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Do you cook according to seasonal produce?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I was wondering do you cook according to produce that is in season? If so what types of dishes do you prepare?
post #2 of 17
most certainly!


dan



(hi)
post #3 of 17
In an ideal world i would love to...Always. I cook asparagus in season. Ayreshire and Jersy potatoes ...The have such a short season i make the most of them. I grow much of my own produce.

I agree totally with buying locally in season. But realistically so much of what i need is grown somewhere else in someone else's season. Hand on heart, i admit to encouraging my carbon footprint. I want mangos n they dont grow anywhere near Dundee. I want artichokes at christmas too.

On the whole tho, I buy whats in season as best i can. It can be boring tho where we are. there is nothing exotic available and the temptation is ever present to buy imports
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #4 of 17
depends what ya call local, I live in north cali. I try I really do, but I will vex the wife sometimes and "rush" a season. Cause So. Cal runs about 2-3 weeks ahead of harvest in No. cal. so when I can get artichokes from San Diego before I can out of Fresno.... well I love artichokes, sue me.:p
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #5 of 17
I guess we eat predominantly local produce out of necessity. We buy whatever produce looks good in the store when we go to town, but we only go to town about once a month and this time of year store produce doesn't keep very long, so yeah, we eat local. Whatever's coming out of the garden at any given time. Early spring Feb-April the collards and chard and mesclun are going gangbusters. Lots of steak and chops and chicken and greens and salads. Now were up to our eyeballs in tomatoes and squash and the like. The corn will be ready in a week or two. First the sweet corn. It will be roasted "estilo Americano" and buttered and salted gringo style. We'll also use it in "calabacitas", a stew/soup made from roasted corn, roasted chiles and striped Mexican zucchini type squash. Stewed to oblivion, laced with goat's milk queso fresco. Tortillas, beer. My goodness! Then the tall "elote" corn that we use for roasting and later grinding will be ready. We pick some in the milk stage for roasting. Served up with mayo, lime juice and chile powder, and then let the rest dry out for milling for tortillas and tamales, wimmin's work in the winter. Elote is chewy and earthy and not very sweet. Tastes like corn, not sugar. We have some neighbors who have a big greenhouse and while it's too hot here for the thing to be any use much after March, they grow all kinds of stuff all winter long. I trade them cheese, milk and meat for produce. I trade with them in the summer too for root vegetables as I am no use when it comes to tubers. Too old and crabby to learn how to coddle carrots.
I am not some kind of locavore **** by any means. Who cares where the shitakes came from? Sometimes those folks get my goat. Gonna go without fresh ground pepper? Is your salt local? I had one at a farmer's market give me a hard time about drinking Newcastle Brown Ale. "Imagine the carbon footprint of that bottle of beer!!" Please.
post #6 of 17
Living in San Francisco I have access to lots of locally grown, seasonal produce, whether at the Ferry Building Farmer's Market on Saturday or the many fine produce stores in the City. And I take full advantage of these resources.

Chile and other southern hemisphere countries have thriving produce industry and they export a lot of it to the US. And, since their seaons are opposite to ours, I can get asparagus year round. I take full advantage of that too. It's just too tempting to resist.

I am concerned about my my carbon footprint and the effects on global warming from transporting food. Michael Pollan (In Defense of Food) claims there is less impact on the environment transporting a train load of produce from the central valley in California to his market in Seattle, WA than the dozens of pick-up trucks bringing produce 50 miles to his local farmer's market.
post #7 of 17
An excellent book. I liked The Omnivore's Dilemma also.
post #8 of 17
I cook with food in season mainly because it tastes better. But i'm lucky. I live in Rome, where there is a long growing season and plenty of great vegetables and fruit all year long. Not possible when i used to live in boston, where part of the year everything is covered in snow!

I need greens, i crave them if i don;t have them, so i would certainly buy vegetables produced far away if i couldn;t get them where i was.
In rome, i can get broccoletti and spinach and swiss chard, cabbages, all sorts of roots, in the winter, and lots of hothouse stuff that isn't too bad, grown pretty locally (all italy is "local" considering the distances, but even grown in the same region of italy). In summer there are few leaf vegetables, but there is a lot of other stuff, artichokes galore, and peas and string beans and eggplants etc etc. So much to choose from and cheap and wonderful.

But i wonder at the cost (in terms of money but also fuel) of growing vegetables in a cold climate in the winter in a hot house. - is it more costly than growing locally and shipping? And on the other hand, can we go all winter on potatoes and squash?

There are new kinds of tomatoes that are not half bad that i can get in winter, but they;re expensive and i rarely use them. I can live with the ones we get in summer, which are certainly worth waiting for, and "summer" is very very long here (way too long for me but fortunately, there are the tomatoes...).

I do get absolutely fed up with apples in the winter, and fortunately there are oranges in season then, but i won;t buy out of season fruit, because it tastes like apples anyway- hard and tasteless! (Well, we don;t havbe the greatest apples here, i must say).

So while there are economic and ecological reasons for eating local and seasonal produce, interestingly enough my favorite rule of thumb (both for nutrition and for anythig else concerning food) for choosing foods is to go with what tastes best and this just happens to coincide with what is best for the environment and the pocketbook.

And a final thought... many fruits and vegetables come from under-developed countries and are part of their economy. Lots of fair trade companies are starting up and that would be a good reason to buy from afar, with at least as good an ethical motivation.

Anybody drink only "local" coffee? Do you eat chocolate? pineapples?
And what about your cars, computers and their components, sneakers, clothes, etc etc etc... how much shipping is involved there?
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #9 of 17
I do make a determined effort to try to eat locally produced seasonal foodstuffs.
I have eaten only locally reared organically produced meat for nearly 25 years.

Unfortunately, living in Scotland, winters are long and wet - apart from a few brassicas and root crops, there is not a lot of choice of 'local' veggies to be had! So, during the winter, I do buy things from further afield - otherwise we would never see an orange or any other kind of citrus fruits.

Like Bughut - I love Ayrshire potatoes and Jersey Royals - both have distinct short seasons - ditto local soft fruits and asparagus. I don't eat asparagus all year round (although it is readily available, from all over the globe) as the imported stuff just doesn't compare to home grown!
post #10 of 17
I am making greater attempts to eat sesonally and locally. The Central New York Farmer's market is right here in Syracuse so I go every Saturday morning and shop only with local farmers (vs commercial produce vendors). As a result, I'm cooking more greens, especially baby chard and spinach, more asparagus, and many more berries. I noted this week that the strawberries are almost gone, but cherries are everywhere so changed my dessert plans and got cherries. They were fantastic. I also noticed local blueberries are just starting to show up and expect that will be my choice for next week.

With regard to the prepared dishes, the greens are typically sauteed in olive oil and garlic, the spinach is tossed into salad, and the berries are turned into shortcakes, cobblers, and upside down cakes (my husband loves upside down cakes). Does this help?
post #11 of 17
Seasonal use of products is the only way, economically , to go. Or buy what you need in a can.

I do love summer for the basic fact of the stone fruits. Nothing like the smell, taste and texture of a fully ripe peach or apricot. Oh lord its cold and that season is far away.

Food imported from places in the world where those things are now in season never, ever, tastes as good. They've been shipped half ripe and goodness knows what else to try and keep them fresh, plus they are 4 or 5 times the price of the same thing when they are in season here. I couldn't be bothered - I'll buy canned, which has been harvested when its ripe. (oh what I wouldn't give for a ripe peach or tomato in season at the moment! hehe)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Gunnar and bughut, I love artichokes any time of the year too but nothing like fresh artichokes to munch on for snack. Last year, I found some great baby artichokes that I sauteed. So yummy!

Jock, that's true. There is a lot of environmental impact from truck driving. It is a great concern when you see the hundreds of trucks that are transporting goods up north or down south.

singer4660, blueberries have been showing up here in LA too. I love fresh blueberries and it's so easy to take with you anywhere. Thank you also for the great ideas.

Here is a great salad recipe that is traditional but yet it has a summer twist with the fresh berries. Perfect for those blueberries that are showing up in markets!

Chicken Berry Salad


8 cups torn mixed salad greens
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked, cut into strips
2 cups fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, sliced strawberries)
1 pkg. (8 oz.) frozen sugar snap peas, thawed
1/4 cup chopped toasted PLANTERS Pecans or Slivered Almonds
1 cup prepared GOOD SEASONS Italian Dressing Mix (prepared with less oil version as directed on pkg.)

Prep:
TOSS
salad greens with all remaining ingredients except the dressing in large bowl. ADD dressing; mix lightly.

For nutritional values please visit: Chicken Berry Salad recipe
post #13 of 17
The season sure influences me and what's coming ripe in the yard and market. That also means it's inexpensive yet at the best quality.

But I enjoy various lettuce year round and some fruits. And in off season, I still buy some fresh herbs as the meal requires. Lots of this is still local, just greenhouse.

And things that don't grow in my region at all like citrus and bananas, mangos.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #14 of 17
Here in Kyoto, I buy seasonal and usually local, but that's easy -- they're nuts about this. If you can find it in the big open-air markets, it's seasonal and local, is about all there is to it.

In New England, it's not so simple. I'm with Ishbel: in the winter, that would mean only stored root vegetables, and I for one would get very sick of eating old potatoes, turnips, rutabaga, and like that all winter. So I buy what looks good.

I don't buy canned veggies, unlike DC Sunshine. I buy frozen. A lot of the "freshness is everything" people seem to think frozen veggies are intrinsically bad, but actually frozen peas, corn, and so on are much better than almost anything you can get from the ordinary supermarket, even IN season. And they're cheap, too. I for one would much rather use good-quality frozen baby peas than fight with futility trying to make the supposedly fresh, seasonal shell peas turn tender and sweet -- they're always mealy and bland.
post #15 of 17
Chris, I also buy frozen. Especially peas, beans and corn. I'm a huge fan of these products. Unless you have them growing in your backyard, or know someone you can go and harvest them from, there is no point getting it from the "super"market. Its old by then, the sugars are turning to starch.

Getting back to the canned though - would you rather have an out of season greenhouse tomato which tastes of nothing (I just bought some and am regretting it) or canned tomatoes which have been harvested in season then canned?
I know what I'd prefer (particularly after just trying one of those greenhouse winter cherry tomatoes...bleccch!!!-I think I'll wait till spring)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #16 of 17
Oh yes, tomatoes of course. Very little else in a can, though.
post #17 of 17
Yes, i agree, tomatoes are ok canned. (It's an old tradition for families here to do their own canned tomatoes (actually, they use bottles, and they used to be sealed with a cork and string) because tomatoes are only good in the summer, but much of italian cuisine relies on tomato sauce.

I can also tolerate corn and beans in the can, though fresh corn, well, is another thing altogether, and if you've never had fresh beans (like borlotti or cannellini) you'd be in for a treat, a way different vegetable than the canned ones or even the dried ones.

But canned peas, string beans, and other vegetables, yuck.
The only frozen vegetables i like are peas, which i prefer to fresh, even. I think like corn, the peas start to turn to starch as soon as they;re picked, so unless you're getting them from plant to pot, they tend to be starchy and no longer sweet. I used to think string beans and spinach were ok frozen, but now i would only use them in a real emergency. I suppose if i lived in a different climate, i would have to though.

I would like to know, however, if someone has really, actually calculated the difference in cost and environmental impact of hothouse growing and transporting food from more temperate climates. Excluding the definitely more ecological but infinitely more boring, not to mention nutritiously inferior solution of only eating potatoes and squash all winter.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
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