Seasonal Produce Guide
So you want to know what foods are in season. And maybe some of you are wondering why it even matters. Well today I'm going to be covering it all. Also, if you stick around to the end, there MIGHT be some extra bonus tips for grocery shopping. 😘
Let's get started!
The first reason why knowing what is in season matters is because the item is bound to have the best flavor and quality. Why is that? Well it's because when fruits and vegetables are allowed to naturally ripen and be harvested at the right time, they will naturally have a better quality verses when you have to transport them and harvest them very early. So, they are often picked before they are ripe and then chilled on the journey to your grocery store. And then on top of that, the produce may need to be artificially heated to help it ripen before it's put out on the shelf for customers.
The second reason you going to want to buy produce in season is because it'll be more readily available and in greater quantities at the store. There's nothing worse than getting to the store to realize ohh..there's like no zucchini for my meal. Or there even might be Zucchini but like only a handful of options and they are tiny and the quality is sup par. And if you care about our mother earth, you should know that it's better for our environment when there is a reduced demand for "out of season" foods. This is because there's less spent on transportation and chemicals, and freezing...all of that questionable stuff.
The third reason is because it's cheaper! When there is a shortage, the price goes up because of the demand, but when it's in season and in high quantities, the price goes way down. It's even a bonus if the produce is buying is actually local, because then the price can go down even further. Also as a side note, you probably should be buying local food whenever possible to reduce the amount of chemicals sprayed on your food that helps them endure the long road from overseas or wherever long-distance location they are coming from. It is also more environmentally friendly this way too.
Okay let's get into those helpful resources (besides just Googling "what foods are in season". 😆
I'm from the midwest (if you are too, hi, hello). One major chain of grocery stores is Hyvee. Hyvee's website has produce guides for all the seasons. These produce guides are super helpful because they are categorized into fruits, vegetables, herbs and then you get a fun little blurb about how to store them, how to use them or cook with them, and then they give you a recipe right there! A plus is that if you have an account with Hyvee, you can save recipes for later which is something my husband and I love to do when we need new ideas. They also have a link there that allows you to better see what is locally grown and even who grows it and where. Pretty cool.
What's different about this website is that it shows you immediately what is in season now, and then further breaks down the produce by season so you can look at it all in a glance. This is nice because on the Hyvee website, you can only see one season at a time. So as we scroll down to summer, and click on say, apples, it tells us when they are in season, gives nutrition facts, recipes, and then some articles about apples...because #knowledge.
Seasonal Produce Guide Website The final resource I want to show you is very unique because you can really narrow in on the location, timeframe, and the type of produce. So for example, if I wanted to know what foods were in season in South Dakota in late July, I just plug them into the filters up at the top! You can also just choose "current month selection" and it will automatically pick it for you. I love how when you click on the produce item, you also see the other months that it's in season and you can find out how to pick out produce in the grocery store. Sustainability is also listed, how to eat and store them, and also some nutrition facts. Depending on the food, there are sometimes recipes linked to the item which is nice.
As hinted at earlier in this post, I will now give you some bonus PRO tips for grocery shopping as it relates to in-season produce.
The first is you need to understand that "in-season" varies where you live. So for sites like Hyvee (which is midwest based) and USDA which doesn't allow you to specify other than "United States", they aren't location specific. But the seasonal food guide does allow you to narrow it down...at least in the United States. If you know of international sites like these, leave them in a comment below to help our non-US-ers out!
Pro Tip #2, I highly recommend categorizing your meal options by season. When you're making your recipes, see which season the majority of the ingredients fall into (if you are cooking with fresh vegetables not frozen that is) and then categorize your recipes with the season accordingly. Not only does this save some stress and money when it comes to shopping, but it also provides a nice "change in scenery" in your rotation.
But, here's the thing...when you want to truly make the most of your grocery shopping and be as efficient as possible, you're going to need a great meal planning system in place. This way, when you go to the store, you know exactly what you need and you don't waste a minute pondering or unsure.
Now if you're like "meal planning? UGH no thank you". I can help you with that! In my program called Meal Planner Academy, together we will not only end the drama and overwhelm of meal planning, but we will also end the "what's for dinner" question for good. Sound amazing? That's because it is! 😘.
You should also know that to whoever signs up this month, I'm even giving away some special bonuses away for free, so head over to http://ww.katiewredecoaching.com/mpa to find out more and sign up today!
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Apply to Meal Planner Academy to end the "what's for dinner" question for GOOD.