I started reading one of those Yahoo fitness articles about low-cost foods and tricks to get you some wallet-saving benefits while giving you some good foods to nourish your body now that we’re into fall and winter here in the northern hemisphere. The problem, of course, is that very few of the tips actually mentioned WHY a particular food might be “good” for your body, other than that it had fewer calories than the alternative. Whereas for ME I’d rather hear about the actual nutritional VALUE of these foods. I’m all for saving money but if I’m swapping tasty and nutritious items for processed crap then I don’t see it as an improvement.
The only good advice was a small bit about buying produce and foods that are in season, when they are at their nutritional peak and likely less expensive than other products that might have to be imported. I’m not sure about anyone else but my tendency is to really hunger for and know the summer produce yet be sadly ignorant of what is truly in-season once the leaves start to fall (aside from winter squash and pumpkins that is). Since I’m a big fan of getting in some tasty fresh veggies and fruits and always trying to get the best items, without wasting money on out-of-season produce in that every-tricky crap-shoot “pick something and pray it doesn’t end up rotten or un-ripe” game that I end up going through this time of year, I thought I might share that advice and some other info that I dug up.
Here are some tasty autumn staples that might not break the bank and are in season at the moment:
Seasonal Eating: Beef in the winter and chicken in the spring? Lamb all year? Cheeses and nuts, when are they best? Vegetables and fruits aren’t the only items that you can shop for and eat seasonally. Meats and eggs also have cycles of “in-season”-ness that might be intriguing to read about and consider.
Vegetables: Vitamin-rich vegetables in season right now are broccoli, mustard greens, arugula, bok choi, chard, carrots, onions, parsnips, sweet potatoes, leeks, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, mushrooms, and squashes of all shapes and sizes.
Fruits: Opt for apples, pears, and cranberries for inexpensive fruits packed with nutrients.
Growing your own: “Here, we’ve summarized some basic information on vegetables that are good to grow in the fall and winter.” This site gives a good chart (which I’ve duplicated below) of what you can plant and plan for harvesting in fall and winter as well as tips for figuring out what gardening zone you live in so you can better plan and plant!
|Recommended Fall and Winter Vegetables||*When to Plant (Ask Your Extension Agent for Specific Dates)||Frost Hardy?|
|Arugula||Late Summer||Yes, light frost|
|Beets||Mid Summer||Yes, light frost|
|Broccoli||Mid Summer||Yes, very light frost|
|Brussels Sprouts||Mid Summer||Yes, heavy frost|
|Carrots||Mid to late summer, early fall||Yes, light frost|
|Corn||Late summer, early fall||Yes, light frost|
|Escarole||Late summer||Yes, light frost|
|Fava Beans||Late summer, early fall||Yes, medium to heavy frost|
|Garlic||Early fall||Yes, light to medium frost|
|Kale||Mid summer||Yes, medium to heavy frost|
|Leeks||Spring, Fall||Yes, light frost|
|Lettuce||Late summer||Yes, very light frost|
|Mustard greens||Mid to late summer||Yes, light frost|
|Onions||Late summer||Yes, light to medium frost|
|Radishes||Late summer||Yes, light to medium frost|
|Spinach||Later summer||Yes, light frost|
Does anyone have other resources they use or tips they’ve learned to help folks keep the variety of fresh meats and produce during the coming winter and with the tightening budgets many of us are feeling more and more lately, please share in the comments! I’d love to see how others are keeping great food choices going all year! Is there a particular veggie or meat or cheese or nut that sets your mind to crafting interesting meal combinations at this time of year? Feel free to set everyone’s creative culinary juices flowing.
Oh and for those seeking instant results without all the bother of having to decide what season you’re in and what might be available where you are, here is an interesting site that is supposedly updated weekly, which shows a quick and dirty list of what is “in-season” right now. Here is the list for today, November 3rd:
bell peppers | beet | broccoli | broccolini | brussels sprouts | butternut squash | cauliflower | celery root | chard | collards | fennel | garlic | leeks | parsnip | potatoes (maincrop) | pumpkin | rutabaga | salsify | spinach | sweet potatoes | sunchoke | turnips | wild mushrooms
FRUIT & NUTS
almonds | apples | chestnuts | cranberries | pears | persimmon | pomegranate
duck | lamb | partridge | pheasant | rabbit | venison
FISH & SEAFOOD
clams | mussels | scallops