Do you know what's in season when? As there is so much choice available in the supermarket these days, the importance of 'seasonal' seems to have taken a backseat.
But buying seasonal produce is really important. Truthfully, we shouldn't have access to all kinds of fruit and veg all year round - in order to get it on the shelves, it must travel a long way.
But that's not all.
Not only is out-of-season produce bad for the planet due to the environmental cost of obtaining it from faraway places, but the increased demand at certain times of year makes it more expensive. It also has an inferior taste (and often colour too!)
Basically, if you want to be as environmentally-friendly as possible, save money, enjoy tasty produce, and support local farmers too, you should buy seasonal produce.
But what's in season when, we hear you ask?
Today we're making it easier than ever to shop the seasons with a full break down of fresh produce and a free printable to keep on track of things.
In Spring, the weather is beginning to get slightly milder, and everything around begins to grow.
With regards to what's in season in Spring, there are plenty of vegetables to accompany your meals. Spring's fruit offerings, however, are much more limited - a great time to experiment with new flavours!
- Curly Kale
- Spring Onions
- Purple Sprouting Broccoli
- Savoy Cabbage
- Spring Greens
Spring meal ideas
Struggling for inspiration? It can be intimidating to be faced with a set list of ingredients, but don't be put off by it. With a little thought, research and planning, cooking up meals using solely seasonal produce is as easy as pie.
- Cauliflower is one of the most versatile foods these days. It's extremely healthy, and could help you lower your carbohydrate intake - handy if you're looking to lose weight. Try substituting your usual carbs with cauliflower rice or mash to add one of your five-a-day to your evening meal.
- Carrots are another kitchen staple. Stir-fries and shepherd's pies are easy, go-to meals that will please the whole family. Don't shy away from eating them raw either - they go great with hummus or thinly sliced and thrown into salads.
- When it comes to the sweet stuff, not much beats a rhubarb crumble. Get the kids involved and serve it with custard, cream or ice-cream for the ultimate weekend treat.
- With so many gorgeous vegetables available such as spring greens, cucumber, spring onions and curly kale, salads are definitely on the menu in Spring. Add protein in the form of eggs, chicken, beans or lentils, some carbs such as quinoa, rice or barley and a tasty dressing for a surprisingly wholesome meal. If you want to go the extra mile, you could roast some asparagus or carrots and throw those in too.
It's getting hot hot hot! The sun is shining, the skies are blue, and the local farmer's shop is stock full of delicious colours and textures for you to enjoy. Summer is arguably the most delicious time of year. Here's what you can look forward to having on your plate.
- Fresh Peas
- New Potatoes
- Runner Beans
- Salad Onions
- Broad Beans
- Green Beans
- Lettuce and Salad Leaves
- Elderflower Berries
Summer meal ideas
There's so much to choose from in Summer that you shouldn't really struggle at all when it comes to meal ideas, however we're so excited about all the fresh fruit and veg available that we couldn't help sharing some ideas with you.
- Hello salads! Much like spring, salads are another excellent choice for Summer work lunches or BBQ accompaniments. Try lettuce leaves with finely chopped cucumber, boiled eggs, boiled new potatoes, fresh peas, salad onions and a drizzle of your favourite dressing for a simple, healthy, balanced meal.
- Roasted veg is an easy way to get more goodness on your plate. Try roasting beetroot, carrots and onions in a little bit of oil and salt and pepper. It'll go great with chicken, and mixed with barley is the perfect side dish.
- Courgettes should be in everyone's fridge during Summer. Not only are they a delight when roasted or stuffed with minced meat, but they're great raw too! Use a spiraliser to make your own courgetti, or a peeler to make courgette ribbons. Use instead of pasta to make your carb-heavy meals lower calorie.
Whilst the Summer days spent snacking on strawberries may be over, the cooler weather brings with it some deliciously warming foods that will welcome you home each night. Autumn's seasonal fruit is pretty good too - see what comes to mind when you read through the list below.
- Field Mushrooms
Autumn meal ideas
For us, Autumn is an extremely exciting time of year when it comes to cooking. There's nothing quite like cutting through a ginormous squash with the window view of orange and yellow leaves. Here are some things on our menu during Autumn.
- Mushrooms are simply delicious. Although a vegetable, they're surprisingly luxurious and can even be 'meaty' in texture. Have them on toast for a tasty lunch, whip up a beef stroganoff to feed the whole family, or stuff and roast them for a lighter but indulgent dinner.
- We love squash. Although its size and tough skin can be off-putting, it's definitely worth buying as it's really rather versatile. Squash is wonderful when roasted - all it needs is a little oil and seasoning to come to life. It's also a great addition to veggie curries, especially when paired with chickpeas and coconut cream. And how could we forget, soup! Both squash and mushroom make rich, hearty and filling soups that will warm you up as the temperature drops.
- You can't go wrong with a crunchy apple as it is, but if you're looking for dessert ideas, pair apples with blackberries and make a comforting pie or crumble.
Brr - baby it's cold outside. As the temperature drops and everything is covered in frost, we crave warming, filling, comforting foods. Thankfully, nature has us covered! Winter's seasonal fruit and vegetables are perfect for those big, home-cooked meals that feed the whole family (with leftovers for the freezer too). Here's what you've got to play with.
- Curly Kale
- Brussel Sprouts
- Bay Leaves
- Red Cabbage
Winter meal ideas
We doubt you need our help here - during Winter you count on your body to tell you what it wants to eat most of the time. What can be presumed a given, is that hot, hearty meals are sure to please. Here are some of our favourites.
- Soups are always a good idea, but they're particularly enjoyable during the cooler months. Parsnip soup is a particular favourite of ours, but we're not ones to turn down cauliflower, carrot or leek and potato either.
- If you have a meat-based dish, you can't go wrong with some mashed potatoes, steamed veg (such as carrots and cauliflower) and a rich gravy. If you fancy something a little different as a side, try buttered cabbage, or cheesy, roasted leeks.
- Always on the menu in Winter for us are jacket potatoes. We roast a few at the start of the week and reheat as and when we need them for a quick, nutritional dinner. Top with tuna and sweetcorn, beans and cheese, shredded chicken or just butter and serve with salad.
- Apple crumble anyone? Tis' the season, after all! For a lighter option, roast apples whole and serve with greek yoghurt and a drizzle of honey.
Seasonal Produce Guide Printable
Who knew eating in season was so doable? What's your favourite season? Let us know in the comments below.