It’s no secret that fruits and vegetables are great for us. They’re versatile, nutritious and can be delicious.
But when it comes to fresh produce we want to know we’re getting the best out of the product, both nutritionally and financially.
To get the most from your fruits and vegetables it’s important to buy what’s in season where possible.
Purchasing seasonal fruit and vegetables means you’re consuming these foods at their freshest, which also means they’re at their nutritional best.
Once picked the nutrient content of fruits and vegetables starts to deteriorate so it’s important to consume these foods as close as possible to the time of harvest.
Buying seasonally is not only beneficial for your health. Seasonal produce is also better value, while having less impact on the environment.
By purchasing fresh local produce you reduce the need for transport and refrigeration, which means less greenhouse gas emissions and a happier environment.
A great way to buy local, seasonal produce is to head to a farmers market, where you can meet the local grower and stock up on a variety of produce.
Each colour corresponds to a different nutrient, so aim to get your basket looking like a rainbow and you’ll know you’re getting everything your body needs.
Of course to shop seasonally you need to know what’s in season. A great resource is the website Seasonal Food Guide Australia (www.seasonalfoodguide.com) where you can select your region and find out when fruits and vegetables are in season.
For example, during spring in New South Wales there is a huge selection of fresh produce, including cherries, mandarins, nectarines, peaches, oranges, plums, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, lettuce, parsley, celery, spinach, tomatoes and mushrooms.
While it’s not possible in every home, growing fruits and vegetables where you can, even if it’s just a small windowsill herb garden, is another great option to ensure your food is as fresh as possible.