Pic by Amie Chou

Eat within the seasons is something we are reminded of all the time, but not everybody considers why. There really are many benefits to eating seasonally and locally – for our taste buds, health and wallet!

Firstly, eating seasonally will save you money. When fruit and veggies are in season, they are available in abundance (locally), so it costs much less for farmers and distribution companies to harvest and transport the produce to our stores. This also means that we are cutting down on our carbon footprint, so eating seasonally is better for our planet.

Seasonal produce tastes better because it is grown and ripen naturally by the weather that is most suited for that produce. For example, if you buy strawberries in winter, it won’t taste as nice as when you buy strawberries in summer because it isn’t made to be grown in winter conditions.

And finally, it offers you variety throughout the year. We can eat a rainbow every month! Eating seasonally also means that you might try different fruits and veggies that you might not have cooked before. So instead of eating apples and potatoes all year round, try kumquats in winter or waterblommetjies in Spring.

That said, if your doctor tells you to eat things like sweet potatoes, apples or green leafy vegetables for your health, you can certainly eat them year-round. You may have to pay a bit more so see if there is a seasonable alternative. You can usually figure out what is in season by what is on special. And if the price of your favourite fruit or veggie seems to have gone up, it probably means it’s going out of season!

Summer offers a wide variety of fresh, nutrient-packed produce! It is also much easier to eat raw fruits and vegetables in summer than in winter, as they refresh our bodies on those unbearably hot days. Some delicious summer fruits include a variety of berries, melons, tomatoes, peaches, mangoes, kiwis and litchis. Our summer vegetable range consist of beetroot, butternut, green beans, spinach, asparagus and sweet peppers.

All the bountiful produce our soil has to offer gives us even more reason to eat Green every Green Monday! You can create the most delicious and nutritious plant-based meals including salads, smoothies, pastas and wraps. Why not start this Green Monday with these crunchy Strawberry and Spinach Wraps and Orange Poppy Seed Dressing!

Strawberry-Spinach Wraps and Orange Poppy Seed Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 4x 30cm whole-wheat tortilla wraps
  • 2x cups baby spinach, loosely packed
  • 2x cups arugula, loosely packed (or more baby spinach)
  • 1x punnet strawberries, tops removed and sliced thin
  • 1x avocado, diced
  • 1/3x cup toasted almonds (optional)

For the dressing:

  • 1/3x cup olive oil
  • 1/3x cup orange juice
  • 1x tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 2x tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4x teaspoon salt
  • 1x tablespoon poppy seeds

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the salad by combining the spinach, arugula, edamame, strawberries and avocado in a large bowl. Toss gently to combine.
  2. Using a blender or a whisk, combine all dressing ingredients (except the poppy seeds) until emulsified, then stir in the poppy seeds.
  3. Pour most of the dressing over the salad ingredients and mix well.
  4. Reserve 1 to 2 tablespoons of dressing for the wraps.
  5. To assemble the wraps, brush a little of the reserved dressing on a tortilla and then add the salad ingredients. Sprinkle a few toasted almonds, if using, over the salad, then roll up the wrap.

For other delicious Green recipes or to learn more about Humane Society International-Africa’s Green Monday SA campaign, visit www.greenmonday.co.za