A Guide to Eating Seasonally in Spring
Hello Calico Babes! I’m continuing our series and sharing a guide to eating seasonally in SPRING! (Check out our first eating seasonally in winter guide here) Wooohooo! Spring is when fresh and light veggies come back into season. After a long winter of hearty meals and hibernation, come spring we’re ready for something lighter- whether that be our bed linens, our clothing, or our food. Spring is all about the liver, skin, and detoxification. Foods that are abundant in spring are refreshing, regenerating, and detoxifying. I don’t know about you, but winters in Ohio are hard and in-season produce is scarce. Winter is when I tend to indulge more on processed foods and treats because let’s be real, potatoes and onions can only go so far. A little detoxification and fresher foods are just what I need after a winter of too many treats. Can anyone else relate?
As a society, we no longer eat seasonally. We have access to strawberries all year round. We can go to the grocery store and get corn on the cob in the middle of January. We truly are living in luxury, but like most things, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily what’s best for us or the planet. In a way, I’m grateful for our modern advances which have allowed me to taste avocados and bananas and other amazing produce that I otherwise would never have the opportunity to try living in Ohio, as well as the resources to eat a plant based diet without harming animals. But I’m also saddened by our complete disconnect from nature and where our food comes from.
I believe that eating seasonally is something that so desperately needs to be brought back into the rhythm of our lives.
Our disconnect from the food system is leading to a lack of nutrition and a reliance on convenience. It’s time to get back to the roots of local and sustainable eating, connecting with our food and its sources. I have found eating seasonally to be the best way to do this. And it’s not as hard or expensive as it sounds. It’s actually easy, healthier, cheaper, and more sustainable. Let’s dive in and see what it means to eat seasonally in the season of spring.
WHAT DOES EATING SEASONALLY MEAN?
Just because something is available in the grocery store doesn’t mean it’s in season.
God created certain fruits and vegetables to naturally flourish at a certain time of the year. Ecclesiastes 3:1 states, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Eating seasonally means fully embracing the current season and the earth’s offerings during that time. Simply put, eating seasonally means eating the fruits and vegetables that naturally grow in abundance and organically during specific times of the year.
We aren’t used to eating this way. Like I said above, we have access to anything we want at any time of the year. I find this to fall in the same category of consumerism as purchasing a tee shirt from an unethical big name brand—it should be avoided.
Once you begin eating seasonally, you will feel more in tune with your body and the nutrients that it needs. You will be able to feel your body’s natural cravings transition with each season, which will in turn bring health and alignment.
WHY IS EATING SEASONALLY IMPORTANT?
IT ALIGNS OUR BODY WITH NATURE
Eating food that is not in season can go as far as throwing your mind and body out of alignment. You know that antsy, frantic, agonizing feeling of wishing for warmer weather when it’s cold? Or wishing for colder weather when it’s hot? By fully syncing not only our day-to-day habits with the current season, but also our eating habits, we will find it easier to enjoy the current season, no matter the weather or hardships.
Aligning our eating habits with this truth will lead to better nutrition, increased energy, mindfulness, and peace.
Produce that is out-of-season is firstly, forced to grow when it’s not its natural time to grow. This means more chemicals are used, as well as more energy and resources. Secondly, the out-of-season produce is shipped very far distances to reach our grocery store shelves. For example, tomatoes can’t grow in Northern America in the winter or early spring, so in order to get them to our grocery stores we have to source them from Chile or Mexico. That’s a far trip that uses a lot of resources and creates lots of carbon emission.
Like we mentioned above, because out-of-season produce is shipped from far away, the produce has to be prematurely picked before it’s ripe. Studies show that prematurely picked produce lacks nutrients compared to in-season produce that is grown naturally and allowed to ripen on the plant. Not only is in-season produce healthier but it tastes better too. If you’ve ever tasted a winter berry or tomato, you know what I mean. It only makes sense that God’s way of doing things results in a healthier, tastier, more sustaining outcome.
Foods that are in-season contain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that your body specifically needs for that current season. For example, after winter, our bodies are lacking Vitamin D due to the increased time spent indoors and gloomy weather. Mushrooms, which are in season in the spring, are an excellent source of Vitamin D!
Winter can be hard on our skin, and I don’t know about you but I always head into spring a little less hydrated and glowing in the skin department as I’d like to be. Fortunately, in the spring, fresh leafy greens like arugula, lettuce, dandelion greens, and spinach are in season, all which contain vitamins and minerals that support skin health, cell regeneration, and hydration. Eat your greens for that healthy glow!
Other spring veggies like radishes, asparagus, greens, herbs, lemon, etc are great for detoxifying and cleansing the liver, as I mentioned, is necessary after all those holiday treats!
The list goes on.
Produce that is in season is in abundance and local, therefore prices are often cheaper. Price is a good indicator of whether or not something is in season when you’re at the grocery store. For example, you may notice that when it’s strawberry season in late spring/early summer, the strawberries will most likely be sourced from somewhere nearby, therefore having to travel less of a distance. This makes them cheaper. It’s almost May and here in Ohio, the strawberries that are showing up in our grocery stores are now from California and Florida, rather than Mexico and Chile, and they are also on sale or for a good price. That’s a key indicator of strawberry season. But when you see a tiny pack of strawberries for $6 in the middle of January, that’s because they are not in season, therefore it took a lot of energy and resources to grow them and to ship them, which is why they’re so expensive.
Produce that’s not in season is not in abundance because it’s not their natural growing season and environment, which all leads to increased price. Not only will sticking to seasonal foods help your health, but it will save you money as well!
HOW DO I EAT SEASONALLY IN SPRING?
In most parts of the world that experience all 4 seasons, spring is still awhiles away from summer abundance. Although a few fresh veggies are coming into season, we still have to be mindful of what isn’t yet. Things like tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, and peppers are not quite in season and are most likely still being shipped from Mexico to the United States at this time. Although fresh is usually always best, this only goes for when the produce is in season. A good rule of thumb is if it’s not showing up at your local farmers market yet, then it’s not in season.
Foods like berries, corn and tomatoes should not be the base of your meals in spring like they may be in the summer. Instead, potatoes, root veggies (carrots, beets, radishes, turnips, etc), cabbages, broccoli, and cauliflower should be the base of your spring meals. If produce like tomatoes or corn is needed for a recipe, in the spring it’s best to purchase them frozen, canned, or preserved. Frozen and canned veggies from trustworthy brands are usually picked and preserved at the peak of their season and ripeness, so they are packed with their natural nutrients, unlike out-of-season fresh produce that we mentioned above, which is lacking. Even better yet, you can freeze, can, and preserve fresh produce from your garden or local farmers markets in the summer, to use in these months.
WHAT’S IN SEASON IN SPRING?
I created a free printable grocery list for you as well as a video showing what’s in season in the spring along with a few spring meal ideas.
FREE SPRING GROCERY LIST PRINTABLE
I created a free guide/grocery list printable to help you remember what’s in season in spring and what to stock your fridge and pantry with. Just enter your email in the box below and it will be sent right to your inbox. You can print it out and take it grocery shopping with you or hang it on your fridge as a reminder!
SPRING RECIPE IDEAS
Do you have to be absolutely perfect with this? Of course not! If you are new at this, making the switch to eating seasonally doesn’t mean you need to restrict or eliminating anything. When you look at it like that, it will only set you back. Instead, replace and “crowd out” out-of-season foods with in-season foods. The more you do so, the more you’ll get the hang of it. Start by focusing on what’s in season in spring, purchase those things, base your meals around them, and then fill in the gaps from there. You’re doing great!