Great for: eating local, trying the ‘latest’ and ‘newest’, being environmentally conscious, adapting meals to suit the weather, embracing nature, adventurous people
Seasonal meal planning has to be the most natural way to eat. Whether our bodies are craving hearty, warming fare or light, water-rich treats, the seasons always provide exactly what we need exactly when we need it most.
When I come to do my meal planning, one of the first things I consider is what’s in season. I rely on the ever-changing seasonal produce to ensure that my menus are always new and exciting and that we get a wide variety of foods in our diets. So, while I might still cook a risotto year round, in spring it’s flavoured with new peas and baby broad beans, while in autumn it’s butternut squash and wild mushrooms – both with lashings of garlic and parmesan, of course.
Eat with the Year
Eating seasonally has to be the most rewarding way to experience food. Simply put, food just doesn’t taste the same at the wrong time of year and it doesn’t fill that particular yearning we have for food to satisfy. So it’s a wonderful thing to live in a country with such a variety of produce, and in a county with such amazing farms, farm shops and food enthusiasts. That said, our supermarkets are so good at providing us with any product we like at any time of the year that we have to be careful with our shopping to ensure we’re only getting the very best, the very local and the very seasonal.
Things to Consider:
- Seasonal planning is a mixture of knowing what’s in season and how best to cook for the season.
- These days, supermarkets tend to be able to get most fruits and vegetables all year round but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting them at their best.
- When you plan your meals for the week, think about what’s growing in your country right now. That’s where you start with your food. If you’re not sure, then get in the habit of checking food labels in the supermarket to make sure the produce you’re buying is local. In fact, the more local, the better; why not try a local farmer’s market instead of the big chain stores?
- You’ve probably already got an idea of what cooking method you want to employ (no casseroles in summer, please!) and you’ll find that the home-grown ingredients seem to naturally fit those cooking methods too.
- Seasonal cooking is not the easiest method of Meal Planning but it is probably the most rewarding and is definitely the most exciting. Use these tips and ideas to integrate some of your local seasonal produce into your weekly rotation and you’ll soon reap the benefits.
The great thing about Seasonal Meal Planning is that it only lasts three months (a season) before you can switch to something else. No more boring repetitions!
The other benefit is that if you’re clever, you can just plan once for each season (choose a month’s worth and just repeat twice) which means only planning four times a year!
There’s something about local and homegrown produce that just tastes better.
And think of all those food miles you’ll be saving and local farmers you’ll be helping. So, why not start today with a list of meals you’d like to make this season?
Not sure what’s in Season?
Get my Seasonal Menu PDF (UK or US version) with 150+ ideas (yes, 150+!) for what’s in season when, and how best to cook it. You’ll also be subscribed to my Newsletter so you can get all my latest recipes and tips on how to make the meal-planning process easy peasy, lemon squeezy!