Monday, April 26, 2010

Food in Season

One of my favorite things about the spring and summer time is the vast range of fresh food, right out of the garden (or from the farmer's market for those of you who are in the season I was a few years ago.) I love finding the just-right
and ready-to-pick item to make for dinner. Early asparagus, and radishes in the spring, to the early summer presents like beets and carrots. I often eat my finds right in the garden, with just a brush off on my jeans- oh the goodness of knowing exactly where my food came from and that it is without a doubt completely chemical-free.

Now, no matter how much I like garden-fresh veggies, at some point I want them cooked and on my dinner plate. As with most things, simple is best when it comes to cooking this prime produce. Repeat after me: less is more. Try some of the following:

  1. Steamed, with a bit of butter and fresh pepper- try white if you can find it as it's a bit lighter in taste.
  2. Roasted- works well for roots like carrots and beets but is also delicious with asparagus- with salt and good olive oil.
  3. Steamed and served with fresh herbs- I love thyme and chives.
  4. Raw in a salad- other cultures often add in such odd veggies as raw asparagus- and don't forget the beet greens themselves!

Cooking seasonally, whether from your garden or a local farm, will mean the freshest and most flavorful food. As an added benefit, it often also means the most frugal- food in season is almost always cheaper. If you get your food from the farmer's market (or straight from the farm) you have no choice but to follow the flow of the natural food production. Unlike buying asparagus in November from the mega-mart, this asparagus hasn't travelled 250 miles over six- ten days. Local food is better for the environment, and for you- less time off the farm means better vitamin retention and need I mention the better taste?

For a great resource on cooking food in season, check out Your Organic Kitchen. This book is organized into sub-seasons like early spring and midsummer, and features delicious and simple recipes based on produce and meat as it is naturally available. It even includes desserts!

I am happy to share this post at Homemaker Mondays.

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