Guest Writer: Lucy Wyndham
What will you find at the market? The internet has produced some handy tools for you to use to track availability of certain fruits and veggies. However, while these tools help narrow when we can grow and enjoy certain foods, they may not necessarily be as detailed regarding the absolute peak time they can be enjoyed.
It’s in the Details
There are two types of charts that exist when it comes to tracking seasonal foods. Ones that tell you when they can grow, and those that tell you when they hit that special window of “you need to buy them now.” This doesn’t mean that the veggies or fruits that you enjoy are totally verboten outside of this narrow window – they will still be rather good if you eat them in season. Just know that if you don’t pick up fruits and veggies during that window, you’re not getting them at their full potential.
Going Beyond the Market
Once you get a grasp of what fruits and veggies are at their peak, you don’t necessarily have to stop at the local Farmer’s Market to take advantage of this knowledge. If you live in a region that’s prime for foraging opportunities, you can go hunt for wild berries or plants when they’re at their absolute best. This can come in especially handy if you live in a region where ingredients with hyper-narrow windows grow, like fiddleheads.
If you purchase or pick your fruits and veggies at their peak, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you must eat them right away. You can freeze fruit and veggies to enjoy them at a later date without having them lose much of their integrity. This does involve a bit of a process, one that can vary based on the fruit, veggie, or herb that you’re dealing with. However, doing so can be quite rewarding – it can even be the basis for making healthy treats for the kids.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you use these ingredients, if you’re gathering your fruits and vegetables at the peak of their season, you are doing an activity just as nature intended. It’s an easy thing to do when you’re in the know, and it’s even easier to enjoy the results of such knowledge.