Hi it’s Ayumi. A new season has begun, and the vegetables and fish lined up in supermarkets have completely changed to spring ingredients. Have you tried one of them already?
It’s important for your body to know what is seasonal ingredients! It’s based on the shokuiku (food education) study of “Develop the ability to choose what to eat”.
Let’s study shokuiku! You will be more confident what to choose after you read this!
Are you confident in what to eat?
We need to develop the ability to choose what to eat. Why? Because there are so many food around us thanks to the efforts of various people who have enriched the country, developed the economy and technology.
Then it made it possible to eat winter vegetables and fish in summer. It’s hard to recognize which is which season’s food. (which is also nice that you can eat an apple through a year!)
So what is “Seasonal” foods? Should we follow the season? The answer is yes! Let’s check the reasons why we better to know the seasonal ingredients.
There are 3 types of definition about the seasonal ingredients.
- 走り/Hashiri : The first one. The time when you see it at the supermarket for the first time at the beginning of the season
- 旬/Shun：Season. The time when the shipment volume is the largest and you can buy cheaply anywhere
- 名残/Nagori：Remnants. At the very end of the season, it’s time to eat again with a regrettable feeling before it’s gone
Why seasonal ingredients: 1. Our body needs it naturally
Did you know that there is a deep connection between ingredients and seasons?
In Spring, there are many foods that contain unique bitter ingredients such as rape blossoms and wild plants. It has the function of discharging the waste products accumulated in the body during the winter.
In Summer, it’s hot and we sweat. We tend to run out of water so need to rehydrate with summer vegetables like cucumbers and tomatoes.
Potatoes and rice are harvested in the Fall. We try to save physical strength in preparation for coming cold winter with those foods.
Root vegetables, which are in season in Winter, are rich in minerals. And they have the function of converting protein into heat to warm the body.
The blessings of the season are the nature that animals instinctively seek to survive.
Why seasonal ingredients: 2. High nutrition
Recently, cultivation techniques have improved and the nutritional value of the ingredients is rising.
However, the original season is the time when the food is grown in the best growing conditions and is the most mature.
For example, tomatoes. The difference in β-carotene is remarkable. Seasonal summer tomatoes have about twice the content of non-seasonal winter tomatoes. (Survey by Kagawa Nutrition University)
There are some ingredients whose nutritional value fluctuates greatly depending on the season, as the description of the component values is written separately for “summer harvest” and “winter harvest”.
Why seasonal ingredients: 3. Cheaper
Market prices tend to fall as seasonal ingredients become more widespread.
For example, strawberries. You may have noticed that it was 600yen range at the local supermarket in late November(Hashiri), and now(Shun) it is 300yen range. There is a big difference in the price!
In fact, in order to suppress such price fluctuations and make it easier for consumers to shop, many people have conducted research and improved breeding and production, and many vegetables are now on the market all year round.
While enjoying the convenience of getting the vegetables you want to eat regardless of the season, you want to enjoy the original taste and aroma of the vegetables as well as the sense of the seasons during the season.
Why seasonal ingredients: 4. Enjoyable
In a country with four seasons, there are many people who have a link between seasonal ingredients and memories.
“Ah, it’s hot! It’s the best cold watermelon when it’s hot~!”
When seasonal ingredients appear on the table, conversations naturally increase. It becomes a memory of the family.
When I was a kid, my father enjoyed spring bamboo shoots every year, and I remember my mother enthusiastically cooking bamboo shoots rice when the first one came out. Now it’s our turn. We bring the foods to our husbands and children and convey such seasonal customs.
Let’s eat delicious seasonal ingredients
And lastly and not least, it’s yummy! The foods in the best season taste so good!!
Do you want to eat seasonal ingredients? Here are the ingredients for spring.
Asparagus, Rape blossoms, Fukinoto, New onions, Spring cabbage, Bamboo shoots, New potatoes, Clams, Halfbeak, First bonito, etc.
I will continue to the next shokuiku (food education) column!