In Season Now: 7 Winter Foods and What To Cook With Them

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source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lindslurd/

Consumers have been told time and time again: eat locally, eat what’s in season, and eat organically. Following these principles are easier for some than others, as organic food prices are typically higher than for their non-organic counterparts, but the one healthful suggestion that almost all people can follow is to eat (and cook) seasonally. There are a number of benefits to eating seasonally, but three of the most cited advantages include the low price of seasonal goods, their better taste, and the variety that a seasonal diet facilitates. Cost-conscious consumers should especially consider giving seasonal eating a try because it is noticeably easy on the wallet and waistline.

The healthiest foods come from the ground, and their costs are dictated by the crux of economics: supply and demand. When produce is in season locally, the relative abundance of the crop usually makes it less expensive because the supply is up, so farmers will charge lower prices. This explains why berries are much cheaper in the summer than in the winter; they’re in greater abundance during the warmer months. The same can be said for something like citrus in the summer. Oranges are still available in grocery stores during July and August, but they taste much less appealing, and are considerably more expensive.

That brings us to our next point: the taste advantage of eating seasonally. Gaiam Life helps explain that food in season usually tastes better than that not in season, because when food is not in season locally, it’s either grown in a hothouse or shipped in from other parts of the world, and both effect the taste. When produce is grown in other parts of the world, the crops need to be transported, which means they must be harvested early and refrigerated so as not to rot during transportation. Thus, they may not ripen as effectively as they would in their natural environment, and as a result, don’t develop their full flavor.

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