5 Reasons to Cook Seasonally
Cooking with the seasons is one of the more recent trends that goes back to the roots of cooking. It’s already a quite widespread practice because of the benefits of cooking seasonally. Is is time for you to start cooking more seasonally?
- The food tastes better. Because of technology, it’s possible to get a fresh tomato all year round, but the tomatoes from the grocery store never taste as good as one fresh from the garden. That’s because it was ripening on its way to the grocery store, not while it was still on the vine and in real sunlight. When you use ingredients during their traditional harvest season they will taste much better than they would the rest of the year.
- It isn't as expensive. When the food doesn't need to be forced with chemicals and artificial environments to grow, it is unsurprisingly less expensive to produce. This makes it easier to take advantage of the produce while it’s in season, while still saving a little money.
- You can support local farmers. When you're cooking seasonally, you'll find yourself visiting local farms or farmer’s markets quite often. It’s important to support these farmers while you can. Many of them have a tough time financially, doing much of the work themselves and then, on top of that, they're usually without work for a few months of the year. Get to know the local farmers and their work. Ask questions about how they grow or raise the produce, you’ll learn something and gain more respect for the ingredient.
- The flavors go with the season. Cooking seasonally means using produce as it is harvested, while it’s at its best. The flavors of these ingredients are often ones that are associated with the season, and for good reason. Something like a roasted carrot in the fall or butternut squash soup in the winter, they've become staples, use them - people love them.
- It just makes sense. In the past, people had no choice but to use the ingredients seasonally. Without refrigeration and commercial farming, you had to provide for yourself. There was a lot more cured meat and fish, as well as pickled vegetables and fruit preserves, simply because during winter months, when it was hard or impossible to get fresh produce, you’d need these things to survive. This is when a lot of classic recipes were made too, using ingredients that work well together and are available at about the same time. It was the common sense way of cooking, and now we seem to be moving back towards it.
Cooking seasonally is a way of getting back to your culinary roots, when you had no choice. Luckily, that’s not the only benefit. When cooking seasonally, you're also getting the best flavor and quality of produce you can; which elevates the dish to a whole new level.