By Silvia Carli
Close your eyes and imagine yourself eating a slice of watermelon in the middle of July to fend off the sweltering heat, or enjoying a tangy orange as the cold breeze makes the experience that much more memorable. Don’t you feel ravenous just thinking about it? To be honest, very few things can compare with the experience of enjoying in-season fruits and vegetables. Sadly, in the wake of rapid consumerism, many people have begun replacing these vibrant memories of seasonal foods with artificially ripened produce. Here are a few important reasons why you should only eat fruits and vegetables that are in-season!
Preservatives are harmful substances that are added to fruits and vegetables in order to protect them from spoiling over time. This spoilage is caused by several disruptive organisms like bacteria, molds, fungus, and yeast. In order to increase the longevity of products so that they are sellable and, in turn, profitable, certain companies and farms add preservatives to crops in order to delay rancidity. The only way to avoid these preservatives is to invest in organically grown seasonal food products.
Seasonal fruits and vegetables are grown organically without any human or chemical intrusion.
On the other hand, foods that are out-of-season usually cannot survive on their own and thus need assistance from different harmful ripening agents like pesticides, chemicals, waxes, and preservatives in order to even make it to the supermarket aisles.
Thus, not only are out-of-season produce chock-full of potentially detrimental inorganic and corrosive substances, but they also require additional chemicals to make them look appetizing to the consumer. The best way to avoid ingesting toxic substances and exposing yourself to a myriad of health issues is to properly research which vegetables are in season every time you go out to buy produce.
Keeping this in mind, you should buy fresh produce to also support local farm owners who are the ones nurturing crops and bringing in-season produce for your consumption. Commercial farming generally relies upon artificial ripening agents in order to maximize profit. Alternatively, small farmers tend to pay more attention to actually “growing” the crops and “nurturing” the land, as they are not as focused on producing foods that have a longer shelf-life. In order to get your fix for in-season fruits and veggies, a good alternative is to visit your local farmer’s market the next time you are out to buy groceries.
Not only is fresh produce much healthier than out-of-season food products, it’s no secret that it also tastes a thousand times better than its chemical-ridden counterpart. Commercial farms that grow crops artificially with the sole purpose of maximizing profit, fail to pay attention to the actual taste of what they are producing. This mass production of fruits and vegetables generally strips the produce from any semblance of flavor.
These agonizingly bland-tasting fruits and veggies are shipped to supermarkets where they find their way to your homes. Thus, all those times you tried cooking the perfect dish but just ended up making something that tasted lack-luster, it could be because of those out-of-season vegetables you bought from the store.
Genetic engineering, additives, and ripening agents essentially accelerate the growth process of crops which, in layman’s terms, means that the crops potentially grow at a faster rate than they would under normal circumstances. This faster rate is a means to make more money. At first glance, it seems like a good idea, however, that can’t be further from the truth. When you pick up produce before it is properly ripe, you basically rob it of all of its nutrients.
In-season fruits and vegetables, on the other hand, might be higher in nutritional value and might contain certain crucial antioxidants like Vitamin C, folate, and carotenoids, which deteriorate with the passage of time, according to experts. So, instead of buying mediocre tasting vegetables and fruits, look up some autumn-winter soup recipes and head to your closest farmer’s market to whip up some incredible yet cheap, healthy meals.
Buying fruits and vegetables in season isn’t just healthier, it’s also a more financially viable option. In-season foods are sold at lesser prices because they are abundant in supply and can be easily found everywhere.
If you are on a vegan and/or vegetarian diet, buying fresh fruits and vegetables can substantially lessen the burden on your pocket. If you can, you should also invest some time in growing your own vegetables at home. It might seem intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, it can surely be a rewarding venture.
In order to get cost-efficient fresh produce, head to the local farmer’s market instead of flashy department stores. As the farmer’s market usually has produce that hasn’t traveled across the country, it is not only fresher and cheaper but also has greater nutritional value. Fruits and vegetables from these markets don’t have to rely on cars and other smoke-emitting vehicles for transportation, so they are also a more environmental-friendly alternative.
Avoid buying out-of-season fruits and vegetables so that you and your family aren’t exposed to the harmful after-effects of pesticides and preservatives. Fresh, in-season produce can not only give your cuisine the “oomph” it might be lacking, but it can also provide the nutritional value that has been missing from your diet. In order to get the best produce, be sure to give your local farmer’s market a visit or, if you feel especially motivated, try planting a fruit and vegetable garden at home.
Here’s a short, three-minute video explaining how you can quickly identify what’s in-season, and make eating seasonal produce a major part of your lifestyle.