Taste the season!

A recent article from SparkPeople.com had some great tips on eating WITH the season. After all, why insist on eating summer squash when clearly the recent snow on the ground and current English fog cover suggest we're no where near the time of 90 degree heat waves anytime soon! And, personally, eating watermelon when it's freezing outside is just plain wrong.

Winter produce. Yeah, that's the ticket: root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, onions, nuts, brussel sprouts, citrus fruits (aka satsumas, grapefruit,etc), apples, pears. . . visit the Oregon Farmer's Markets Association website (or find the one in your state/area) for your local harvest schedule.

For optimal nutrition and taste:

* Focus on the fresh, minimizing the use of prepared foods as much as possible. When you must use prepared foods, make an effort to embellish them with one or more fresh ingredients.

* Pick a new produce item to try every week, whether the neglected rutabaga or the tropical mango.

* Cook at least one new dish each week, and look for recipes that will help you get acquainted with new ingredients. You can subscribe to a food magazine, plug in keywords on the Internet, or even swap new recipes with friends. Since food writers generally base their topics and menus on the foods of the season, take advantage of their offerings to reward yourself with wholesome, tasty meals.

* Experiment with regional or ethnic dishes. Most regional cuisines, developed in horse-and-buggy times, used local ingredients close by. Exploring new foods will keep mealtime both interesting and healthy.

* Take advantage of the useful food information your grocer provides. Whether you consult those little description cards that hang above specific fruits and veggies, or hold a friendly discussion with the produce manager on how to peel the leaves of an artichoke, you’ll find a wealth of ideas about preparing food.

wildfire on instagram