Eating for the Seasons
I enjoy eating for the seasons. It’s very exciting anticipating the next seasons yield; it keeps life varied and fun in the kitchen. Seasonal eating delineates the year and makes certain times and certain foods special. It is a way of celebrating and marking time.
Some of the foods that I really look forward to having in the cooler months are hard squashes, fresh turmeric root, and fresh cranberries. I love how hardy, sweet and versatile hard squashes can be. There are so many different kinds and so many ways to use them in cooking. Some things for which I like to use butternut squash are curried soup, sauce for white lasagna or a simple chopped and roasted root vegetable dish. I also like to slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, bake it face down and eat it plain or with a little butter and salt.
Sugar Dumpling Squash
One of my all-time favorite squashes is one called sugar dumpling squash. It is small and shaped like an acorn squash, but with some orange striping on its greenish skin. It tastes just like maple syrup – so sweet and delicious. I have never tasted any squash so amazingly buttery, rich and sweet at the same time.
Fresh turmeric root is another treat that I only get this time of year. I always get excited when I see it. It’s not that I love the flavor so much as it is such a wonderful medicinal food. It looks like ginger root, but a little smaller and orange. It will turn your fingers orange and stain your clothes, so beware when using it. I put it in everything when it is in season. Fresh juices, morning smoothies, stir-frys and soups are just a few things I include it in. It is also great combined with scrambled eggs or grated into miso soup. What I like about turmeric is that it is full of vitamins and minerals, an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and has been said to have cancer-fighting properties.
Finally, fresh cranberries! They come just in time for holiday cranberry sauce making. Nothing feels more like eating for the seasons than fresh cranberries around the holidays. I usually buy several containers of these beautiful berries and freeze them for later use. They are very sour, so to make cranberry sauce you will want to add sweetener. I like to put them in my green smoothies because they add such a nice tangy flavor. Loaded with vitamin C, antibacterial properties and lots of other medicinal goodies, it’s a gem in the kitchen.
I was delighted to see that my Co-op, New Leaf Market has all three of these right now, so I stocked up and am ready to make my favorite things!