Since I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a couple of years ago, I have been committed to eating local food.
We ate a lot of fresh foods before that (especially from our own garden), but had never considered the long-term implications of eating food grown thousands of miles away.
Now, at least half of our food is locally grown, even more than that in the summer.
Local, in-season foods are healthier, tastier, and almost always cheaper than their long-traveling and out-of-season counterparts.
I was talking about seasonal foods on Twitter this week, and a few people mentioned getting stuck in a veggie rut, using the same old recipes until they were just sick of the monotony.
When you have a recipe that just works, it's so easy to get into a routine.
This year, try some new preparation methods and recipes. Here are my favorite books and web sites for preparing seasonal foods.
Books that Will Help Make the Most of Seasonal Foods
- Serving Up the Harvest – I think this is my favorite among my seasonal cookbooks. It is full of advice and recipes, and I use it almost weekly during the warm months.
- The Harvest Eating Cookbook – Keith Snow approaches local eating the way most of us do. He prefers local foods, but doesn't chastise himself for buying foods from afar when convenience or craving necessitate it. His recipes are creative and tasty.
- Simply in Season Expanded Edition and Children's Cookbook – I got these from the local library once, and I've been wanting to buy them ever since.
- Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America's Farmers' Markets by Deborah Madison – I adore Deborah Madison, and I have a lot of her cookbooks from my decade as a vegetarian. This one is full of beautiful pictures of fresh vegetables and tempting dishes.
- Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh by Emeril Lagasse – I haven't read this one, but the reviews on Amazon look awesome. I put it on my wish list for later. Apparently, it is an all-in-one resource, including sections on canning and home preserving, choosing the best foods, and recipes.
Websites that Will Help Make the Most of Seasonal Foods
- The Animal, Vegetable, Miracle website has free printable PDFs of all of the recipes from the book, plus seasonal menus.
- The USDA's Healthy Meals Resource System includes a searchable database of recipes using fresh, whole foods.
- Amy Cotler, author of The Locavore Way: Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food has a recipe blog that is full of recipes.
- Kelly the Kitchen Kop has an index of about five gazillion real food recipes.
- EatingWell.com has a section devoted to recipes fresh from the farmer's market.
- The vegetable index at Simply Recipes is brimming with fresh ideas and old favorites.
What resources do you use to maximize your use of seasonal foods?
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