It’s September! Yes, some are a bit depressed that summer has come to a close, but there are many reasons to be positive.
First, at least in the Northeast, the weather is spectacular. The skis are clear blue, a nice breeze in the air and the ocean warm.
In addition, the harvest is abundant and amount of available produce deep. One of my favorite apps (appropriately called “Harvest”) lists produce in season by month and location, guides you on how to select and store it, and provides pesticide levels so you can decide whether to choose organic. This month there are 28 items listed as “in season,” which translates to flavorful and nutritious deliciousness on your plate. Yum!
For example, there are many types of lettuces, and butter lettuce is one of my favorites. Harvest says:
- This type of lettuce has a slightly sweet, buttery flavor.
- The best lettuce will have fairly large, loose heads with thick leaves and even green color
- Scratch the stalk and smell; a sweet or bitter smell indicates that type of flavor.
- It also suggests not storing it near fruits that release ethylene gas (such as apples, pears or bananas), as this will cause browning.
Let’s use them!
September is the perfect time to explore unique as well as common local goods and expand your horizons. When eating what’s in season and sourced near we live, we support our farmers, respect the environment and have access to food when it’s at its most nutritious.
Once food is picked, it begins to lose its nutrients. Makes sense, as it is no longer nourished from the rich soil in which it grew, right?
Nearby produce gets to you faster, which thereby means no gasses are needed to keep them fresh. Yes, that food shipped from across the world to your market is typically harvested before its ripe, thus treated with special gasses to keep it from ripening too soon and to maintain freshness.
That’s why you can buy an apple in NY in the cold of February. Aha, right?
There’s a more detailed article with resources and links to find a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) near you at Greenopedia.
In the winter we may need to get broccoli from the west coast, but right now you can source it near your house, or buy it frozen.
Yes, you can still get local in the off-season by purchasing frozen goods. They are processed at their peak ripeness when they are most nutrient-packed so take advantage of that. I often use organic frozen blueberries in the winter. Delish!
Canned are less so because of the way they are processed and the high sodium levels. Some helpful guidance can be found in this article by Eating Well.
If you are concerned about price, just prioritize. The Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen” lists are great guides to the most pesticide-laden foods that should always be bought organic.
So next time you hit the market, put on your “eat local and what’s in season” goggles and stock up. You may discover a new love for something sumptuous you never experienced in its purist ripeness before.
Man I can’t wait for apple season next month! Bon Appetite.
Marjorie, Chief MOJO Maker™