Have you ever wondered how the quality of the products we eat impacts our bodies? Why are oranges in summer not so good? Or why are cherries so expensive in winter?
Eating in season means eating each food item during its natural harvest time.
As we have mentioned on other occasions, each climate is associated with its own products and these have a key role in nutrition.
Why should we eat seasonally?
Eating seasonal products is good for your health, your pocket and the environment. In addition to helping to reduce CO2 emissions and supporting the sustainability of the earth, you consume excellent quality products, at a fair price, and you will be supporting the local economy.
These are some benefits of eating seasonal produce:
1 Greater nutritional contribution
A seasonal crop will have the climate in its favour throughout its development process and will also have been harvested at its optimum point of maturation, for these reasons the level of nutrients and flavour will be higher. The conservation in cold rooms decreases juiciness, flavour and nutrients.
2 Reduction of harmful agents
By consuming seasonal products, we avoid chemical residues of pesticides or fertilizers, known for their harmful effects on health. A seasonal crop will be easier to survive without the help of these chemicals than if it is grown when the weather is against it.
3 Support for the local economy and sustainability
Consuming seasonal crops is a way of helping the local economy. In the local production of crops, their distribution and storage will be minimal, factors that contribute to their maximum quality and reduction of CO2 emissions.
4 Less processed foods consumption
The more seasonal produce we consume, the less room will be left in our diet for processed foods. By replacing the so-called processed products with natural and seasonal foods, we will not only reduce the negative effects of these on our health, but we will also increase the intake of antioxidants and fibre, contributing to better functioning of our digestive and immune systems.
What foods should we eat in each season?
Well, those offered by nature itself, which is very wise.
When deciding what food to buy, we must think about the needs of our bodies at different times of the year.
In summer and spring, stone fruits are abundant. Since they are rich in potassium and water, they are ideal for maintaining good hydration.
In winter, citrus fruits, which are rich in vitamin C, help our immune system and protect us against the flu and winter illnesses.
On the other hand, autumn fruits such as figs, quinces, apples or grapes, contain the vitamins and antioxidants necessary to prevent colds, strengthening the defences for the winter.
The best way to consume seasonal produce without confusion is by growing it yourself and see how difficult it is to get the crop going without the use of chemicals when planted out of season.
However, for most of us, this is not a viable option. Our recommendation is to visit local producers and chat with them, learn about the processes they follow in their production and come back home with a wonderful basket full of delicacies fresh from the garden.
Likewise, while buying from local stores that claim the sale of organic and local production, good indicators that help us recognise seasonal products are the price and their appearance, the uglier the better.
Tomatoes, the star food of the summer.
One of the most coveted products of the summer is tomatoes. Who doesn’t like a good salad, a tomato and oil toast, a pipirrana or a gazpacho?
Originally from America, there are more than 20,000 varieties of tomato. Despite its versatility, the tomato was used in Europe as an ornamental plant until the end of the 18th century.
The tomato combines very well with other seasonal products such as pepper, courgette or aubergine; however, it can be stored in different ways for the winter and be used in warmer dishes such as stews or soups.
But where are its properties?
- Rich in vitamin A, it helps with vision by protecting our eyes from degenerative diseases or night blindness.
- Rich in iron and vitamin K, it improves blood circulation and controls coagulation, helping to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
- It contains great antioxidant properties, it is a natural remedy against ageing and a great ally for the care of our skin, hair and teeth.
- Rich in lycopene, an antioxidant more powerful than vitamin E. In addition, tomato contains other carotenes, which makes it a powerful antioxidant that takes care of our body.
- With its high fibre content, it prevents constipation by favouring intestinal transit and prevents the appearance of diseases that have to do with the gastrointestinal organs.
- Diuretic, its high potassium content and low sodium levels help prevent fluid retention and eliminate toxins.
We also want to comment that the healthiest and most local crops are not the most “aesthetic”.
We have believed for a long time that the best vegetable or fruit is the most brilliant or perfect, but it is not like that. Sometimes for tomatoes to shine or have a certain diameter they need chemicals such as fertilisers, or they are removed from the plant before they mature, and therefore do not yet have the necessary nutrients.
The tomatoes in these pictures are a gift from a local grower neighbour.
They were very good, however, they were rejected by a supermarket to which they sell because apparently, they had a “bad appearance”.
Since he had to get rid of them, he decided to give them away to his neighbours, and that’s how we got hold of them.
It was a wonderful gift for us, but how much more wonderful it would be if we could access them on any given day while making our meal.
And you, how do you eat your tomatoes? What is your favourite variety? Would you like to share with us any tomato recipe that will cheer up your dishes in summer?