A guest post by Juliette Britton
While grocery shopping this week, I was excited to see more fresh produce (strawberries, blackberries, and grapes in particular). I picked up some organic grapes and was anxious to have them for lunch. However, I was disappointed after my first bite; they were pretty sour. Which was a great reminder about the importance buying in season. These grapes traveled all the way from Chile (which I didn’t realize until I got home). Buying local (or at least domestic) minimizes the amount of travel time from farm to table. Unlike fine wine, fruits and veggies don’t get better with age. As they age, they lose modest amounts of nutrients. Also, fresh fruits and vegetables usually taste better than their mature counterparts.
So what is in season in April/May? I came across this fantastic website that gives a detailed list of what’s available in Illinois:
For a complete list of what’s available in other states, check out:
The list is somewhat limited for this time of year: spinach, peas, lettuce, asparagus and onions. Consequently, I can’t buy all my produce from local sources, so I do my best to buy domestic (California is a lot closer than Chile) or I buy frozen fruits and vegetables. There is a misconception that frozen fruits and vegetables aren’t as nutritious as fresh produce, when in fact, the opposite may be true. Frozen fruits and veggies are picked at optimal ripeness and flash frozen to preserve nutrients. Fresh produce on the other hand, may be picked pre-maturely and is subject to nutrient degradation the further it travels. Although frozen fruits and vegetables have a slightly different texture, I find they are perfect for smoothies, soups, and casseroles.
Here is a recipe for a super simple smoothie:
1 cup frozen strawberries
½ cup frozen blueberries
1 cup milk or milk alternative
½ cup Greek yogurt
*if you need a bit more sweetness add 1 T maple syrup or honey