seasonal eating – vegetables & fruits – with free calendar

If you think you need expensive and exotic vegetables and fruits or extraordinary superfoods to be healthy, then you are wrong.

Seasonal vegetables and fruits bought locally are a brilliant source of not only delicious taste, but also vitamins, micro elements, freshness and health. And Spring is a perfect time to introduce more vegetables and fruits to your diet. I wanted to prepare a list for myself of vegetables and fruits according to the season, but I thought it will be a great idea for a blog post, so I prepared a vegetable and fruit calendar for you. Availability of all vegetables and fruits in supermarkets all year round made me lose track a bit when it comes to their seasonality. As I currently live in the UK, I chose this country as my fruit and vegetable base. But I encourage you to prepare your own vegetable and fruit calendar for the country you live in.

We have access to fresh vegetables and fruit all year round. Obviously, if you look at the labels lots of these veggies and fruits are grown thousands of miles away from UK. It’s because some of them do not grow in UK at all, like tropical fruits and veggies, others does grow but in different season, like tomatoes in January. But imported vegetables and fruits have one big drawback – in order to survive, they are sprayed with pesticides, which cannot be fully removed, even by washing and scrubbing the plant. This is not the case with seasonal fruit and vegetables, as they are usually grown on nearby farms, so we can be sure that they are fresh, and even if they are sprayed, to a much lesser extent.
In addition, fruit and vegetables from abroad are harvested not fully ripe (so that the banana comes to us yellow, it is picked when it is still green), so they are not fully developed with vitamins and minerals. This takes away their health benefits and makes them less valuable for our body. My friend who lives i Malawi told me once, that bananas that we eat here in UK have absolutely different taste that the one that grow until ripen in Malawi. It’s like completely different fruit. You can easily experience that eating juicy strawberry from your garden in the middle of Summer, and large and beautiful but absolutely tasteless strawberry bought in the supermarket in the middle of Winter.

It’s also worth knowing that vegetables and fruits begin to lose their nutritional value at the time of harvesting and larger amounts of bacteria responsible for spoilage begin to appear. So by eating them as quickly as possible since harvesting, we gain more benefits for our body. Also imported fruits and veggies are more expensive than seasonal ones. They need to be transported many miles before they reach to your local shop.

Transporting such fruit and vegetables leaves behind a huge carbon footprint and a multitude of other pollutants. I’m not saying that we should suddenly stop eating exotic fruits or imported vegetables if we like them. I love vegetables myself and I like to eat them all year round, and it would be difficult for me to only eat root vegetables out of season. However, if we would like to introduce more seasonality into our diet, it is a good idea to start from buying vegetables and fruits in season. A great idea in my opinion is also buying vegetables and fruits from local farmers – such vegetables will not only be much healthier but also cheaper, and their cultivation and sale more environmentally friendly (if you’d like to know more about the difference between supermarket veggies and the one from sustainable farms, take a look at my interview with one of our local farmers).

Lastly it’s worth mentioning that seasonal vegetables and fruits are simply much tastier. It’s much nicer to enjoy the taste of strawberries on a sunny Summer day, when they are juicy, full of flavour and sweet, than to spoil your experience by buying an expensive small plastic box of strawberries that taste like nothing.

Very often the simplest solutions are the best, so if you want to make a little revolution in your vegetable world this Spring, start by downloading the calendar I have prepared (you’ll find it on the bottom of this post below the photos). Keep it on your phone, for easy access when you go shopping, or print it and stick to your fridge.

omelette with apple cider vinegar inspired by Sophie Dahl

When I’m a bit fed up with scrolling Instagram looking for food inspiration, I go back to my old cookbooks. I feel like going through the pages of a cookbook is much more valuable than scrolling internet, but we got so used to tap on the phone, that we sometimes forget how pleasant is to sit on the sofa with a book. At least I forget. You just move your thumb mindlessly up and down with endless photos scrolling in front of your eyes and it can last for hours. Time spend with a book is more precious, it has its beginning and its end, and when you get to the last page you feel like you were back from a journey. A journey written in a book. Even if it’s a cookbook. That’s how I feel after flipping through Sophie Dahl’s Season to Season. Each recipe is preceded by a short story from the author’s life, so we’re not only walking through the seasons of the year but also through small but important moments from Sophie’s life. Moments and memories filled with food and people. This book shows that every meal has a story, and this story is different for each person. I’m sure that each of the meal you make has its own story to tell.

As I mentioned many times, I’m not a fan of omelettes. Crispy fried egg is not the taste I like. But I like experiments, so if you say: lets make an omelette with apple cider vinegar, I will definitely go for it! My curiosity is greater than my distaste for omelettes.

And this omelette came out better that expected, if you’re not afraid of vinegar smell in your kitchen evaporating from the pan, and furthermore – you like omelettes, without doubt you should try it. I feel like apple cider vinegar took away that slightly bland and sometimes even sickly taste of omelette. And you won’t absolutely feel any vinegar taste in it. I’ve made just one change to Sophie’s recipe, adding more onion (as I’m a definite fan of onion). Recipe required ¼ of an small onion and I added a whole one. Fortunate I had fresh pack of sumac I bought recently without a reason. I only didn’t have fresh thyme, that’s probably makes a big difference, but I had dried one. If you have fresh one, use the fresh thyme.

The process is a bit smelly as I mentioned. First you have to fry some onion (I fried them a little bit to much in this case) which is actually pretty nice smell (I don’t like when I smell like a fried onion afterwords), then you add apple cider vinegar and your kitchen will fill up with the smell of fried onion and apple cider vinegar, which maybe is not the best duo, but you end up with pretty decent omelette. Not bland at all, cheese, without any acidic after-taste. Not bad actually.

omelette with apple cider vinegar by Sophie Dahl

INGREDIENTS for one omelette:

  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ small onion (I added 1 whole small onion)
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • handful of grated mature cheddar
  • 1 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme (I used dried)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • natural rock salt and coarse pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Melt one tablespoon of butter on a pan. Chop the onion and fry until soft and golden. Than add pinch of salt and 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar, lower the heat and let the vinegar evaporate.

Beat eggs with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add second tablespoon of butter to the pan and pour the eggs. Increase the heat, sprinkle your omelette with cheddar, sumac and thyme. When it’s set flip it and fry for bout 30 seconds on the other side, then serve.

Enjoy!