Last weekend we made a trip out to the pumpkin farm and it really got me thinking about "fall" foods. With the convenience of current grocery stores, we can have basically any produce we want, in one form or another, at any time of the year. Honestly, I couldn't tell you when half of the fruit and vegetables out there are actually "in season". But, I wish I could and I am working on it because eating seasonally is a huge part of frugal living! Actually, there are many different benefits of eating seasonally.
1.) Produce is always cheaper when it is "in season". Planning your meals around what produce is in season and on sale will definitely save you money on your grocery trips. Grapes are a great example. We love grapes and I try to buy them fairly often but we definitely eat more grapes in August when they are $1.50-$1.99/lb compared to the middle of winter when they are $4.99/lb. And that's perfectly okay because there will be something else to enjoy in the winter months... such as winter squashes. I bought a butternut squash before the fall and it was over $1.50/lb but now that they're in season I was able to pick up a bunch for only $0.49/lb.
2.) Everything tastes better. We also love apples, I buy them practically year round but nothing compares to buying fresh apples in the fall. Better yet, apple picking. Have you ever picked and eaten an apple fresh off the tree? Yum...
3.) Better for you and better for the environment. When a fruit or vegetable is in season, it is much more likely that the grocery store got it locally. Or you picked it yourself from a small farm or local farmers market. This produce is much less likely to have been chemically 'enhanced' or sprayed or whatever it is they do to our food on commercial mega-farms. Local produce also means that the food wasn't transported nearly as far. The Ontario grown strawberries that I buy in the summer didn't require nearly as much transportation as the California grown ones they sell in the winter meaning less greenhouse gas emission. Furthermore, the baskets of strawberries that I picked from a local farm required even less travel and they tasted fresher than any I have ever bought from a grocery store.
Eating seasonally may seem really restricting or boring but it doesn't have to be. Once you get the hang of buying and cooking 'in season' you will see that there are a ton of different ways to cook one food alone. Here's a list of a few things that are in season right now, along with some of my favourite recipes.
Baked Apples. Just peel and slice the apples, toss in desired amount of cinnamon and sugar than toss in the oven at 400 until soft. Or... just cut the apples up and eat them! I've been having tons of apples this past month. My favourite lately is apples dipped in peanut butter or apples with a few nice slices of cheddar cheese.
Made this yesterday and it was delicious!
I already can't wait to make these again...
Roast Pumpkin Seeds
Don't forget, you can always freeze things as well so that you can enjoy the flavour even when it is out of season. Try freezing the pumpkin or apple muffins for a nice breakfast or treat in the winter months. Also, you can cube and freeze the squash while it is on sale and roast it for a great, inexpensive side dish, even when it is out of season. Check back later for a some freezer cooking posts and I will let you know what else I love to freeze.