Happy holidays! Hope you enjoyed many delicious holiday meals and did not deprive yourself too much. If you’re like me, you enjoyed some candy canes and cookies, but you’re also looking forward to getting back to your regular healthy routine.
This holiday season I was talking with someone and she mentioned how, back when she was younger, holiday meals were typical fare, but that nowadays you can buy just about anything all year-round. Sure enough, this houseguest purchased blueberries from my local grocery store (my daughter and I both love blueberries). These lovely little blue fruits bursting with phytonutrients came to us by way of Chile, where it’s summertime now.
Sustainability and carbon-footprint arguments notwithstanding, I typically don’t buy fresh food that’s out of season, for many reasons:
- It’s expensive. A teeny 6-oz. container of blueberries was $2.99 (that’s $7.97/pound, if my math is correct). Meanwhile, locally-grown apples were on sale for $1.89/pound.
- It lacks magic. There’s something fun about seeing a favorite fruit or vegetable suddenly appear at the farmer’s market or grocery store. The overflowing bin of fresh corn is a sign of summer and barbecues to come, and stacks of pumpkins mean fall is just around the corner (and yummy pumpkin pie and bread!)
- It doesn’t taste very good. Sorry, but in my experience a fresh strawberry that tastes like it was rolled in sugar or plucked fresh from the garden can only be found in the summertime. Same with a juicy, fragrant peach and a ripe watermelon. No offense to my Chilean comrades, but when I bit into a mouthful of the blueberries all I tasted was “meh.” That locally-grown red delicious apple was, well, delicious!
So what’s a person to do when, come February we’re faced with the umpteenth squash or root vegetable? Well, I buy frozen.
Frozen fruits and vegetables are picked at their peak and flash frozen to seal in freshness. They keep for months and taste absolutely delicious when thawed (or not, depending on how you’re preparing them). One sign that summertime is coming to an end is when I buy my last package of fresh strawberries and begin stocking up on the mixed berry bag my local Costco carries. Each morning I thaw a half-cup of these delicious berries and sprinkle them on my cereal or oatmeal. No sugar needed (and none added when they are frozen – check the ingredient list when you’re buying frozen fruits and veggies to make sure it’s simply the fruit or veggie – no added sugar, salt or preservatives).
Note: 100% juice also gives you the taste of fresh fruit year-round. And canned food is another way to enjoy foods out of season – just watch for added salt and/or syrup.
Yes, we are so lucky to be living in a time when we can enjoy our favorite foods when we want them. But for the most bang for your buck (taste and otherwise), only buy fresh produce when it’s in season.