Summer in South Africa is long and hot, and the 2017/2018 Summer has been especially hot. The last thing any of us wants is to spend hours slaving in front of a hot stove. Luckily for us, hot Summer months bring with them a bounty of seasonal juicy sweet fruit and succulent vegetables. It’s also a great time for experimenting with food and creating new flavour profiles.
Summer comes with juicy oranges, naartjies and nectarines, sweet melons, plums and pawpaws. On the veggies front there’s artichokes, asparagus, eggplant, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, corn, courgettes, cucumber, kale, leeks, parsnips, radishes, turnips, and watercress. Most of these veggies will be available from November up until February.
From December, January and February – we are greeted with apricots, blackberries, cherries, figs, grapes, guavas, kiwi fruit, litchis, mangoes, melon, mulberries, peaches, pineapples, pomegranates, raspberries, strawberries and watermelon.
So, go ahead, make a raw kale and Brussels sprouts salad or a beetroot humus for a beautiful twist on humus. How about a raw shaved zucchini, mint and feta salad? Or a tomato and grilled corn salad? Try pairing fruit and veggies and create delicious colourful salads. Say goodbye to those sugar-laden cool drinks and make your own flavoured water with fresh fruit. Take out that braai and grill some eggplant and courgettes. How about grilled peaches and watermelon? The possibilities are endless.
I’m sure you’re thinking: “I can get some of those fruit and veggies throughout the year at my green grocer,”… and I agree. But the question is: are they grown and harvested at the time of the year when you buy them?
One benefit of eating seasonally is that you’ll save money on food. When you buy what’s in season, you buy food that’s at the peak of its supply, and costs less to farmers and distribution companies to harvest and get to your grocery store.
It may seem like common sense, but it’s one of those things many of us ignore when we’re shopping. It’s definitely something to consider the next time you want to buy those beautiful, succulent looking peaches in July.
Local and seasonal is cheaper and way better tasting. Go on, play with your food!