Saturday, 10 March 2012

Eating Seasonably

I find this time of year a rather depressing one, in fruit and vegetable terms. I am making an effort these days to buy my fruit and veg locally, and if that isn't possible then at least to make sure it is coming from Western Europe, usually Spain,  rather than Morocco (where for some reason Sainsbury's appears to source almost everything at the moment).

The "everything from Spain" rule was true in France too!

The difficulty is that in March, there is very little fruit available from anywhere closer than Spain. According to this handy seasonal calendar, it's because there isn't actually any fruit in season in the UK at the moment. The closest we are to fresh fruit is rhubarb in May - not really my favourite fruit without an accompaniment of strawberries or similar.
One solution to this fruit deficit is storage, and you may remember that back in late September I stewed a lot of pears and apples from my dad's garden. I froze several boxes and over the past few months have been occasionally making it into crumbles or eating it on its own, either warm or cold. Today was the very last box - a mix of pear and apple, intended for crumble but eaten on its own - I'm out of butter. It was delicious, and now I want more. Autumn feels a very long way off.

I do still have a bag or two of mixed frozen berries, bought in Sainsbury's in October. It's probably out of date but I'm not too fussed by use-by dates on frozen food. At some point I will defrost it and make another fruit crumble as part of my "empty the freezer for Easter" campaign. I've made a solemn vow that I will not buy another frozen product until I have used up everything I've got at the moment, and I'm also attempting to reduce the quantity in my dry food cupboard. It's had the secondary advantage of reducing my shopping bill to £5-£10, depending on whether I need to restock my Actimel stash or my fruit & barley squash, along with the regular perishables. I can see some very dull lentil-based meals approaching as I use up the more interesting foods, but it's a good challenge :)

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