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15 September 2016

Harvest Guide: Seasonal Eating in South Africa

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The four seasons of the year form a natural backdrop for eating patterns. Cooking seasonally means including foods in your diet that are grown at the same time of the year you eat them – being naturally ripened by the weather conditions they are most suited to. For example, this means enjoying sweet red cherries in summer, and rich nutty squash in winter. Not only does this allow you to enjoy foods at the peak of their flavour, but also enhances sustainability and benefits your budget.

Use our handy guide to seasonal produce in South Africa to know when the freshest fruit and vegetables are available!

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4 Benefits of Eating What’s in Season

  • In-season produce is fresher and tastes better, as it has been naturally ripened and harvested at the right time. Avoiding long periods of chilling or of artificial ripening in hot houses results in more flavour and nutrition.
  • When farmers have an abundant harvest due to the crop being in season, the cost of produce goes down. Locally sourced, in-season produce reduces production costs that are then passed onto the consumer. This also helps to support local farmers and businesses in your community.
  • By cutting the demand for out-of-season produce, this 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 for a more well-rounded and balanced diet. It supports your body’s natural nutritional needs for each season, e.g. winter vegetables for healthy soups, and sweet fruits in summer to boost energy and provide carotenoids to protect against sun damage.

SPRING

(September, October, November)

Fruit:
Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, Cape gooseberries, cherries, coconuts, dates, grapefruit, guavas, lemons, limes, naartjies, nectarines, oranges, pawpaw or papaya, pears, pineapples, plums, strawberries, sweet melon, watermelon.

Vegetables:
Artichokes, asparagus, aubergines (eggplant), baby marrows, beans, beetroot, brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, courgettes (zucchini), cucumber, kale spinach, leeks, lettuce, parsnips, potato, pumpkin, radishes, red onions, rhubarb, turnips, watercress.

Recipe: Spring Vegetable Chowder with Sour Cream & Fennel
A fresh combination of seasonal spring vegetables cooked in stock with potatoes and creamed corn, finished with a spoon of crème fraiche and parsley.

spring-vegetable-chowder-with-sour-cream-fennel


SUMMER

(December, January, February)

Fruit:
Apricots, apples, bananas, blackberries, cherries, figs, grapes, guavas, kiwi fruit, lemons, litchis, mangoes, melon, mulberries, nectarines, pawpaws or papayas, peaches, pineapples, plums, pomegranates, prickly pears, prunes, raspberries, strawberries, sweet melon, watermelon.

Vegetables:
Artichokes, asparagus, aubergines (eggplant), baby marrows, beetroot, brinjals, cabbage, carrots, celery, chives, corn, green beans, mange tout, patty pans, pumpkin, radishes, red onions, spinach, sweet potato.

Recipe: Pumpkin and Baked Ricotta Quinoa Salad
This quinoa-based pumpkin salad is nourishing, delicious and filling. A light and healthy option to bring along to your next summer barbeque!

Pumpkin and baked ricotta quinoa salad


AUTUMN

(March, April, May)

Fruit:
Apples, avocados, figs, granadillas, grapefruit, grapes, lemons, naartjies, oranges, pawpaws or papayas, pear, pineapples, plums, pomegranates, quinces, sweet melon, watermelon.

Vegetables:
Artichokes, aubergines (eggplant), baby marrows, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, butter beans, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chives, courgettes (zucchini), cucumber, mushrooms, onion, parsley, peas, parsnips, potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, sweet peppers, squash, turnips.

Recipe: Porcini Lasagne with Fresh Spinach
A deliciously rich and comforting meal, using autumnal mushrooms cooked in a garlic cream sauce with pasta and spinach, finished with a parmesan crust.

autumn-porcini-lasagna


WINTER

(June, July, August)

Fruit:
Apples, avocados, dates, grapefruit, kumquats, lemons, limes, melon, naartjies, oranges, pawpaws or papayas, pears, pineapples, tomatoes.

Vegetables:
Asparagus, artichokes, beetroot, broad beans, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celreiac, celery, cucumber, Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, peas, peppers, potatoes, pumpkin, radishes, spinach, spring onion, squash, sweet potatoes, turnips, waterblommetjies.

Recipe: Coq Au Vin Blanc
This rustic French classic combines chicken pieces, bacon, pearl onions, garlic, cream, button mushrooms and white wine and for a slow-cooked delight.

winter-coq-au-vin


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