I'm on a food kick, so I've been working on several posts where I'm up on my soap box. Be forewarned.
For the most part G and I try to eat seasonally. Which can be confusing when it seems everything is available, all the time, year round. However, you can clearly tell when things are less than great because it's not the right season.
I mentioned in my applesauce post that we only eat apples this time of year. To help get us through, I am canning the applesauce and apple butter as well as making dried apples. But it's not just apples. This time of year is the only time we do things with pears, pumpkins, and other squash (unless I've pureed and frozen some, then it lasts a bit longer). I love me some brussels sprouts, and so when tonight we saw stalks of them at Trader Joes I bought 2 stalks knowing they'd be gone by the end of next week. (If they make it that long!) I haven't had them since last autumn/winter.
Moving into the colder months we start to buy citrus, which contrary to the bright sunny-ness of it is actually a winter fruit. Hence why children used to get an orange in their stocking. So when the cold weather hits we are finally able to satisfy our craving for juicy oranges and tangy grapefruit. We bought our first bag of grapefruit tonight (which I love because they're small...the size of medium sized oranges).
Spring time means asparagus, peas, radishes and the beginning of berries. Summer means tomatoes, summer squashes (zucchini, yellow squash), peaches, melons and pineapples. I love when each one shows it's face and suddenly the flavors burst forth in my cooking.
We choose to eat seasonally because it's easier to find things locally and the flavors are far superior. But our main reason? It's because by eating seasonally we are constantly pleased with what we're having. We eagerly anticipate each season, we eat our fill and then we bid adieu until the next year. I love asparagus, but I refuse to buy it out of season when it's tough, stringy and less flavorful. I'd rather greet it each year when the first stalks begin to be harvested.
Some items we do eat nearly year round. Bananas are a staple. If I can find good looking tomatoes on the vine at the store, I'll buy those occasionally in the off months. Things like potatoes, onions, green beans and peppers are fairly easy to find year round in good condition (though I freeze a lot of these during their peaks).
So what to do if you suddenly want something in the winter or summer and it's not time? I suggest looking to frozen produce, which is usually picked at the peak, flash frozen, and really good for you. I occasionally want asparagus in pasta in the winter (when we're doing pasta with a ton of veggies), so I go to the frozen section. It absolutely will not taste the same because freezing alters cells, so expect that. But it's occasionally a nice way to get something you're craving.
By eating more seasonally than not, you find that those things aren't so appealing in the off season. I don't crave pumpkins in the spring time, but I'm more than ready for pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie and pumpkin soup come autumn. Your taste buds actually seem to adjust to the seasonality of things, and you appreciate the flavors so much more. I highly encourage everyone to try and eat this way as much as possible. You'll find yourself enjoying your meals so much more.