I’m going to let you in on a nutrition “do”… when it comes to produce, quality most certainly matters! So what’s the “do”? Quite simply, seek education of the options, weigh them, then make the commitment to select the best options.
There is a plethora of things that can affect nutrient composition and density ranging from the mineral composition of the substrate it was grown in, the time it was picked as compared to the degree of ripeness, to how long it transported before getting to your plate. These variables matter.
If you are dependent on super markets or corner stores to provide your produce, then you might find it challenging to pick the best options, particularly over cooler winter months. Therefore, it’s good to have an idea of what is in season. It will likely cost less and may be available through local sources which could be indicative that it was picked riper and shipped much less in distance.
According to Fruits & Veggies More Matters, winter is a great time for options such as certain cruciferous options such as Brussels sprouts, Collard greens, and Kale. It can also be prime time for Sweet potatoes, Squash, Turnips, Dates, and Pomegranates (n.d.). No wonder these are staple to holiday meals!
The Fresh Everyday Produce website also highlights Oranges, Grapefruit, and Cranberries (2012). Finally, one other special mention is Greatist blog post “The Best Winter Fruits and Vegetables to Eat This Winter” for highlighting by cool or warm climates (Breene, 2013).
You may also consider what you can grow on your own. An article on Off The Grid News highlighted different ways to grow Broccoli, Cabbage, and Cauliflower all year long without a garden (Cash, n.d.).
Modern technology is also on our side. With the explosion of aeroponic and aquaponic methods paired with the local food movement, at home options are popping up every where and growers are investing in the systems to “up” the quality of what is available in grocery settings as well.
Personally, I’m partial to the Tower Garden. Have you seen these things? Available for outdoor or indoor use, the aeroponic system grows fresh produce faster, uses less water, and requires less space as compared to traditional farming methods. Also, when given the right low-maintenance care, it can produce much more abundance for the dollars you put in as opposed to purchasing in stores. Add one to your living environment and you might just make friends with those neighbors!!!
Nourishment through adequate nutrition from whole food sources is imperative for all seasons and it’s easy to get off track in winter. Hopefully you can now say you know more about the what, where, and how to stay on track in terms of fresh produce.
Breene, S. (2013, Dec 9). The Best Fruits and Vegetables to Eat This Winter. Retrieved from Greatist: http://greatist.com/health/seasonal-winter-produce-guide.
Cash, P. (n.d.). 3 Vegetables You Can Grow All Winter … Even Without A Garden. Retrieved from Off the Grid News: http://www.offthegridnews.com/survival-gardening-2/3-vegetables-you-can-grow-all-winter-even-without-a-garden/.
Fresh Everyday: What’s in Season. (2012). Retrieved from Fresh Everyday Produce: http://fresheverydayproduce.com/in-season/.
What Fruits and Vegetables Are In Season During Winter? (n.d.). Retrieved from Fruits & Veggies More Matters: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/whats-in-season-winter.