Another aspect of economy in the kitchen is buying and eating seasonally. If you grow your own, that’s easy enough to do. But if you don’t, how can you tell if something is ‘in season’? There are a couple of simple clues to seasonality:
1) In season, produce comes from closer to home. Check out the tags and labels where you buy fresh fruit and veg. If it’s not clear to see, ASK the vendor where the food comes from. Most vendors can at least give you a country of origin. Some can narrow it down more, to a region or state, or even, if you’re lucky, a named farmer! In general, the more a vendor can narrow down the source to a place near you, the more likely the produce is in season in your part of the world.
2) Produce that’s in season is cheaper than when it’s out of season. More of it is available than at other times of the year and often in more variety. (Is there just one kind of tomato on display, or three or more?) There is more competition between suppliers, vendors don’t have to look as far afield, and don’t have to tack on as much to the price for shipping. This is true even for exotic items that can’t grow near where you live. You may have to watch the prices of a particular ‘exotic’ fruit or vegetable for a year or two before you are confident about its season, but you will know immediately when prices have fallen into your budget range. Go for it then!
It’s late winter here in Britain right now, so cabbages and their relatives as well as leeks are in season, and root vegetables like parsnips are cheap and plentiful in the shops, along with stored potatoes and apples. I’ve got plenty of recipes to share to give variety to the same old things at the end of the season.
What’s in season where you are? Don’t get stuck in a rut with it. Leave a comment; I might have a creative idea for you!