Eating seasonally

calendar

When people say ‘eat seasonally’ they mean eat foods that are being harvested and are ready to eat, when they’re ready to eat. But why? Is it just one of those things that people bang on about with little to back it up? There’s several reasons to eat seasonally:

The food is cheaper

Generally when something comes into season there’s a glut, demand and supply being a driver of price then you find that things are cheaper. It’s not just a UK phenomenon of course, here’s some nice stats from New Zealand showing kiwi fruit price over several years:

price-kiwifruit

 

Source: stats.govt.nz

The food doesn’t have to travel as far

This means that costs are lower and hopefully these savings are passed on, but also it means that environmental impact is much lower. It’s worth noting also that out of season food grown locally in poly tunnels etc can have an incredibly high energy cost as well. Of course with less far to travel it also means…

The food is fresher

Some foods are picked early so that they can be ripened when needed, this is probably not optimum nutritionally, what we do know is that the longer the food spends hanging around after harvesting and slaughter the more issues of nutrient loss and food spoilage come to the fore.

The food may have more nutrients

There’s lots of nutrients, lots of foods and lots of ways to grow them. This means that there’s a lot of variables to glib blanket statements aren’t particularly useful, but when a food is grown in season as opposed to a poly tunnel the nutrient and also flavour density is often higher.

So as far as the UK – and other similar areas in the northern hemisphere go – goes what do you eat and when?

seasonal-veg-calender-page-001

The calendar above can be seen in more detail at EatSeaonably.co.uk  and  following are adapted from the British Nutrition Foundation’s great resource on this topic.

KEY

S      In season – food is at its optimum and widely available.
A      Available – food is coming into/out of season.
-       Food not typically in season.

Winter  December  January  February 
Vegetables
Broccoli (Purple sprouting) S S S
Brussel sprout S S S
Cabbage (Savoy) S S S
Carrots S S S
Cauliflower S S S
Celery S S S
Cucumber         A        -        -
Kale S S S
Leek S S S
Lettuce (Round)         A        A        A
Parsnip S S S
Potatoes S S S
Pumpkin S        -        -
Radish          A        A        A
Swede S S S
Sweetcorn          A        -        -
Turnip S S S
Fruit 
Apple (Bramley’s) S S S
Clementine S        -        -
Cranberry S        -        -
Date S S        -
Lemon          A S S
Rhubarb (forced)          - S S
Meat & game 
Beef          A        A        A
Duck S S        -
Goose S S        -
Grouse S        -        -
Lamb        - S S
Pork        A        A        A
Venison S S S
Fish & seafood
Cod S        -        -
Coley S        -        -
Haddock S S S
Herring S S S
Mackerel S S S
Salmon        -        A S

 

Spring March  April  May

 Vegetables

 Asparagus - A S
 Aubergine - - A
 Beans (Broad) - - A
 Beetroot - - A
Broccoli (Purple Sprouting) S
 S  -
Broccoli     -     -    A
Cabbage (Savoy)     S
    A    A
 Cabbage (Spring green)     S     S
 Carrots     S     S    A
 Cauliflower     S     S    S
 Courgette     -     -    A
 Cucumbers     A     S    S
 Kale     S     S     -
 Leek     S     -     A
 Lettuce (Iceburg)     A     A     S
 Lettuce (Little gem)     -     -     A
 Lettuce (Round)     A     A     S
 New Potato     A    S
   S
 Parsnip    S
    -     -
 Pea     -     A    S
 Pepper    S
   S
  S
 Radish     A    S
   S
 Rocket     -     -    S
 Spinach     A    S
   S
 Spring onions     -    A    A
 Sweet potato    S
   -    -
Watercress A S S

 Fruit

 Apricot A A S
 Gooseberry - A S
 Lemon S - -
 Rhubarb (forced) S - -
 Rhubarb (outdoor)     -     A    S
 Strawberries     -     A    S
 Tomatoes     -     -     A
 Watermelon     -     -   A

 Meat & game

 Beef     A    S    S
 Lamb    S    S    S
 Pork     A     A     A

 Fish & seafood*

 Cod     -     -    S
 Coley     -     -    S
 Haddock     -     -    S
 Herring    S    S    S
 Mussels    S     -     -
 Oyster    S    S     -
 Pollack    S     -     -
 Tuna     -     A   S
Summer  June  July  August
Vegetables
Asparagus S S  -
Aubergine S S S
Beans (Broad) S S S
Beans (French)    A S S
Beans (Runner/Flat)   A S S
Beetroot S S S
Broccoli (Purple sprouting)   A S S
Broccoli S S S
Brussel sprout    -   - S
Cabbage (Red)     -   A S
Cabbage (Savoy)     A S S
Carrots S S S
Cauliflower S S S
Celery       A S S
Courgette S S S
Cucumber S S S
Kale       -     -          A
Leek       -     -          A
Lettuce (Iceburg)       A S S
Lettuce (Little Gem) S S S
Lettuce (Round) S S S
Marrow       -      A  S
Onion       A  S  S
Parsnip       -      A  S
Pea S S S
Pepper S S S
New Potato S S S
Radish S S S
Rocket S S S
Spinach S S S
Spring Onion  S S S
Squash        -      -  A
Swede        -      A   A
Sweetcorn       -      A    S
Turnip S S S
Watercress        A S S
Fruit
Apple (Discovery)       -     -         S
Blackberry       -     -          A
Blackcurrant       A S S
Blueberry       A S S
Cherry       A S S
Fig        -      A         S
Gooseberry S S S
Loganberry        A S S
Peach        A S S
Plum        -      A         S
Raspberry S S S
Redcurrant S S S
Rhubarb (outdoor) S S          -
Strawberry S S S
Tomato S S S
Watermelon  S S S
Meat & game 
Beef S S S
Goose         -       -          A
Grouse         -       A S
Guinea Fowl    -    -      A
Lamb S S S
Pork        A       A          A
Fish & seafood 
Cod S S S
Coley S S S
Crab S S S
Haddock S S S
Herring S S S
Mackerel     -     - S
Salmon S S S
Tuna S S S

 

Autumn September  October  November
Vegetables 
Aubergine S S        -
Beans (Broad)   A  -        -
Beans (French)  S   A        -
Beans (Runner/Flat) S S        -
Beetroot S S S
Broccoli (Purple sprouting) S S S
Broccoli S S S
Brussel Sprout S S S
Cabbage (Red) S S S
Cabbage (Savoy) S S S
Carrots S S S
Cauliflower S S S
Celery S S S
Courgette S       A        -
Cucumber S       A        -
Kale S S S
Leek S S S
Lettuce (Iceburg)  S       A        -
Lettuce (Little Gem) S S        A
Lettuce (Round)          A        A        A
Marrow S S        A
Onion S        -        -
Parsnip S S S
Pea S        A        -
Pepper S S        -
Potatoes          A S S
Pumpkin          A S S
New potato S        -        -
Radish S        A        A
Rocket S        -        -
Spinach  S        -        -
Spring Onion S S        A
Squash S S        -
Swede S S S
Sweetcorn S S         A
Turnip S S S
Watercress S       A        -
Fruit
Apple (Bramley’s)          A S S
Apple (Cox)          A S S
Apple (Discovery)          A  S        -
Apple (Gala)          A  S        -
Blackberry S S        A
Clementine        -        A S
Cranberry        A S S
Date        -        A S
Fig S S S
Gooseberry S        -        -
Peach S        -        -
Pear S        -        -
Plum S        -        -
Raspberry          A        -        -
Strawberry S        -        -
Tomato           A        -        -
Meat & game
Beef S S         A
Duck          A S S
Goose S S S
Grouse S S S
Guinea Fowl S S S
Lamb S        -          -
Pork          A        A          A
Venison          - S S
Fish & seafood*
Cod S S S
Coley S S S
Crab S S S
Haddock S S S
Herring S S S
Mackerel S S S
Salmon S S          -
Tuna S        -          -

 

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