Tuesday, June 8, 2010

'Tis the Season

We live in an age of availability. If you need fresh berries for a salad in January, you can have them. Squash in June? Done. Our produce aisles are lined with pristine varieties of fruits and veggies. Thanks to genetic alterations, irradiation, and chemical ripening we can have whatever we want; but have you ever been disappointed with what you brought home? "It looks so good at the store," mom would apologize as dad made a face at the table. (Our seasoned lawyer in the house sometime reverts to four-year-old tendencies when faced with unpalatable food.)

One can't depend on our nonorganic produce tasting as good as it looks; however, I've found that organic produce is a bit more honest. For the most part, what you see is what you get; which, of course, means it spoils faster, but at what cost wholesome produce?

After watching Food, Inc. I was inspired to buy organic. I learned that each time we choose organic and spend the extra cents to do so, we place our vote. We vote for sustainable, natural fuel for our bodies and the assurance that we know what is in our food.

So, I placed a vote. I bought organic bananas over our usual nonorganic a couple weeks back. At the store, a small selection slighly smaller organic bananas showed some small indications of mottled shades of brown, green, and yellow looked a little sad laid next to the remaining yards of slanted counter given to the perfect nonorganic bananas. I adopted the organic ones anyway. I was surprised when, three days after buying the organic bananas, they were already showing significant browning. Our nonorganic bananas last a week before even starting to brown. I threw the brown organic bananas into the blender for smoothies soon after. But think about it, what is being done to the nonorganic bananas to make them perpetually ripe? I sacrificed shelflife, but I think it's worth it to avoid whatever they're doing to regular bananas.

Though justified in principle, I missed my nonorganic produce. Instead of buying all my produce organic, I did one organic item per week so I could learn and adjust to their shelflife. My organic arugula wilted at an alarming rate (three days vs. the usual week/week and a half), the broccoli got gold at the tips too quickly, and my zucchini got a tiny bit softer than I'd like it. It's frustrating to buy produce that spoils more quickly for more money; it's like losing twice. It wasn't until this weekend that I realized that there was another way to buy organic and ensure better quality produce. Buy in season! [insert "duh" here]

My limited understanding of agriculture only registered berries and watermelon as in season, but the spread at the market told me otherwise. I asked around that day to learn more then I found this fabulous Web site: EatSeasonably.com! All you have to do is go to the calendar and click on the month and it will tell you the very best June has to offer and the other foods that are at their prime too. I learned that June is good fore more than strawberries:
Season's best—peas, broad beans (like kidney beans), and strawberries
Other in season produce—asparagus, zucchini, rhubarb, curly lettuce, cucumber, spinach, and carrots

Also, you can print this handy dandy page and post it in your kitchen so you'll always know what to pick up at the store when (it's designed nicely too).
Finally, to end this very long post, I'll share one of my very best and most favorited meals I make in the summertime. It's from RealSimple (bless 'em, I live and die for that mag). Enjoy and happy summer!
Turkey Burgers With Grated Zucchini and Carrot | Real Simple Recipes

1 comment:

Alison Nicole said...

I love those burgers!! I am going to make them this week. Yummy.