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The Benefits of Fresher Produce

By Angela Denly 6 August 2018 455 Views No comments

Organic Vegetables

Get fresh: How to get more nutritional bang for your buck

The benefits of fresher produce

Strolling around the supermarket throwing produce into your trolley, have you ever stopped to think about how fresh those fruits and vegetables really are? For example, most varieties of apples are picked in autumn, so how come the shelves are still heaving with them in the middle of December? Taking the time to think about what’s in season means you can get the benefits of fresher produce, which is better for both your hip pocket and your health.

Why seasonality is important?

The nutrients in fruits and vegetables start to break down after harvest. And it’s not just nutrition that’s compromised – taste starts to suffer too. If you’ve ever eaten freshly picked corn or peas straight from the garden, you’ll understand only too well how quickly the natural sugars in these foods start to break down.

But much of the foods in our supermarkets aren’t picked when they are freshest and most nutritious, but rather picked at the point that means they’ll transport best, and artificially ripened in storage. When you chose foods that are in-season, you’re maximising your chance of these foods being naturally ripened and harvested at the peak time for nutrition.

And the great news is that when you buy foods that are in season, not only are they tastier and better for you, but you’ll get better value for money too. Locally sourced produce that is in season saves money on transport and storage expenses, so you’ll pay less.

Finally, eating in season keeps your body in tune with nature. It’s no coincidence that leafy salad greens and tomatoes are at their best in summer when we naturally want to eat lighter, fresher meals. And equally, in the depths of winter when you crave comfort, root vegetables are at their best, ready to shine in warming soups, stews and casseroles. So go on, get in touch with the seasons and enjoy the benefits of fresher fruits and vegetables.

Getting from picked to plate, faster

One of the best ways to ensure you are buying and eating fresher produce is to get closer to the source. Buying directly from growers and producers at farmers markets, or via platforms like Farm2market, mean that you’re getting produce that’s not been sitting in storage or in transit for weeks (or even months).

When you shop directly from the source – or as close as you can get – you’re saving money, not to mention fuel and packaging, as well as ensuring that the grower gets a better price. By buying direct and cutting out distribution channels, it’s a better deal for farmers and consumers – financially, environmentally, and nutritionally.

It’s also important to think about how much you are buying at a time, and how you are storing and cooking your produce once it makes its way into your home. Most fruits and vegetables will stay fresher for longer if stored in the refrigerator (with some exceptions – notably tomatoes!). And there’s not too many vegetables that benefit from overcooking. Lightly steaming vegetables can help to make them more digestible without destroying water soluble nutrients; think bright green broccoli, not flat and dull bordering-on-grey broccoli!

Over to you

Are you sick of fruits and vegetables that have been sitting in cold-storage for months? Tell us what fresh fruit and vegetables means to you.

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