One of the most important concepts for today's cook is seasonality. This means using the right produce at the right time of year. For example, making fresh tomato dishes in August when tomatoes are at their peak. Or buying winter squash in the fall when a large variety comes on the market.
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Reasons to Buy in Season
- Produce that is in season is fresher and has higher quality and more nutrition.
- Out-of-season produce costs more. It has usually traveled a very long way from where seasons are the opposite of yours. It takes money to move it that far.
- Moving a product that distance uses a lot of energy and packaging and is environmentally not very friendly.
- Seasonal produce is often local, and buying locally encourages local farmers to diversify their crops, and in turn, your economy.
- Our forebears cooked with seasonal vegetables out of necessity. Many traditional dishes just fit with the season: pumpkin pie in the fall; potato soup in the winter; radishes on salad in the spring; corn on the cob in late summer. It's good to carry on the tradition.
Fall is a time of transition, from the best of summertime produce to a harbinger of winter selections. Strongly seasonal fruits like pomegranates and persimmons again become available after a long absence. Winter squashes show their widest variety. And the apples of Washington and New York make for fresh cider drinking all over the chilling countryside. Read more »
When the cold winter wind blows through the trees and the ground freezes hard as a rock, nothing warms a body faster than hearty comfort food. Soups and stews are favorites during the snowy time of year, as are braised dishes and roasted meats and vegetables. And holiday feasting has its own place among mid-winter dining pleasures. Read more »