Thursday, October 12, 2017

Colors of the Seasonal Foods

In recent years, I've become very aware of how the food in my grocery basket changes as the months go by.  In zones 6 or below, the seasonal effect is most pronounced.

In the deep winter, we have foods that keep well, like root vegetables that are mostly the colors of white, orange, and brown.  We also have cabbage, cauliflower, and some broccoli.  They can last in our zone until a hard freeze, and in a root cellar into the late winter months.  Our mom was infamous for her "white meals" in which she would serve pan-fried white fish, boiled white potatoes, and cauliflower.  We teased her mercilessly, and I'm not sure she ever saw an issue.These foods are dense with nutrients.  Most roots are chock full of energy producing carbs to get us through the winter.
Winter foods don't often inspire me to grab the camera, so this apple crisp will have to do.

In spring and early summer, the vivid greens of spring peas, leaf lettuces, asparagus, and spring onions, settle in next to the pale little new potatoes, gleaming radishes, and bright red strawberries.

They combine to give us a spritely tonic to wake up our bodily systems.

Summer arrives, and we've got a riot of color.
All sorts of fruits - mostly in reds and purples, deep leafy greens, carrots in many hues, yellow and purple onions, beans from purple to deep green, and the green and yellow summer squash. And the tomatoes!

Oh those salad days... All the colors of the rainbow, and we come to take them for granted. 

Now we are entering fall.

I look at my table after unloading the groceries.  There are sweet potatoes, red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, persimmons, carrots, tomatoes, ginger, turmeric, and winter squash.  Apples are scrumptious right now, and various grapes are available.  Oranges are starting to arrive from the south.  Grains, nuts, and beans are dried and ready for the pantry. Most everything looks like fall!  The colors are deep, jewel tones that signal the deep nutrition they contain.
These orange/yellow/red foods offer us flavinoids, lycopene, potassium, vitamin C and beta-carotene, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, copper, and tons of fiber.  They are particularly good for eye health (here come the dark months) and in supporting the immune system.  They help maintain healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar. 
All in all, a ton of health benefits to guide us into the sluggish, dark, and starch heavy months of winter.

We look forward to the foods of each season.  Right about when we no longer enjoy them quite so much, along comes another season full of deliciousness, and we welcome the delicacies of that time.

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