Are There Foods You Should Give Up in Summer?
By Sara Butler
Eating seasonally has become more popular over recent years for many reasons. It’s good for your health, it’s good for the environment and it’s good for your bank account! Here are a few foods you should avoid in summer and some seasonal showstoppers to put in their place.
This one might surprise you, but citrus fruit requires cold weather in order to mature and become ripe. That’s right – without cold weather it won’t be the juicy, sweet treat that you desire, so it’s not a food that is seasonal to summer.
If you want to have some citrus, you can try California grapefruits. They ripen in the summer, they just tend to be a bit pulpier and have a thicker skin than their winter-ripening counterparts from the south.
Sweet potatoes are fall vegetables, meaning they’re harvested in the fall. With a short shelf life, sweet potatoes are hard to find in the summer months, but not impossible. Chances are if you find sweet potatoes in the store during the summer they’ve been imported from China. That’s a heck of a carbon footprint for one little sweet spud.
Corn is a summer vegetable that is sweet and can’t be beaten on the grill, so during the warm summer months switch out your sweet potatoes for fresh sweet corn.
In the United States, you won’t find fresh and locally grown pomegranates until winter. If you find them in the summer they’re likely an import from Chile. Another fun fact about fruits and vegetables imported from other countries is they are sprayed with a lot of pesticides in transit to keep from importing pests into the country along with the fruit and veg. So, hold off on the poms and go for summer fruits such as nectarines and peaches.
Asparagus is a springtime treat. Not only will it not be at its best tasting in the summer it’s also probably grown in Mexico or Peru if you find it in the produce aisle at your local store where you can bet the farming methods used probably aren’t sustainable. So, do yourself and the planet a favor by going with string beans or snow peas instead.
Seafood may not seem like a seasonal food, but it is! Most seafood is considered out of season during the times they are spawning. For oysters, mussels and clams, that takes place in the summer months. If shellfish are harvested before they can spawn then it can mean less shellfish in your future by decreasing populations. And they don’t taste very good that time of year, either.
In the summer, stick with fish such as tuna, wild caught salmon or rainbow trout and save the shellfish for another month!