Eating Seasonally in July
Hey Vegi fam! You probably already know it’s important to eat your veggies if you’re looking into being plant-based. BUT! It’s also crucial to eat seasonally. We’re going to go over why it’s important to buy seasonally, what’s in-season this month, and some delicious recipes/cooking techniques in this blog post!
Eating seasonally: Why should you do your research before heading to the store?
Going grocery shopping is even more stressful than usual, with sanitizing, mask-wearing, and stocking up for a few weeks at a time (or, at least we hope you’re still shopping like this). The pandemic can also lead you to not pick up items like fresh produce, because it likely won’t last the whole two weeks before you head back to the grocery store to pick up another stockpile of food.
It’s a true fear, to a certain extent: not all food lasts the same amount of time in the fridge, even in the best circumstances. However, through meal prepping, putting thought into your weekly menu, and doing a little digging on what’s in-season, your veggies will actually be fresher, and will last longer at your house.
It’s true that you can acquire basically any veggie at any time of year. But, ones that are in-season will taste their best when they’re picked in-season. It’s the difference between eating a strawberry fresh from the patch, that’s ripe, firm, and juicy, and eating one in the dead of winter that’s lifeless and barely red. Sure, the one in wintertime still tastes like a strawberry, but it’s nowhere near as good. And, I’m betting the wintertime strawberry got moldy super quickly, because that strawberry had to be imported instead of being grown locally.
Eating in-season food will also save you money! When a food is in its peak of production, there’s more of it to go around, meaning it’s less expensive to harvest and transport. Consequently, in-season produce is less expensive at the store. And, if you frequent farmers markets, you’re supporting your local economy too! Additionally, you reduce your own carbon footprint when you buy seasonally, because your produce hasn’t had to travel long distances across the country to reach your dinner table.
Finally, eating locally promotes peak nutritional value in the veggies you consume. Some vitamins in produce, for example, vitamin C, rapidly decrease as the plant is refrigerated over time. If your vegetables are traveling a long distance and being imported because they aren’t in-season, they can lose many of the nutrients that make them so good for you in the first place. Buying local and seasonally is a perfect way to make sure you not only have the tastiest, freshest produce, but the produce that’s doing the most for you.
If you’re interested in learning more about the nutrients in your food and how to use them to minimize your potential for contracting viruses/ bacteria, be sure to register for our masterclass, Plant for a Pandemic: How to Boost your Immune System with Plant-Based Foods! In the class, we’ll do a deep dive into COVID-19, pandemics, how food can help boost your immune health, and preventative measures you can take to keep your health in tip-top shape. It’s happening on Thursday, July 16th at 6PM, so get your ticket and tune in LIVE! There will also be time for live Q & A with Valeria (Founder of VegiVale Wellness Co) to ask any burning questions you may have!
In-Season Produce in July:
1. Strawberries and blueberries:
As I mentioned earlier, there’s nothing quite like biting into a delicious, juicy berry. One of myfavorite ways to enjoy berries is to throw them into the blender with a little coconut milk, agave, and mint. Throw it in the freezer for a little bit (or add 1-2 ice cubes) and you have a refreshing sorbet that will leave you feeling both light and satisfied.
I truly love corn, and one of my favorite ways to use corn is in these corn fritters. To make that recipe vegan, use plant-based milk. I usually skip adding so much oil and pan frying them, and make them instead on my George Foreman grill. But hey, you’re the chef in you’re kitchen: you do you boo!
Zucchini is one of my favorite veggies because it’s so versatile. Want a noodle? Zucchini. Want a binder for your fritter? Zucchini. It goes in pasta, as a steamed side, on kabobs, the possibilities are endless. I love pairing them with corn (another in-season veggie!) and having them as a tasty side in this Parmesan Zucchini and Corn side dish. To make it vegan, use nutritional yeast instead of parmesan, or omit it completely.
Cucumbers are great because they can be preserved easily and turned into pickles. This recipe for a Greek-style salad uses fresh cucumbers (and tomatoes, another in-season veggie!), though! This recipe includes feta, which can be bought vegan. However, the salad would still taste great without any cheese!
Tomatoes right off the vine are one of the greatest summertime pleasures. A great way to utilize tomatoes is to roast fresh ones in the oven and turn them into a delicious salsa for use in breakfast tacos, burritos, or just plain dippin’.
Just about anyone can get an herb garden going in their kitchen window. One of my favorite dishes to make with all the herbs I have is pesto. Traditional pesto isn’t vegan, but it’s close: to make it vegan, substitute the cheese for nutritional yeast to taste. For an extra challenge, use a mortar and pestle like they suggest in the recipe instead of turning immediately to your food processor: the oils in the basil taste extra amazing, and you’ll get a mini arm workout in.
Peaches are delicious, and fresh ones are best. I actually hate canned peaches or any kind of peach “flavoring,” because it just tastes artificial. So, summertime is really the only time I enjoy peaches. My favorite way to enjoy peaches is in this decadent cobbler. It’s not an everyday treat, but it is delicious and perfect for special occasions. To make it vegan, substitute in vegan butter. And, the best part about this recipe is that just about any fruit can make up the bottom layer, so you can use the recipe with apples or cranberries in the fall, and apricots in spring.
This isn’t a comprehensive list or in-season produce. However, we found this helpful month-to-month guide on produce that’s in-season.
What are your favorite veggies to eat during summertime? Do you have any recipes you always use with them? Drop them in the comments below!