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Seasonal eating in autumn and winter

Oh I just love this time of year! Anyone who knows me knows that I am a true autumn fanatic! The cold, chilly mornings and beautiful, sunny days. The rainy days when you don’t see the sun for a long time and the fire is constantly lit when someone is in the house. I love how relaxed this time of year can be and all the obligations seem to go away, I guess people become more recluse in winter. As much as I love to be social, this comes as a welcome break when there’s time for self-reflection and getting stuff done.

This time of year can be a hard time for people who like to eat seasonably, but I’m here to tell you it needn’t be! You might want to add a slice of tomato to your sandwich or some snow peas to your stir-fry, and capsicums grow all year around right?

Well, not quite. Sure, these days you can get more or less anything from the supermarket at any time of year, but that’s not the point.

Pumpkins – does it even get more autumnal?

For me, going to the Farmers’ Market, or connecting with some of our local growers is the best way to figure out what’s really in season. We do have some suppliers who continue to grow tomatoes and cucumbers all year around, and they use sustainable ways of heating a hot house so I don’t see a problem with sneaking the odd outlier into the menu (I’m no complete fanatic). However, I think it’s nice to make the most of what is grown within the seasonal window for many reasons.

A classic friend in the colder months – broccoli!

Here’s my top 5 reasons why seasonal eating rocks:

  1. The food is more likely to be locally sourced and thereby higher in nutritional content. No shipping around the country (or God forbid from abroad) equals less loss of nutrient. Bonus points for lower food mileage! Double bonus point! You’re supporting the local community at growers – you’re winning at life!
  2. All the colours of the rainbow are still there – just visit your local Farmer’s Market and you’ll find purple, green, orange, yellow, red and white. Including a bit of everything means you’re getting a varied nutrient profile. Win!
  3. You might get to try something new, how does a side of yakon, daikon, turnip or golden beetroot sound?
  4. Less sprays and nasties are used for seasonal growing. The produce that’s in season can handle the jandle of the weather’s antics so they don’t need a helping hand from artificial sprays. Whatever your thoughts are on organic eating, that has to make sense, right?
  5. It’s all about the taste. Ever eaten a tomato in the middle of winter? Does it actually taste like a tomato or do you have to use your imagination a lot?
Don’t disregard kale, it’s more versatile than you might think

Below is a list of simple substitutions for summer produce in winter.

Summer varieties of lettuces – kales and cabbages or winter lettuces (more hardy varieties)

Tomatoes – radishes and baby turnips, finely sliced

Cucumbers – fennel and sprouts

Capsicums – finely diced pumpkin or butternut, kohlrabi or turnips

Aubergines/eggplants – mushrooms

Courgettes – broccoli or broccolini

I encourage you to go out and find the most delicious, fresh seasonal produce and cook up a storm!

Of course we are only human and we do make the odd exception here and there…. Every now and then we throw in the odd tomato or cucumber, just to keep things interesting. Because that’s what we’re all about: interesting and delicious meals, with minimum fuss.

Have a great week and happy cooking!