The benefits of eating vegetables that are in season in Australia
From hardy winter root vegetables to crunchy and juicy summer favourites, taking advantage of seasonal produce is not only great for your body but a simple way to save.
It’s also a clever tactic for keeping your diet varied and exciting while achieving a steady flow of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants all year round.
By knowing what Australian vegetables are in season before you hit the shops, you can benefit from the best quality produce at the cheapest prices.
Dietitian, Lyndi Cohen, weighs in with her tips for eating seasonally and how it may help you spend less on groceries.
Good for you, good for the planet
Lyndi explains how branching out with your fresh produce is a win-win for your household and the environment.
“Eating the same boring, repetitive food means that it’s probably not as sustainable or nutritious,” she says.
If you’re purchasing out-of-season fruit and vegetables, they’re likely to have travelled significantly more kilometres before reaching the shelf so you can expect substantial price hikes. Taste is also a major factor and because seasonal vegetables have been grown in the best conditions to thrive, their flavour is unparalleled.
By making the switch to locally sourced seasonal produce, your pocket will thank you as well as your tastebuds.
Lyndi describes how you can save money at the checkout.
“When eating seasonal produce, you’re likely to snag many great discounts. You might find trays of mangoes selling for a steal or a kilogram of Brussel sprouts for just a few dollars,” she says.
Cool season vs warm season vegetables
Thinking of what to make for dinner every night can be exhausting, so let seasonal produce guide the way.
We’ve broken down some of our favourite Australian seasonal fruit and vegetables by month to help you figure out what vegetables are in season now.
Summer – December, January and February
As temperatures rise, so does the range of nutritious and vibrant vegetables on offer. Why not grill some eggplant, zucchini or asparagus at your next summer barbeque?
If you’re looking for new ways to encourage your child to eat vegetables, burgers can be a clever way to increase their intake.
You can even swap out a traditional meat patty for a hearty mushroom burger topped with delicious caramelised onion. And because we all know the health benefits of eating raw vegetables, be sure to layer with fresh greens like crisp cucumber and crunchy iceberg lettuce.
Autumn – March, April and May
Members of the brassica family, broccoli and cauliflower, are extremely versatile and nutrient-dense vegetables that reach their peak availability in autumn.
The possibilities for these superstar sisters are endless – try incorporating them into your next roast dinner.
Whether you want to break them up into florets or prepare them whole, be sure to season with plenty of garlic and spices to create a mouth-watering addition to your meal.
Winter – June, July and August
During chillier months, you’re likely to find your grocer has an abundance of root vegetables, like carrots, leeks, turnips and sweet potatoes, in stock.
Winter is prime time for these underground vegetables and they also happen to make the perfect ingredients for delicious, nourishing soups. Lyndi praises the convenience and affordability of these winter season vegetables and explains how you can effortlessly incorporate them into your day-to-day meals.
“It’s a good idea to make big batches of soup using your seasonal winter produce. Come Monday, you’ll be grateful for ready access to a cheap-and-cheerful meal that’ll be perfect for meat-free Mondays. Soups also make for great healthy work lunches or can be frozen for backup meals,” she says.
Spring – September, October and November
Surprisingly, spring is actually one of the least satisfying seasons for fresh produce as it’s a time for sowing seeds rather than reaping their rewards. However, there are certainly still some tasty options that are ripe for the picking.
Next spring, be on the lookout for affordably priced artichokes, spinach and silverbeet, which can be used in recipes like cheesy cob loaf dips or fluffy frittatas.
For a simple DIY antipasti option, marinate your artichoke hearts with garlic or roast them for a Mediterranean-style couscous.
Sink your teeth into seasonal vegetables
Stuck in a boring food rut? Ditch the expensive out-of-season or imported vegetables and get back to nature with a powerful and diverse diet of fresh, seasonal produce.
You, or even your kids, might discover some new favourite meals by eating Australian vegetables that are in season.
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Lyndi Cohen is a media Nutritionist and Dietitian and member of the healthylife Advisory Board who regularly appears on Aussie TV screens and in magazines with the goal of helping people be healthy without dieting. She is all about cutting through the sea of wellness misinformation with common sense and scientific data.
Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board September 2021.