Again, why is this important?
In my opinion, there are three very good reasons for eating seasonally: nutrition, freshness, environmental damage.
Foods that are in season have a higher nutritional content than those that are not. According to a wonderful website and resource, The World's Healthiest Foods, a 1997 research study conducted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food in London, England, found significant differences in the nutrient content of pasteurized milk in summer versus winter. The Ministry discovered that these differences in milk composition were primarily due to differences in the diets of the cows. With more salt-preserved foods in winter and more fresh plants in the summer, cows ended up producing nutritionally different milks during the two seasons. Similarly, researchers in Japan found three-fold differences in the vitamin C content of spinach harvested in summer versus winter.
If you're the kind of person who is frequently dieting or concerned about your health, it's important for you to get the most nutrition you can out of foods. Therefore, seasonal eating is a must.
Freshness is also a key factor, by buying foods that are in season locally food doesn't have to travel as far, it will be fresher when you come to eat it, and according to an online article by expert, Andrea Flint, "it's generally the case that the fresher a food, the better it tastes and the more health benefits it has. This is especially the case with fruits and vegetables, which are often picked well before they are ripe so that they can withstand the long journeys they have to make without going past their best."
In late April, in my area (and many other areas) asparugus is in-season.
Here are a few insights into asparagus:
- Asparagus can come in a few different colors: green, white and purple
- Only young asparagus shoots are commonly eaten: once the buds start to open, the shoots quickly turn woody and become strongly flavored
- Asparagus is a good source of vitamin A and a fair source of iron and vitamins B and C
- The bottom portion of asparagus often contains sand and dirt, so thorough cleaning is generally required before cooking
- Asparagus is a useful companion plant for tomatoes. The tomato plant repels the asparagus beetle, as do several other common companion plants of tomatoes
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Try making your own asparagus recipe and tell me how it went. If enough people participate, I can start featuring a few of our recipes here.