Around September 1st, as soon as local “you-pick” orchards open, I pack a picnic basket full of yummy gluten free foods and travel to my family’s favorite apple orchard for a full day of apple picking.
Coming home with several early-season apple varieties, the first thing we do is to make a double batch of applesauce.
That’s a staple recipe in my home each year when fall rolls around, and I want you to have it, too, because apple season is right around the corner. You can get the recipe HERE!
We enjoy some of the applesauce right away and freeze some for winter days when the flavors of those early season apples are no more.
When early season apples are no more??
That’s right… Although most of us grab our apples from the produce section of our local supermarket, picking up our favorite varieties year-round, not all those apples are truly in season.
In fact, some apples are stored for up to 12 months under controlled-atmosphere conditions. Twelve months!
As you may have guessed, eating fruits and veggies that aren’t in season can mean we aren’t getting the full nutritional benefit from those foods. Here’s what research has to say…
Why it’s Best to Consume Fruits and Vegetables When They are In-Season
- Vitamin C rapidly degrades post-harvest in fruits and vegetables, and continues during transit and storage. This is confirmed by several reputable research organizations such as The Center for Excellence in Fruit and Vegetable Quality (an organization developed by over 30 scientists from the University of California Davis) and the British Nutrition Federation.
- Other nutrients, like B vitamins, degrade during transit and storage. This varies depending on the specific fruit or vegetable.
- Fruits and vegetables picked in season then frozen are more nutritious than those same fruits and vegetable varieties eaten fresh when not in season. Research from the Austrian Consumers Association confirms there really is a time when frozen veggies are better for us than fresh.
- In some cases, full nutrient value is not achieved in out-of-season produce because it is often picked immature to prevent spoilage during (often lengthy) transport.
- There is some evidence that rotating foods we eat (i.e., a Rotation Diet) can help prevent or modulate food allergies and intolerances.
- In-season produce is much more affordable than out-of-season produce, so not only is it best for your body, it’s best for your budget.
- Eating seasonally helps keep our diet exciting and healthy with a variety of flavors and nutrients to keep us satisfied while making it easy to meet our nutritional needs.
So there you have it, plenty of reasons to confirm that dining by nature’s schedule is best for our optimal health.