Embrace the Season

Fresh veggies and fruits paint your meals with nutrition and flavor. But not all your favorites are ripe for the picking. Embrace the seasonal crops in your area with these tips for getting the most for your dollar:

  • Pay attention to price and quantity. A small corner with strawberries selling for $5/pound should be a clue that the juicy reds aren’t in season. Go with the more bountiful fruits like apples, pears, and cranberries; all these will reflect in–season status with their cost and abundance.
  • Take advantage of your local agriculture. While the season is important, regional climate influences the availability of various crops (warmer areas tend to have longer harvesting periods). Check out local co–ops and farmer’s markets for earth–grown grub sprouted in your own backyard — in many cases, it will be fresher and cost less than mass–produced imports. What’s more, because you’re limited to regional fare, you might be more apt to try new foods not normally on your shopping list.

Freeze for later. You can enjoy sweet potatoes and pumpkin next spring by freezing them. Check out tips on how to blanch and freeze your fall favorites. And if you’re craving strawberries now, head to the freezer section. Evidence suggests that the nutrition quality of some frozen foods is actually higher than their fresh counterparts because they’re flash–frozen at their peak.

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