What You Should Never Eat Out of Season

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What You Should Never Eat Out of Season
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What You Should Never Eat Out of Season

Having your favorite fruits and veggies available all year round may be convenient, but buying them out of season affects the quality of their taste and nutrition. Produce can take long journeys to reach your plate and leave a large carbon footprint. Read on to discover which fruits and vegetables you should never eat out of season.

Image Credit: Corbis/Clinton Hussey

Mushrooms

Varieties of mushroom each have their season, so it's easy to eat them fresh all year-round. For example, morel mushroom season starts in the spring, truffles grow in the summer or winter, and oyster and chanterelle mushrooms are plentiful in fall.

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Asparagus

Nothing quite matches up to the taste of fresh asparagus in season; while other vegetables have great frozen, canned or pickled alternatives, asparagus is best eaten fresh and is a truly seasonal vegetable. The spring growing season is short, so stock up while you can!

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Tomatoes

Out-of-season tomatoes are tasteless and have a mealy texture because they are selected for toughness to endure traveling long distances and are prematurely ripened with ethylene gas. Also, Barry Estabrook, in his book Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit, explains that most US-sourced, fresh and out-of-season tomatoes come from Florida, where growers spray plants with large quantities of pesticides and other chemicals and exercise questionable labor practices. Try to stick to seasonal tomatoes, and refer to this detailed map to find out your local tomato growing season.

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Green beans

Green beans don't fare well when stored for long periods of time; studies have shown that fresh green beans can lose up to 77% of their vitamin C after a week in cold temperature storage. Since out-of-season produce can take many days to reach your supermarket, we think a better alternative would be frozen green beans, which are frozen at the peak of ripeness. Buy frozen outside of green beans' peak season from May to October.

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Berries

Strawberries and blueberries may be available throughout the year at your grocery store, but we'd stick to buying them local during their growing season (spring and early summer for strawberries, and summer for blueberries). Out-of-season berries have traveled long distances to get to your produce aisle, which leads to loss in nutrients and leaves behind a large carbon footprint. Plus, you'll be disappointed by the flavor, as nothing tastes better than ripe summer berry.

Image Credit: Corbis/Clinton Hussey

Citrus Fruits like Oranges and Grapefruits

Citrus fruits are high in water-soluble vitamin C, which is susceptible to heat, light and oxygen. When these fruits are sourced from far away, lengthy transportation times leads to heavy nutrient loss. Different varieties of citrus fruits have different growing seasons; for example, the growing season for most varieties of oranges runs from November to June, while Meyer lemons grow from November through April.

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Cherries

Cherries are another truly seasonal fruit. Off-season, non-organic cherries are notorious for pesticide residue and covered in fungicidal wax, and cherries bruise easily during the long transportation process. There are few better alternatives, as canned cherries carry the risk of BPA toxins and dried cherries contain sulfites. Buy your cherries in bulk during the short growing season from May through August.

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Head over to your local grocery store and you'll find all your favorite fruits and vegetables for sale all year-round. However, buying non-seasonal food may not always be a good idea, as sourcing them at the wrong time may take a toll on their taste, nutrition and the environment. Check out the slideshow above to discover which foods you should never eat out of season.

For more kitchen tips, check out these articles from Kitchen Daily:

10 Ways To Keep Food Fresh Longer
Fresh, Canned or Frozen: Which Is Best?
11 Healthiest Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

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