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Monday, September 24, 2012

Eat Seasonal, by guest blogger Lauren LaLonde

Even though modern technology makes it easy for us to purchase almost any kind of produce at any time of year, shopping for seasonal fruits and veggies has many advantages: namely, taste! You’ll get the most vibrant flavors from a tomato or watermelon in the summer, or an apple or squash in the fall. And because in-season produce is more likely to come from local farms and orchards, it will spend less time in transit, meaning it will be fresher, more nutritious, and cheaper.

Paying attention to what’s in season is also a great way to keep variety in your diet and even to try new foods, since you know you’ll be eating them at their peak. Look for produce sales at your local grocery store and challenge yourself to try one different fruit or vegetable a week.

Also, bear in mind that some types of produce contain more pesticides than others. The Environmental Working Group has released a list for 2012 of the “dirty dozen” foods that contain the most pesticide residues and should be bought organically. They have also compiled a list of the “clean 15,” or the fruits and vegetables lowest in pesticide.

Produce availability does vary slightly by region, but for the most part, you can count on the following foods to be best during the autumn months:

  • acorn squash
  • arugula
  • belgian endive
  • broccoli
  • brussels sprouts
  • butter (bibb) lettuce
  • buttercup squash
  • butternut squash
  • cauliflower
  • daikon radish
  • endive
  • hot peppers
  • jerusalem artichoke
  • jicama
  • kale
  • kohlrabi
  • mushrooms
  • pumpkin
  • radicchio
  • sweet potatoes
  • swiss chard
  • winter squash
  • asian pears
  • cape gooseberries
  • cranberries
  • grapes
  • huckleberries
  • kumquats
  • passion fruit
  • pears
  • pomegranate
  • quince
In addition, a handful of foods are generally of good quality year-round:

  • beet greens
  • bell peppers
  • bok choy
  • broccolini
  • cabbage
  • carrots
  • celery
  • celery root
  • leeks
  • lettuce
  • mushrooms
  • onions
  • parsnips
  • shallots
  • turnips
  • avocados
  • bananas
  • lemons
  • papayas

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