Nowadays, it is impossible for many people to talk about inspired food preparation without mentioning about cooking with seasonal ingredients; what about you? It is not a hard task for you to choose the right seasonal ingredient for a healthy recipe, but you require a little planning and know-how. Here are four simple guidelines that can help you to demystify great seasonal cooking.
Start by investigating your local market
Choosing ingredients that farmers grow in your region will eliminate the guesswork of what is in the season. You do not have to traverse seasonality when you focus on locally grown food. Shop at farmer’s markets, green markets, or direct from farmers.
Preserve whenever you can
You can keep ingredients better as well as maintain their flavor by preserving them at the height of ripeness. If peas are your favorite, and you cannot eat another green bean, this is the right time for canning, freezing and pickling them. For tomatoes, you can peel, blanch, or cane them whole or else, simmer them in sauce before canning.
Keep a stock of all season staples
Many places do not have a sunny and warm climate with a growing season throughout the year. If you live in such place (like the UK for most fruits and vegetables), you either have to pay higher prices for imported ingredients that often don’t appear in great condition after the long trip to the supermarket, or alternatively live without your favourite locally grown foods for some part of the year. That is unless you have a well-stocked pantry that can power you throughout the early spring and winter months.
Boost up your preserved ingredients
You might need to add interesting additions and new flavours to your pickled and canned ingredients to make them more exciting. You can do this by refreshing them up with truly awesome add-ins. Making a meal out of canned tomatoes may not even cross your mind, but when it comes to a robust tomato sauce, it is a different story. You can bring out the acidic sweetness of tomatoes by roasting them first with garlic and butter.
Find great recipes
There are numerous websites on the internet dedicated to recipes using seasonal fruit and vegetables. Finding the right recipes can make seasonal cooking a joy, and make you completely forget about processed and pre-packaged foods.
Many celebrity chefs also feature seasonal recipes on their websites. Jamie Oliver recipes include lots of fresh produce so are ideal for basing your seasonal menu around – if you’re feeling adventurous, why not include some of the under used British produce that he promotes on Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast such as charcuterie and langoustines?