Photo by Jonathan Talbot
My last post here at the Booth was my tribute to seasonal eating. "Jackie" commented on that post:
I'm having such a hard time with this right now. The eco-geek in me REALLLLLY wants to eat as locally and seasonally as possible, but truth be told, I don't like winter veggies very much here in Chicago. I'm not quite sure how to get around that one small fact, other than canning or freezing, which I am too late to do. Your comment about feeling deprived rings true and hard for me. Any suggestions??I thought this was a great question, so I wanted to open it up to all of you and get your insights.
First my thoughts on the question:
From a seasonal eating perspective, I am very lucky to live in North Carolina - it only drops below freezing a few times a year so with the help of hoop houses and cold frames, the farmers can grow year round. I'm guessing that the farther north you live, the fewer choices you have in the winter.
But if you branch out from the norm, you might discover that more vegetables grow in your area than you think. This year we decided to try a winter CSA, and we've already gotten things I'd never heard of before - still a lot of root vegetables and greens, but more variety than we could find at the farmer's market.
You might also try seeking out other varieties of the same type of vegetable. For example, my husband has never been keen on sweet potatoes, but they are a winter staple down here. Last winter, he was eating sweet potatoes grudgingly until we tried a different variety that's available at our farmer's market. It has less of a sweet, carrot-like flavor and more of a potato-like flavor, and my husband definitely preferred it. If you don't like one type of squash, don't assume you dislike all squash. Same with greens and root veggies.
If you're being held back by pickiness, maybe you just haven't tried the right recipes. Here are a few recipe sites that I find helpful:
As Umbra Fisk said in her column about canned fruits and veggies this week, "It is ecologically important to remain in good health and away from hospitals. Fruits and vegetables help us achieve this goal. They also help us eat low on the food chain, an even more vital objective in the sustainable kitchen." (Stricter locavores might disagree with me and Umbra on this...)
What tips do you all have for Jackie? How do you make it through the long winter as a local and seasonal eater?