Friday, March 18, 2011

How to Cook Seasonally

I’ve been cooking seasonally for a few years now. I’ll admit, it’s not so easy, especially in the dead of winter when I’m craving a juicy, ripe tomato or some bright red, sugar sweet raspberries. With the exception of March and April, seasonal cooking isn’t so hard. And it saves me a lot of money because the produce that is usually on sale is the produce that is in season locally and doesn’t need to be shipped from halfway across the country (or world!).

I’ve searched high and low for the best seasonal produce guide and finally I’ve found one. Actually, I found several. This one is an alphabetical list of produce with their typical harvest season listed. It’s great if you want just a general overview and if you don’t mind getting produce from Florida or California. If your pickier (like me!) and would rather shop even more locally, here is a website that has a list of seasonal produce for every state!

Of course, it’s not always the easiest to get your produce in-state sometimes. I usually go with California or Canada produce over anything else, but someone on the east coast might rather go for Florida. Any way you pick it is fine; you are the one in charge of cooking, so you decide what’s ok.

When I first started cooking seasonally, I had no idea where to get any recipes. I tried to figure out a way to sort all my recipes by month, then by the main ingredients, then by general season and it turned out to be way too much work. It was fun, but now it’s grown into too big of a monster. Instead, I’ve searched for recipe collections focusing on a single ingredient. Martha Stewart’s website has the best that I’ve found. The meals look amazing and the produce list is long-ish. It’s a great starting block for those interesting in seasonal cooking.

If you would like to search for other recipes, put the ingredient in the search along with “recipes.” Most of the time, recipes with that ingredient as the major ingredient will pop up. 

And of course, if you really get into it, you can always make up your own recipes. But beware, sometimes they will be a hit, but most of the time they will just be ok and will need tweaking. I sometimes cook my own recipes 3 or 4 times before I consider them perfected.

I think everyone would benefit from cooking seasonally, health and budget-wise. It’s not the easiest thing to do, but in the long run, it’s definitely worth it.

Have a great day!


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