Seasons form a natural backdrop for eating. In today's world, it's so easy to forget about the seasons when we eat. Modern food processing and global distribution of food makes many foods available all year long. Recently, the concept of eating seasonally has grown because people want to honor the planet and all it offers naturally.
The term "season" refers to the specific time of year when a food is available at its peak ripeness, in terms of harvest and flavor. Seasonal also means that these items may be found at their most reasonable cost and are the freshest in the market.
By purchasing local foods "in season," you are eliminating the potential environmental damage caused by shipping foods thousands of miles. Your food dollar goes directly to the farmer, and your family will be able to enjoy the health benefits of eating fresh, unprocessed produce. Buying seasonal produce also provides an exciting opportunity to try new foods and experiment with seasonal recipes.
During the autumnal months people traditionally yearn for warm soups, stews, casseroles, pies, fruit crumbles and crisps. When the leaves change color and the air turns chilly, it's nice to stay inside and recreate the comforts of the fall season with autumn's best offerings. Here are a few fall foods you can add to your diet:
The warm smell and crisp flavor of apples is a sure sign that fall is just around the corner. In the Northern Hemisphere apples are in season from late summer to early winter. In addition to being eaten raw, apples are a wonderful addition to a variety of recipes from salads to baked goods. According to the Environmental Working Group's 2010 report, apples are among the "Dirty Dozen" foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. Therefore, individuals wanting to avoid pesticide-associated health risks may want to avoid consumption of apples unless they are grown organically.
The skin of fresh figs can vary from purple to pink or light brown, but the flesh inside is always a juicy crimson color. Unlike many fruits, figs contain protein and are also rich in calcium and iron. Choose those with firm, smooth skins. Figs are a sweet addition to salads. They can be sliced and used to top desserts, or served warm with cinnamon for a chilly evening treat. Fresh figs stuffed with goat cheese and chopped almonds can be eaten daily as a healthy protein rich snack.
Dates provide many healthy components to our systems. Minerals, such as calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, copper and potassium can be found in dates. They also contain fiber, amino acids, and even a small amount of essential fat. Dates are most popular for their high quality soluble and insoluble fibers. A high fiber diet may decrease risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancers, gastrointestinal disorders, weight loss and gain, blood sugar regulation and improved sleep patterns. Date are a wonderful addition to salads, grains and are extremely portable as an on-the-go snack.