Eating In Season Is Definitely The Way To Go

Make vitamin rich food in winter for your family - Parenting resources by ZenParent

What do you think of when someone mentions winter? Heavy and itchy woolens? Chapped lips and cracked heels? Sure, winter is all of this, but did you know that winter is the best season to improve immunity? During this time, people feel hungrier. Amazingly, the body engine works better in the winter and foods are better digested. This aids in providing more nourishment to the body.

So how does one boost immunity during winter? Immunity-boosting foods are those that are fresh, organic and easy to digest. These include fresh vegetables and fruits/dry fruits, dairy products, nuts/oilseeds, whole grains/legumes and ghee. Besides these, some spices also have anti-microbial properties that protect us from colds and infections. They also act to increase digestive enzymes and cellular metabolic function, and ensure complete assimilation of nutrients.

Today, I’m turning things around a bit to ask for your insight on the issue of whether or not to eat only fruits and vegetables in season. This article discusses the importance of including seasonal vegetables in our daily diet. And since it is cold this time round we will focus on the fresh produce available during this season, particularly veggies.

Buy Organic Produce Shipped From Who-Knows-Where

“We’re at least getting some fruits and veggies into our diets.” This happens to be the politically correct way of eating. How often have you heard that we need to eat more vegetables and be sure to have a variety of colours on our plates? (I’m not saying I completely disagree, but is it always right?!)

Not only is this bad for the environment, it is also not a traditional way of eating. Obviously, our ancestors weren’t able to have produce shipped in when it wasn’t available to them locally. Generally, out-of-season produce is low on nutrients after having traveled from so far away anyway. What makes this the most difficult choice for myself recently is that I don’t know my farmer or how my food was grown. I like buying from farmers who I know are knowledgeable about the importance of nutrient-rich soil and not just after the ‘organic’ label. Sadly, this is always a challenge and no fool-proof solution has been found as yet.

Don’t Eat Any Out-Of-Season Produce

This feels like a more traditional way to eat and we’d be avoiding the environmental concerns with shipping organic foods.

There’s a simple way to synchronise your eating with seasons and availability. Make a list of products available in your region and note the normal harvest months for each. It’s a wonderfully simple way to express the ebb and flow of the seasons. Then, preserve abundant food for when it’s in short supply.

  • Find books about food preservation and learn more about dehydrating, canning, pickling and smoking.
  • Get product-specific recipe books to see how many different ways you can fix the same thing.
  • Another easy way to eat by the season is to grow your own garden! This can be done in planters and pots or in a typical garden plot.

Eating food grown locally gives you the benefit of consuming produce picked at its peak of ripeness. Food that is transported long distances is picked before it is ripe. The vitamin and mineral content deteriorates each day the fruit or vegetable spends sitting in the truck or on the shelf. The flavour and texture of freshly harvested foods is also much better when purchased or grown locally.

 It may take some time to transition to this type of eating, but growing and buying local, seasonal vegetables is super beneficial to your whole family!

Vegetables are the main component of Indian dishes. But during the winter months, there are certain vegetables that warm you up and are available in abundance. So, change your diet for these months and enjoy these winter vegetables.

Read on to learn about some of the unexpected vitamin-rich cold-weather foods you should stock up on right now:

Radish: Helps increase heat in the body. Thoroughly wash the radish and consume it with the peel as it is rich in antioxidants. Radish also contains vitamin C, B and folate.

Spinach: Largely available in winter and is a superfood.

Fenugreek leaves or Methi: Popular vegetable grown in winter and is excellent to boost immunity during these months. Methi instantly increases body heat.

Green Peas: Available in abundance during the winter months and are rich in vitamin K and B, folic acid and ascorbic acid.

Yam: This root floods the market during the winter. It is one of the best sources of protein for vegetarians. Yams are a good source of vitamin C and B, which rejuvenates the cells and the body.

Carrots: Another vegetable available in abundance during winter months. Carrots are also excellent for healthy skin which is an absolute necessity for this dry weather.

Mustard Greens: Contain vitamin A, K and carotene and flavenoid anti-oxidants. This helps in reducing iron deficiency and anemia and contains very few calories.

Some other vegetables that are good for your body and are available during this cold season are potato, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, beets, turnips, flat beans, cauliflower, broccoli, tomatoes, mint leaves etc.

 

Balsamic-Glazed Chickpeas and Mustard Greens

This fits into the category of warm dinner salads, but you could serve it as a side dish too to your family.

Make Balsamic-Glazed Chickpeas and Mustard Greens for winter - Parenting resources by ZenParent

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Procedure

Take 10 ounces of mustard greens and remove any large stems from the greens and discard. Tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.

In a deep pot or wok, sauté 1/2 a large size onion in 1 or 2 tablespoons of vegetable stock until mostly faded to pink, about 4 minutes approximately. Add 4 cloves of chopped garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes (crushed chili flakes) and another tablespoon of stock and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the mustard greens, 2 tablespoons of vegetable stock, and cook, stirring, until greens are wilted but still bright green, about 3 to 5 minutes approximately. Stir in enough salt. Remove greens and onions from pan with a slotted spoon and place in a serving dish, leaving any liquid in pan.

Add 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce, and 1/4 teaspoon sugar or honey to the liquid in the pan (if there is no liquid, add 2 tablespoons of vegetable stock). Add 1 cup cooked chickpeas and cook, stirring, over medium heat until the liquid is reduced by about half. Spoon the chickpeas over the greens and drizzle the sauce over all.

Serve warm, with additional balsamic vinegar at the table.

Yam and Kidney Bean (Rajma) Burritos

Make Yam and Kidney Bean Burritos for Winter season - Parenting resources by ZenParent

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Yams, with their natural sweetness, take well to smoky spice, and so this dish with chunks of yam coated with smoked paprika blended perfectly with creamy kidney beans. Completely vegetarian and very filling!

Procedure

Clean 1 large yam, cut into cubes and toss them with 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika (or regular paprika), some salt and pepper and a little vegetable oil.

Heat a little vegetable oil over high heat and add 1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds, shaking to keep them from burning. Cook for just a few moments or until toasted and fragrant. Turn the heat to medium and add the yam. Cook, stirring, until the edges are golden and the insides are tender. Turn out into a bowl and set aside.

Add 1 cup cooked kidney beans (rajma) and a little of the cooking water (obtained after cooking the rajma) to the skillet and heat until warmed through. Stir in 1/2 cup finely chopped coriander leaves and 1/2 cup hung yoghurt and heat just until warm.

Pile the yams, beans, and some mayonnaise together on a wheat tortilla (you could even use wholewheat rotis/chapathis), roll up and eat!

Radish Butter

Make radish butter recipe for winter season - Parenting resources for ZenParent

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Procedure

Trim 1/2 pound round red radishes and add into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the radish is chopped into very fine dice. Transfer the contents to a length of cheesecloth or a double thickness of paper towels and wring out the excess liquid. Transfer to a medium bowl and add 4 tablespoons of completely softened unsalted butter. With a rubber spatula, cream the radish and butter together, adding more butter 1 tablespoon at a time, until the mixture comes together in a smooth, pliable mass.

Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, stir in enough salt and pepper, and serve immediately. Slather the radish butter on to toasted bread, baguette, crackers, celery sticks, lettuce, etc.

The butter will keep, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Remove it from the refrigerator 15 minutes before serving to let it soften. Sprinkle the salt and freshly ground pepper over the radish butter before serving.

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