Planning for the season(s)!

I’ve posted a few times about how important it is to plan for your meals. Over the past few years my family – ok – my husband and I (the kids get dragged along for the ride as they cannot yet get themselves to the grocery store!) have become more and more aware of the foods that we are choosing to eat.

As I’ve gotten further into my nutritional studies it would seem that our choices have gotten smaller and smaller. But really – were all the “foods” we were consuming before, and admittedly, sometimes still do, truly “food”. Absolutely not. There have been times that I had to close one of my text books because all the information out there, really can be overwhelming. I think there were even times my children were tempted to hide my books! So how does this affect our food choices especially in relation to the “seasons”?

Where we live in Southern Ontario, depending on the season, can really limit in many ways our access to fresh fruits and vegetables. But, we have advantages that those who have lived in this area for generations before us didn’t necessarily have. If they could survive on what the earth provided, it leads me to question, why can’t my family? I have been greatly inspired by “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. I will touch more on this book and the idea of becoming a “locavore” in some future posts. If you are looking to start somewhere, or gather ideas, this is definitely a great read.

So – “Seasonal Planning” what exactly does that mean? Well, the first step is becoming aware of the what is available (in your geographical) area each season. This is a great web site here to learn about what is seasonally available where you live. For us it means opening the calendar and marking that in June we will be planning on going strawberry picking and prepping to freeze and make jam, enough to hopefully last us until next June, or at least well through the winter. I canned my own salsa last year, so this year I will be planting those ingredients that I will be using lots of in that recipe. Romas, jalapenos, garlic, onion, bell peppers and cilantro. We will be hitting the blueberry patches at the end of July and ensuring we make time for cherry picking in June. I love beets, so I will be planting those several times throughout the summer as to ensure an ongoing supply. I know plucked from my own garden I can feel free to eat them with the skin on and enjoy them in all their sweet goodness. I am also hoping to try garlic this year. One of the things I am most looking forward to very soon is fresh, local asparagus. I can’t wait to cook some on the BBQ or in the oven. I hope to be able to stock up well on this fine vegetable as it’s season really is so short. What it stands for to me though – is the beginning. It is the beginning of the season of fresh fruits and vegetables. A season that can pass all too quickly sometimes. Soon our raspberry canes will be sprouting, and it will be interesting to see how much garden space they will be taking over this year. It’s always interesting to see if any tomato plants grow themselves from last years seeds, left behind in the garden. Each year I learn something new, I look forward to sharing with you what lessons I learn this season.

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