You might have heard that “eating
seasonally” being good for you, but you might not know exactly why, or which
fruit and vegetables are in season.
One of the reasons why eating
seasonally can be good for general health is because it allows you to enjoy a
wide variety of foods throughout the year. This can help keep you healthy
because different fruits and vegetables provide different nutrients like
vitamins and minerals that play an important role in different areas of the
If you’re someone who is mindful
about sustainability, eating seasonally can help to reduce your environmental
footprint. This is because it allows you to eat produce that is produced more
locally, minimising the number of kilometres that your food needs to be
transported and supporting local farmers.
Eating seasonally can also be more
cost-effective, as foods that are being harvested in abundance tend not to be
marked up as much as those in scarce supply.
With that in mind, let’s look at
some of the fruits and vegetables that are in season in spring in Australia:
Avocado on toast is basically a
staple in Australia, and these treasured fruits are in season throughout
October and November.
Nutritionally, avocados are an
excellent choice. They’re rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, often referred
to as “healthy fats”. These fats help
the body to absorb
fat-soluble vitamins A, D, K and E, are anti-inflammatory and can assist with
maintaining a healthy heart, brain, and reproductive system.
An avocado also contains more
potassium than a banana, and one
study even found that people who eat
avocados tend to have healthier diets overall as well as less risk of metabolic
Try adding sliced avocado to a
salad, spreading avocado on toast, crackers or rice cakes, or mashed up with a
squeeze of lime juice and some salt and pepper as a delicious dip.
Asparagus contains vitamin A, C,
and K, as well as folate, fibre, and prebiotic inulin, which acts as food for
your healthy gut bacteria.
Like many vegetables, asparagus is
low in calories but rich in nutrients, making it an excellent choice for anyone
looking to reduce or maintain their energy intake and eat a nutrient-dense
The skin is particularly rich in
antioxidants, so try and pick long, skinny spears for maximum health benefits.
Asparagus adds flavour and crunch
to salads and is particularly delicious when dipped into soft boiled eggs.
Broccoli is part of a family of
vegetables called ‘brassica’ which include brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, and
cauliflower. These leafy vegetables contain vitamins A and C and folic acid.
Some research suggests that
cruciferous vegetable consumption may
Broccoli also has vitamin K, fibre,
iron, and potassium.
Broccoli makes a tasty side dish
when steamed, blanched, or wok friend, and can also be added to salads, soups,
pasta dishes and stir-fries.
Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits
and mandarins are all available in spring and packed with nutrients. Many
people know that citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C, but they also have fibre
(as long as you eat the whole fruit, not just the juice), and antioxidants.
Interestingly, there is lots of
research which points to a connection between the consumption of citrus and
many kinds of cancers, including esophageal cancer, oral
cancer, breast cancer, and pancreatic
cancer. This may be because people who
eat more citrus fruit tend to eat more fruit and vegetables or a better-quality
diet, but the research is interesting nonetheless.
Citrus fruit is delicious when
eaten alone or used on cooking. Try adding a few orange segments to a salad,
eating half of a ruby grapefruit with your breakfast, or squeezing lemon juice
over meat, fish, poultry and veggies.
Fennel is low in calories and
contains plenty of fibre, a decent amount of vitamin C, as well as minerals
including iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and calcium.
Not only is fennel flavourful and
in abundance during spring; it’s a vegetable that you can almost eat from root
to tip. The bulb, seeds and leaves are all used for slightly different purposes
Try adding the finely sliced bulb
to salads or using it to add flavour when roasting poultry or fish. The fronds
or delicate leaves make a delicious garnish, particularly for fish, and the
seeds can be used for seasoning or brewed as a tea.
You might associate pineapples with
summer, but these sweet, juicy fruits are in season all through spring. They’re
rich in vitamins C and B6, copper, folate, and manganese.
Pineapples also contain an enzyme
called bromelain that may
help with digestion. Some initial research also indicates that bromelain could help with the prevention of
cancer, though further human research is required.
Pineapple can be chopped an eaten
alone as a snack, finely diced and combined with chilli, onion and coriander to
make a salsa, or, of course, used in a Hawaiian pizza.
One of the best ways to east
seasonally is to visit your nearest farmer’s market and buy from local
producers. If you’re not sure what a particular fruit or vegetable is or how it
should be eaten, the stallholder is usually delighted to explain it to you.