Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each. ~Henry David Thoreau
MindfulEats is celebrating our first year anniversary, and we are very grateful to have you with us. We were founded last January during a particularly inspirational time - New Year Resolutions were swirling, Obama had just been inaugurated and the Steelers were on the way to the Super Bowl.
It was also the middle of winter, and food choices were more limited than during the summer. Root vegetables dominated over fruit. If you haven't noticed a difference, you probably live in a warm and sunny area. Those of us in cold, wintry climates are fortunate that we can take advantage of delicious seasonal specialties. The interest in local foods seem to be increasing (yay!) and we've recently fielded several questions on what's in season - so Bill, Jon and Kaitlyn, this post is for you.It's possible to deny winter with food that's been shipped from warmer areas, but that stuff isn't great. It was picked days before it had a chance to ripen naturally, and it's been sitting around for a while. It also cost a lot of carbon to ship. Use it as a supplement to the bonanza of hearty winter foods easily available: cabbage, potatoes, turnips, parsnips, brussel sprouts, dried beans, eggs, meat. There may not be as wide a selection as the summer, but this is definitely a season to take advantage of. (And do it while you can - the winter season is short!) Eating seasonally provides you with:
- Food that makes sense. It's cold out there, and filling your tummy with roasted sweet potatoes and a heart-warming stew or cassoulet makes more sense than eating a tomato and mozzarella sandwich with strawberries. You'll be in sync with nature!
- Cheaper and tastier food. Produce that's in season and local tastes better. Parsnips and turnips in the NYC greenmarket are $1 a pound. That's a lot less than the small bundles of spinach from California.
The hardest thing about adding seasonal foods is knowing what's in season, so:
What to do - Eat Seasonally (and Locally)
- Bundle up and go to the farmer's market. The selection is more sparse than during the summer, but you'll quickly see what's in season and you'll be able to buy the freshest. Besides, this is when your local farmers need the most support. They get a lot less traffic and they're cold too.
- Use this great site from Natural Resources Defense Council and check out what's in season.
- Learn how to cook root vegetables and meat. Most any winter food can be roasted or turned into stew. Your slow cooker is perfect for this season, and we roast veggies at least once a week.
- If you're in the NYC or SF area, buy this clever and beautifully illustrated Local Foods Wheel from Chelsea Green to always see what's in season. It makes a great gift too! It was our favorite item in a gift bag.
What I ate: City Bakery hot chocolate shot, 1 cup plain yogurt + 1T Sarabeth's peach-strawberry jam + flaxseeds, 1 cup McCann's steel-cut oatmeal + dried cranberries + ground flax seeds, cheddar cheese, macadamia nuts, 1 grapefruit, 1 large latte, 1 cup tea, Trader Joe's dried mangos, Tazo white apricot tea, whole wheat fusilli, roasted eggplant + portobello mushrooms + parsnips + turnips, hot chocolate, New Chapter multivitamin, water
Exercise: 30 min run, 60 min yoga