The Benefits of Eating with the Season

As we enter fall we say goodbye to fresh berries, watermelons, and heirloom tomatoes only to say hello to pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and pomegranates.

Why eat with the seasons?

  • Seasons are considered a source of natural diversity for our diets
    • A study done by Japan in 2001 found a three-fold difference in the vitamin C content of spinach harvested in the summer versus the winter.
  • Smaller carbon footprint if your food is sourced locally
  • Prevents the development of food and seasonal allergies
    • Nettles, dandelion, and other greens are in season during the spring time and these very herbs help reduce allergies to pollen
    • Eating the same foods day in and day out may predispose you to creating an immune response to those same foods
  • Better nutrition because of the shorter period of time between harvest and your tummy

What foods are common to each season?

Fall (getting warmer) –

  • Fruits – apple, pomegranate
  • Vegetables: Carrot, Sweet potato
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger

Winter (warming foods) –

  • Fruits – pear, persimmon, dried fruit
  • Root vegetables – parsnip, turnip, beet, carrot, garlic, onion
  • Winter squash
  • Eggs (Yes, eggs have seasons too 🙂 )
  • Fish, chicken, beef, lamb, venison
  • Nuts

Spring (getting cooler) –

  • Greens – swiss chard, spinach, romaine lettuce, fresh parsley, basil, nettles
  • Root vegetables – beets

Summer (cooling foods) –

  • Fruits – Berries, apple, plum, melons, nectarine
  • Vegetables – summer squash, broccoli, cauliflower, corn
  • Heirloom tomato
  • Yogurt

Easy Ways to Incorporate Seasonal Foods into your Mix:

Consider joining a community supported agriculture (CSA) program for the meat eater

Frequent your local San Francisco Farmer’s Market>

My Favorite Fall Recipe:

Spicy Pumpkin Hummus

Servings = 12

  • 1 14 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, (more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the garbanzo beans in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the beans are very finely chopped. With the motor running, add the garlic through the tube and process until very fine. Add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Taste for seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper.  You may also want to add more lemon juice.

Serve with sweet potato chips.


Igarashi O. The Significance of the Issuance of the 5th Revision of the Japanese Standard Tables of Food Components on Study and Research on Vitamins and Diseases. 36th Vitamin Information Center Press Seminar. Tokyo, Japan 2001. – This is an incredible resource about all things food and nutrition

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