herbs.
FRUIT.—Apricots, cherries, currants, figs, gooseberries, melons, nectarines, pears, pineapples, plums, raspberries, strawberries, walnuts in high season, and pickled.

Although here in Spain, we tend to think the best time to eat shellfish (marisco) is the months that contain an R - January, February, March, April, September, November, December; but I suppose the season may be much longer in colder waters/climates (i.e. for artichokes). Having been used to having everything that we want, when we want, I think it's kind of nice tasting the 'first of the season'. The wait for the mandarin oranges or sweet, juicy nectarines makes them all the nicer.

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