When I was younger, my favourite dish at home was stuffed tomatoes with french fries. My dad is an amateur chef and I would eat 5 easily. It’s the perfect feel-good food and so flavourful.
So on a cold November day, I had asked my dad whether we could have them for dinner and he said that it was not possible because tomatoes don’t grow in winter and therefore it’s only a summer dish. I was baffled, but aren’t they in the stores all year long?
To which he replied, yes but they are not as healthy for us or the planet so better respect eating according to the seasons.
Source: biofarm / 图片来源：biofarm
Seasonal Food? Shenme?
It’s been over 15 years since the first time I understood the meaning of seasonal vegetables and I only adapted my diet to it a few years back (when I actually started cooking myself.)
As I dove deeper into the rabbithole of safe food, organic food and chemical-free, I came to the conclusion that following nature’s flow is the easiest way to know what is good for us.
Very few vegetables grow all year long, it depends on the soil, humidity, rainfall, sun exposure and the other fellows habitants (insects, bugs etc) who share the same ecosystem. Needless to say that a vegetable who grows in season doesn’t much of ‘extra’ help to grow, such as fertilizers, which are often packed with harmful chemicals.
However, there’s demand for certain vegetables all year long, such as avocado, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, asparagus and more.
So what happens?
We grow them in greenhouses that use up a lot of energy to cool and/or heat to achieve that perfect habitat or we ship them from countries across the world (petrol, energy and water intensive).
We often think that the packaging we see in the supermarket is the only waste we create when we purchase food but really - it’s only the tip of the iceberg. All the petrol, energy, packaging, cooling, heating waste and pollution is invisible when we purchase.
Source: internet / 图片来源：网络
So on top of eating what’s in season (because yes, when it’s winter in Shanghai it is summer in Chile and therefore we can still have our avo’s in winter), we can try to eat more locally too.
Multiple reasons for that, number one being the one that I stated just before, your food’s carbon footprint will drastically drop. Number 2, you support the local communities that you are part of, and therefore giving back to the country/ town/ locals that you live with. Lastly, from a more holistic point of view, your body adapts to the local climate and therefore food that grows in that same environment and habitat might be better for your overall health.
In a nutshell, when you choose to eat vegetables that are in season, not only are you eating healthier because of fewer (or none) harmful chemical additives, but also you are not creating demand for products that require all that extra energy that is highly taxing on our environment.
How do I know what is in season?
Follow the graph below/如下图所示
Here below you will find a graph that shows for Shanghai which vegetables and fruits are in season. If you’re not in Shanghai, you want to know which climate zone you’re in. You can see here. (link: https://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-china-plant-hardiness-zone-map-celsius.php)
Source: internet / 图片来源：网络
2. What is there an abundance of? / 市场上到处都有的是什么？
If you walk through the wet market, pay attention to what people are selling the most of? And what do you see the least?
At some point around early spring, I remember seeing a lot of asparagus being sold at all the farmers stands. Asparagus grows better in spring, it’s in season.
3. Go for the natural look / 选择自然的外形
Look at the “ugliest” vegetables. The “uglier” or should I just say natural, the bigger chances are they have not had any chemical sprayed on them. Farmers always try to sell the perfect red tomato or straight orange carrot, but carrots also come in purple, white and yellow.
Any other recommendations? 还有其他建议吗？
Share in the comments below ! 在评论中与我们分享吧！