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Improve Health and Save Money With Seasonal Produce

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

Are you tired of eating the same old meals every day? Do you want to switch up your diet with some fresh and tasty options? Look no further than seasonal produce, produce that is grown and harvested during their natural growing season. Incorporating fresh fruits and veggies that are in season not only adds variety to your meals but also:

  • Eating seasonally is a great way to support produce growers from your local farms in Connecticut.

  • Local produce is often more affordable, so you get to save money.

  • Seasonal eating helps the environment, lessening the carbon footprint of your food.

  • Eating healthy, fresh seasonal produce improves your overall wellness.

Incorporating seasonal produce into your daily meals, not only ensures that you are getting the freshest, most flavorful, and most nutrient-dense food possible, but it can also be a fun way to mix up your routine and try new things. In this blog, we will explore creative ways to incorporate seasonal produce into your daily meals. Get ready for some delicious inspiration!

Here are a few creative ways to work seasonal produce into your daily diet:

  • Add fresh diced fruit or veggies to your morning oatmeal or yogurt.

  • Make a big salad for lunch or dinner, using whatever fresh leafy greens and other ingredients that are in season.

  • Use seasonal fruits and veggies as side dishes or snacks throughout the day.

  • Incorporate seasonal produce into your favorite recipes, whether it's adding grated zucchini to baked goods or using roasted Brussels sprouts as a pizza topping.

  • Get creative with fruit smoothies or juices, using whatever is ripe and in season.

Feeling inspired? Give some of these ideas a try and see how easy it is to enjoy seasonal produce every day!

Benefits of Eating Seasonal Produce

There are many benefits of seasonal eating including:

  1. Seasonal produce is typically fresher and more flavorful than out-of-season produce. It is also usually less expensive.

  2. Seasonal produce is often more nutritious than out-of-season produce because it has been grown in optimal conditions and picked at its peak of ripeness.

  3. Seasonal eating is better for the environment. When you have veggies that are in season, you are supporting local farms, and your local economy, and reducing the carbon footprint of your food.

  4. Seasonal foods are healthy foods that are often less expensive than foods found in the big chain grocery stores that have been shipped long distances.

  5. Local produce is often fresher and more delicious than store-bought produce.

  6. Seasonal eating encourages a balanced diet, which helps you with weight management and reduces your risk of chronic illness.

  7. Local foods have the best health benefits. When in-season produce is picked at its peak season of ripeness, it is fresher and contains more vitamins, like vitamin C, minerals, and antioxidants than produce that has been picked early and shipped long distances.

So next time you are at the local farmers market or grocery store, consider choosing a variety of in-season locally grown produce. Your wallet, taste buds, and your body will thank you!

Choosing the Best Quality Seasonal Fruits & Veggies

A great way to start eating seasonally is to start buying local food from your local farmers’ market. We partner with local farms in the area to bring you fresh, seasonal produce. This allows us to support our local farmers while giving you access to the highest quality ingredients available. Farmers’ markets offer a wide variety of locally grown seasonal fruits and veggies at very reasonable prices.

Here are some more tips for choosing the best quality seasonal produce.

  1. Join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), such as Mercado Popular, which can help you get a regular supply of fresh, seasonal produce all year.

  2. Consider the seasonality of your produce. In general, fruits and vegetables that are in season will be of better quality (and lower price) than those that are out of season. To find out what's in season in your area, check out this handy seasonal food guide.

  3. Take a close look at your fruits and vegetables before you buy them. Look for ones that are brightly colored and free of blemishes or bruises. These are typically the freshest and best-tasting fruits and veggies available.

  4. Planning meals around seasonal, local foods is a great way to ensure that you are getting the most nutrient-dense and freshest fruits and veggies available.

  5. You may even consider growing your own food. We offer classes and workshops for Hartford residents to learn how to grow fruits and vegetables in the city. Our experts will teach you about soil preparation, planting techniques, and how to care for your plants throughout the season.

How to Store & Prepare Seasonal Produce for Maximum Nutrition

You need to make sure you are using proper storage and preparation of seasonal foods to preserve all the important nutrients. You can then use your freshest foods any time of the year knowing the nutritional value is preserved.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your seasonal produce:

  • Most seasonal produce can be stored in a cool, dry place, but for the best sustainability, to extend the shelf life to keep the freshest produce, and help preserve its nutritional value you need to consider temperature and humidity.

  • Before eating or cooking your seasonal produce, wash it thoroughly with water to remove any dirt or bacteria.

  • Chop or slice produce into bite-sized pieces before storing. This will make it easier to eat and cook with later.

Don't forget to enjoy your seasonal produce! Incorporate it into your daily meals and snacks for a boost of flavor and nutrition.

Creative Ways to Add More Variety and Flavor to Your Meals with Seasonal Produce

There are many creative ways to incorporate seasonal produce into your daily meals. Create a colorful salad using various in-season fruits and vegetables. Make a fruit or veggie smoothie using in-season produce. Seasonal produce can also be incorporated into main dishes, such as grilled chicken with a side of in-season veggies.

There are endless possibilities for incorporating seasonal produce into daily meals. The key is to get creative and experiment with different flavor combinations. Try some of these healthy meal ideas:

Breakfast Ideas

  • Roasted acorn squash with eggs: This dish is hearty and filling, and the roasted squash adds a subtle sweetness to the dish.

  • Apple crisp oatmeal: Start your day with a warm and comforting bowl of oats, topped with fresh apples and a streusel topping.

  • Pumpkin spice muffins: Muffins are perfect for a quick and easy breakfast on the go. They are also great for freezing and reheating later in the week.

  • Sweet potato hash with eggs: This dish is packed with flavor and nutrients, and is sure to keep you satisfied all morning.

  • Add seasonal fruits and vegetables to your morning oatmeal or smoothie.

Lunch Ideas

  • Pack a lunchtime salad with an assortment of colorful fruits, leafy greens, and veggies.

  • Make a veggie-packed stir-fry.

  • Use seasonal produce as toppings for your favorite dishes, like grilled chicken or fish.

Dinner Ideas

  • Seasonal salads: A salad is a great way to incorporate seasonal fruits or veggies into your dinner. Get creative with your ingredients and try to use as many different colors and textures as possible.

  • Seasonal soup: Soup is another great way to use seasonal produce. You can make a simple soup by simmering chopped root vegetables in broth, or get more creative with a flavorsome minestrone or hearty chili.

  • Seasonal stir-fry: A stir-fry is a quick and easy way to cook up lots of veggies. Just add whatever seasonal produce you have on hand to a pan with some olive oil and your favorite stir-fry sauce.

  • Seasonal pasta dish: Pasta is always a popular option for dinner, and it's easy to incorporate seasonal produce into your pasta dishes. Add some freshly chopped veggies or fruit to your pasta sauce.

Snack Ideas

  • Fruit Kabobs: Alternate chunks of fresh fruit on a skewer for a fun and healthy snack. Try using in-season fruits like strawberries, watermelon, or mango.

  • Veggie Crudités: Cut up some of your favorite veggies into bite-sized pieces and serve with your favorite dip. In-season veggies that work well for this include carrots, celery, and cucumber.

  • Fruit Salsa: Dice up some in-season fruit and mix with diced onion, diced jalapeño, fresh lime juice, and chopped cilantro. Serve with tortilla chips for a delicious and nutritious snack!

These are just a few ideas – get creative and have fun experimenting with different combinations of in-season produce!

Learn About Food

Incorporating seasonal produce into your meals can be a fun, creative, and healthy way to liven up mealtime. By taking advantage of produce that is in season, you can enjoy more affordable nutritious fresh fruits and veggies while also helping the environment. As you can see, there are many delicious options for incorporating seasonal produce into your daily meals.

At Mercado Popular, we stock seasonal produce because it’s higher in nutrients and lower in cost. That’s why the offerings at our store are always changing. We believe in educating our customers about food and nutrition. We offer classes on cooking techniques, healthy eating habits, and nutrition information so you can make informed choices when shopping for groceries.

For more healthy food resources download the guide to grow and make your own salsa.

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