As the weather turns cooler and the leaves start to turn a beautiful auburn colour, we also start to naturally gravitate towards warm, cooked and soulful meals. Our bodies are still very much in tune with the seasons, despite the supermarket isles tricking us into believing otherwise. That’s not to say we aren’t incredibly fortunate to have all of this produce available to us, but it also means we have lost touch with natures intuitive way of providing us with what we need, when we need it. Most of us are even unaware of what grows seasonally unless we have a veggie garden or go to farmers markets, and even so, I still see mangoes being sold in October in the markets in Holland!
So, lets take cucumbers for example (but you could say the same for radishes, lettuce, celery, etc); these grow during the summer months and are about 96% water (the rest being nutrients & fiber). During the summer heat we sweat and loose a lot more water than during the winter, which means we also crave foods like cucumber that have a higher water content to replace what’s lost. Of course, cucumbers being high in water means they don’t withstand cold conditions very well or they too will freeze. On the other hand, if you look at the beautiful pumpkins and sweet potatoes that start to appear at this time of year, being more like 73% water, they withstand the cold a lot better and are also better suited to give us the nutrition we need during the colder months.
So not only is nature providing us with the vegetables that suit the seasons, but it also guides us with cooking methods. Going back to cucumbers and lettuces, we tend to eat these raw as they don’t lend themselves very well to cooking. But can you imagine eating a raw sweet potato? Hm, not my cup of tea that’s for sure. Think of it as this; on a hot summer’s day, you are much more likely to feel like a wonderful refreshing swim in the sea or a lake. In the winter, you look forward to having a nice warm bath when you get home. It’s the same when it comes to food.
So don’t let yourself be carried away by all the instagram photos of amazing looking exotic salads, try instead to eat seasonally (for your country and climate of course!) and you will feel much more in tune with what your body needs! Not only that, but you will get much fresher produce that is also richer in nutrients.
RECIPE Serves 2 Total time: 30min
½ cup sugar
2 rooibos tea bags
½ orange (zest only)
1 cinnamon stick
Place a pot of water, large enough to fit and cover the pears, to boil. In the meantime, peel the pears and cut the bottom so that they sit up straight when on a plate, and also peel the orange zest. Once the water has boiled, turn down the heat and add the sugar, rooibos tea bags, orange zest and the cinnamon stick. Allow the sugar to dissolve (about 1 minute) and then add the pears. Let the pears simmer for about 20 minutes or until soft. Serve warm as is, or if you want to make it even more luxurious, add some melted chocolate or whipped cream. You can also simmer the broth for a little longer without the pears, to make it more of a syrupy sauce.