Fruit and vegetables form the backbone of a healthy diet or any diet for that matter. As such, it’s crucial to get the best possible products available if you are to maximise the goodness. Eating with the seasons is crucial for a number of reasons, so we’ve put together a harvest guide of the freshest produce available right now and why it’s so important to bet on the best.
We’ve also compiled a three-course summer menu from our recipe archives for you to execute and savour at home.
Seasonal eating in Cape Town summer
- Why eating with the seasons is important
- Which fruit & vegetables are in season right now?
- Our light three-course summer menu
- Supporting local producers in Cape Town
Why eating with the seasons is important
If one eats with the seasons, there is an abundance of delicious fresh products right on our doorstep, right around the clock. Not only does seasonal eating allow us to enjoy foods at the peak of their powers and flavours, but it also aids sustainability and is budget-friendly.
The benefits of seasonal eating:
- In-season produce is fresher and tastes better, as it has been naturally ripened and harvested at the most advantageous time.
- During times of abundance, production costs for farmers drop, meaning that locally sourced, in-season produce is less costly to deliver to final consumers. That is a truly win-win scenario.
- Eating with the seasons is a way of supporting local farmers and businesses near you instead of expensive imported goods.
- By cutting the demand for out-of-season produce, an environmentally-friendly diet contributes little to carbon emissions through less transportation, refrigeration and hot houses, and also eliminates the need for irradiation of produce.
- Eating with the seasons makes it much easier to follow a balanced diet, supporting your body’s natural nutritional needs for each season. Wintry, healthy soups in winter incorporate chunky, hearty vegetables, while sweet fruits in summer boost energy and provide carotenoids that guard against sun damage. Summer salads are a sensational way to cut on carbs but not lose out on the benefits of a protein-rich meal that is still light and not too filling.
Which fruit & vegetables are in season right now?
Summer fruits are plentiful in South Africa. Take your pick from the following, in alphabetical order, because your favourite fruit(s) is (are) almost certainly in there:
Perhaps an easier approach would have been to discuss which fruits are NOT in season during summer, amiright? If you love berries you’re in luck, while stone fruits like peaches, nectarines and plums all introduce a variety of tantalising options for dessert enthusiasts. And for the bakers out there, what’s better than a fig tart?
Again, take your pick from this extensive list of delicious and nutritious bounty. Who would have thought that it was so difficult to be convinced to eat vegetables when we were kids? They are the best things in the world, and much of that is down to how versatile they are. The following vegetables are in season through to the end of Feb:
- baby corn
- baby marrow
- mange tout
- red onions
- sweet potato
Our light & classy three-course summer menu
So, with those extensive lists in mind, we’ve decided to combine a trio of our recent recipes so that you have the tools to throw together an unforgettably light three-part meal. Try it yourself to the letter, or elaborate on and improve/experiment with to your heart’s content. This combination of dishes is tailor-made for a hot afternoon/early evening experience that can be served as either a plated meal or a staggered family-style shared meal, for ease of convenience.
We wrote about cold soups last week and they still couldn’t be more relevant now if they tried. It’s not getting any colder outside in a hurry. A few of those soups can be easily pivoted into hot meals (vichyssoise for example) in case the weather takes a turn.
The beauty of this meal is that all of the elements share the spotlight but whenever asparagus makes an appearance, it makes itself known. And that is no exception here.
Truly a mouthful of a name. This apple crumble dish was one of the first recipes we posted on the site and summer feels very much like a “back to basics” season. Nostalgia never gets old, and neither does apple crumble.
Supporting local producers in Cape Town
We’ve already touched on why it’s so important to eat with the seasons, and that healthy habit extends into supporting local produce suppliers in your area whenever and wherever possible. It is integral to fostering a habit of seasonal eating among our friends, peers and communities.
Cape Town is also abuzz with food markets in the summer months. We wrote about a few of our favourites just before Christmas, and they’re all still operating at optimal capacity at the peak of summer. Have a bash at building your own summer menu and let us know how it goes.
EDITORS NOTE: It’s pouring with rain in Cape Town. We are both surprised and not surprised at all.