A blog post about the changes we have made in our urban homestead kitchen to embrace seasonal eating.
With supermarket shelves brimming with a vast variety of fruits and vegetables all year round, it’s easy to forget that many of these foods have a specific growing season. But just because we can eat strawberries in December doesn’t mean we should. Seasonal foods are ready to be harvested at just the right time when they are at their nutritional best and are best for our bodies too.
Inspired by the natural rhythms of the earth and a desire to live more seasonally and sustainably, my family decided to shift to seasonal eating. It was first born out of the desire to live more simply, which lead me towards slowing down and rejecting hustle culture, which then led me to living more in alignment with the seasons. Out of this seasonal eating began.
Here’s an insight into the transformative switches we made in our kitchen and the joys we’ve discovered along the way.
The Farm Shop & Veg Boxes Became Our Go-To
Rather than the local supermarket, we started spending more time at our local farm shops and ordering our seasonal produce from Riverford. Not only do both of these offer fresh, local produce, but they also naturally align with the seasons.
Goodbye Exotic, Hello Local
Instead of mangoes from South America or avocados from far-flung regions, we began to prioritise foods grown closer to home. Not only did this reduce our carbon footprint, but we also discovered an array of local foods that we’d previously overlooked. I know UK produce might not be as exciting as a mango or an avocado, but the taste of locally grown produce is second to none, and knowing how good it is for us is the icing on the cake.
Kitchen Storage Upgrades for Seasonal Eating
To make the most of seasonal bounty, we learned the art of preserving. This led to an array of glass jars filled with pickles, preserves, dried herbs, and more. Our second freezer (yes, we bought a second one two years ago) is now packed with portions of fruit compotes, vegetable mixes, and sauces ready to be used.
Menu Planning Became More Creative
Seasonal eating definitely challenged our culinary skills but it also helped us be more creative in the kitchen. Rather than sticking to old favorites, we started experimenting. Winter saw us making root vegetable soups and casseroles, while during the summer we embrace fresh salads, berries, and chilled soups. So much of our summer and autumn veg is homegrown on our own allotment too. Something else we recently tried for some fun was asking Chat GPT to create us a seasonal menu, prioritising meat protein and using the seasonal produce we got in our Riverford box. It was incredible and helped us find some new meals that we absolutely love.
We Began Growing Our Own
With our increasing appreciation for seasonal foods, we also dipped our toes into growing our own vegetables and herbs. At first, even with a small balcony garden, we were thrilled to harvest our own tomatoes, basil, and peppers. Two years ago we got our own allotment plot and have really levelled up our growing game.
Embracing the Natural Nutrients
Eating foods in their prime means we’re getting the best nutritional value. Strawberries in summer are not just juicier, but they’re also packed with more vitamins. There is something special about knowing that you are doing the best by your body and enhancing your health and wellbeing.
The Joys of Seasonal Eating
Switching to seasonal eating wasn’t just about the food. It was about connecting to nature’s rhythm, supporting our local community and farmers, as well as making environmentally-conscious decisions.
Each season now feels like an unfolding culinary adventure. There’s the anticipation for the first asparagus shoots in spring, the juicy tomatoes of summer, the hearty pumpkins in autumn, and the comforting root vegetables of winter.
The switch to seasonal eating has been a journey of discovery, a celebration of nature’s bounty, and a testament to the simple pleasures that come from aligning our habits with the natural world. If you’ve been contemplating a shift in your eating habits, there’s no better time to start than now. Embrace the seasons, one plate at a time.