If you’re curious about the idea of ‘eating with the seasons’ but not really sure what all the hype is about, or how to do it, this guide is for you.
Have you ever stopped to savour the modern luxury of being able to pick a recipe (any recipe!) and easily find all the right produce at your local store, no matter what time of year it is?
Fruit and veg may come in and out of season as temperatures and growing conditions oscillate throughout the year, but here in Australia, we are very fortunate to have access to a wide range of produce all year round.
While this is certainly not something to take for granted, there are several benefits to opting specifically for locally grown, in-season produce – if you can – that are worth keeping in mind during your weekly shop.
✨ Fresh and flavourful: Since it doesn’t have to travel very far to get from the farm to your plate, locally grown, seasonal fruit and veg is able to be harvested at the peak of its ripeness. This means that it’s often more fresh, fragrant, and packed with flavour compared to produce that has been picked early and transported from far away.
❤️ More nutritious: Seasonal produce is also more nutrient-rich, simply because it’s fresher. Fruits and vegetables begin losing their nutrients immediately after they are harvested, so cutting down on travel time is essential for preserving those essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
💰 Cost-effective: Fruit and veg that’s currently in season is typically in peak supply and doesn’t have as many built-in costs for transport and storage like out-of-season produce does, so it’s likely to be much cheaper – and often on special!
🌏 Reduces carbon footprint: Food grown in your local area requires a lot less refrigeration, fuel, and energy to reach you than food transported from overseas or interstate – which means that it’s a lot better for the environment.
👩🌾 Supports local farmers: Whenever you pop seasonal produce into your shopping basket, you’re supporting Australian growers – and if you can make it along to your local farmer’s market to connect with the community directly, even better.
🎉 Keeps things exciting: Eating seasonally is a great way to challenge yourself to get more creative in the kitchen and deepen your appreciation for the huge variety of nutritious plant-based ingredients we have available to us on rotation throughout the year.
There’s something special, almost mindful, about letting the rhythm of nature guide your journey through the seasons – not to mention the joy of anticipating your favourite fruits and veggies “coming back” like the culinary superstars they are!
How to align your cooking with the seasons
If you’re looking to cultivate seasonal eating habits that help you make the most of Australia’s delicious fresh produce year-round, here are a few simple tips:
- Look for the Australian-grown label when grocery shopping: Produce grown in Australia is more likely to be in season.
- Check out the specials: Seasonal produce will often be discounted, since it’s usually in high supply.
- Shop at farmers markets if you can: This is where you’ll find the freshest, tastiest produce and be able to learn the most about what’s in season in your area. Farmers markets often post seasonal tips on their Facebook, too, so it’s worth having a look for yours online.
Check out the guides below to explore the abundance of fruit and veg each season has to offer in Australia – along with heaps of plant-based recipe ideas to help you incorporate more seasonal produce into your meals.
☀️ Seasonal Recipes for Summer (December – February)
🍁 Seasonal Recipes for Autumn (March – May)
❄️ Seasonal Recipes for Winter (June – August)
🌸 Seasonal Recipes for Spring (September – November)
Keep in mind that these are general guides for Australia, and that seasonal produce can vary from region to region. Check out Seasonal Food Guide Australia to find seasonal information more specific to your area.
🌱 Year-round staples…
Some of our favourite wholefood ingredients – mushrooms, broccoli, bean sprouts, cauliflower, and bananas, are in season all year round in most parts of Australia!
Just for fun, here are some easy recipes that celebrate these dependable evergreen heroes:
- Easy Vegan Phở
- Ginger Lemongrass Noodle Soup
- Grated Broccoli & Miso Fritters
- Super Crispy Broccoli & Cauliflower Hot Wings
- Deep Fried Broccoli Po’ Boy
- Easy Pad Thai
- Roast Cauliflower Soup with Deep Fried Black Olives
- Slow Grilled Cauliflower Steak
- Greek Roasted Cauliflower
What about frozen veg?
From an overall health perspective, the bottom line is that it’s best to eat a variety of fruit and veg every day throughout the year however you can get it: seasonal or not, fresh or frozen.
And on that note, good news! Frozen veggies are typically just as nutritious as fresh ones. Frozen fruits and vegetables have typically been picked in their optimal conditions (i.e. when they were in season) and snap-frozen for convenience, which doesn’t significantly affect their nutritional value.
This means that frozen veg is still a great option if you don’t have access to fresh – or even if you do, and just want to maximise the nutrients in your produce while also saving a bit of prep time in the kitchen.
You’re ready to start eating seasonally!
Woohoo! Keep this guide bookmarked for easy access to seasonal plant-based recipe inspiration, or browse our recipe hub by ingredient for more ideas.
Again, bear in mind that local variations in climate and growing conditions can affect exactly what’s in season, when. For more detailed information about what’s coming into season in your area, we highly recommend checking out Seasonal Food Guide Australia. They really get into the nitty gritty of it, with heaps of region-specific information – including maps of where you can find farmers markets around major cities!
By getting a bit creative and planning your meals around what’s in season near you, you’ll be able to put fresher and more nutritious produce on your plate year-round – delicious, plant-based food that supports local farmers, reduces your carbon footprint, and will likely reduce your grocery bill along the way, too!
Now that’s what we call a win-win … win-win-win 😉
Happy cooking – and here’s to savouring the best of the harvest