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Most meal planning guides will tell you to try and stick with fruits and vegetables that are in season. There are several reasons for this including keeping to a budget and eating fruits and vegetables that are at their height of nutritional value. The trick to this, for most people, is knowing what foods are actually in season and where to find the best seasonal produce. Here are some facts about what is in season and when.
Winter is the time for hearty and strong produce to flourish. Remember, it has to make it through snow, ice, and other damaging cold weather. The foods that fit this description are potatoes, apples, cabbage, carrots, and other root vegetables. This is the time of year to try things like leeks, parsnips, and various forms of squash. You will also find that leafy greens like kale and vegetables like brussel sprouts are ideal for in season produce. You also find citrus available during this time of year.
Spring brings the chance to try produce like cooking greens. In fact, if you have never had things like collards or turnips, now is the time to find them at their peak. Mushrooms and garlic are also found at their height during the spring. This makes high potency vegetable salads and superfoods salads an ideal option for your meal planning and food prep. Radishes, strawberries, and even apricots can also be found in season during the spring. Spinach and many types of lettuce do well in the spring because the sun isn’t so hot.
The summer months are the ideal months for watermelon, melons in general, tropical fruits, different berries, and bananas. This is the time of year to boost your foods, smoothies, juices, and meal prep with berries. Most of your fruit based superfoods are in season during the summer. If you have a hard time finding these types of berries and fruits during the year, consider getting them during the summer season and either canning them or preserving them in some way. Freezing them is a great way to enjoy the flavors throughout the year. If you make homemade wine, now is the time to gather the berries for your projects.
Fall is the season for vegetables, and a wide variety of them. This is the time of the year to try things like yams, a variety of pumpkins, onions, cranberries, apples, and ginger. Pumpkin is at the best it will be throughout the year so if you have a lot of pumpkin based recipes now is the time to put them to use. Stock up on cans of pumpkin or can your own so you have it when you get a desire to have pumpkin flavored something. Keep in mind, you can puree and freeze a lot of the vegetables and use them in soups or sauces throughout the year as well.
There are a few produce options that are available year round and don’t really have a set season. Apples are one of the fruits you can find along with certain types of oranges. You can also find avocados, cabbage, and beets.
This seasonal breakdown covers most of the more common produce items. If there is something specific you are looking for or considering growing, try to match it to something similar. For example, pineapple would go alongside other tropical fruit while squash is generally a fall item.
Check this seasonal food guide to find out what grows in your area and when. You can choose your state and then the time you are looking for the produce. Produce can vary by where you live so be sure to check this out to see what is available near you.
What is in season right now that you might want to use in a recipe this week?