Have you ever heard of shopping seasonally for produce? What about sustainably? These two practices go hand in hand and there are so many different seasonal fruits and vegetables available in September. Shopping seasonally involves buying produce that is in season. This sounds like a no-brainer but what does it actually mean, and how is it more sustainable for the environment? Different fruits and vegetables grow and are harvested at different times of the year. In-season produce requires fewer resources to grow, resulting in a smaller environmental impact that can result in less expensive prices for these items at the store. A win-win if you ask me!
Fall produce that will begin to be in season in September include: Apples, mushrooms, beets, squash, carrots, broccoli, pears, spinach, green beans, pumpkin, grapes, and Brussels sprouts to name a few. Although a wide variety of fruits and vegetables are in season, they each have a unique package of vitamins, minerals, and nutritional compounds, which is why it is important to eat a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Sometimes it can be difficult to eat a wide variety of produce depending on what is in season, availability at stores, and cost. Below are three tips to get you through each season with environmentally sustainable and budget-friendly options in mind.
- Shop seasonal produce sales: Sometimes stores have a surplus of seasonal items and may sell them at a discounted price, this is a great time to stock up on in-season produce at a lower price than you may normally find it! If you have any leftovers, you can freeze them for future use. Frozen fruits make great additions to smoothies and frozen vegetables can be added to soups and stews when options at the grocery store may be limited or you have a busy week and don’t have time to run to the store.
- The frozen aisle is your friend: Frozen fruits and vegetables are wonderful and sustainable options for when your favorite produce is out of season, but you still want to include it on your plate. Frozen produce is typically frozen at peak ripeness and can be less expensive than fresh produce making it an excellent budget-friendly option. When shopping for frozen produce, look for items with no added seasonings to minimize excess sodium and sugar.
- Canned foods are pantry staples: Canned fruits and vegetables are great options that can last for several years, be stored easily, and don’t take up freezer space. They are also great budget-friendly options! When purchasing canned fruits look for options in water or 100% fruit juice to minimize added sugar. When purchasing canned vegetables, look for options in water or with no sodium added.