This craving is a natural inclination towards specific foods that changes with the time of year. Do you feel this seasonal instinct too? It actually has a name: seasonal eating, and it describes the practice of eating food – especially produce – when it's at its harvest peak. Produce has a growing cycle, and harvesting takes place once a plant reaches its peak growth, typically offering maximum flavor and nutrition. This is especially true for produce harvested locally that is offered to consumers right away instead of traveling long distances from other states and countries.
Once a vegetable is picked from its nutrient-rich plant source – whether plant, vine or tree – it begins to lose its nutrients according to research at the University of California, Davis. Furthermore, food that travels far is, in general, less nutritious than locally grown food because of the time from farm to table and the resulting breakdown of stored organic material. Imagine produce grown in another climate and brought to your grocery store.
Choose locally grown:
- Visit farmers markets whenever possible.
- Join CSAs (community supported agriculture).
- Look for signs in your store that say "grown locally."
Seasonal eating follows our ancestors' method of eating; they grew or foraged and harvested at just the right moment, readily enjoying or preserving these plant foods. Eating seasonally has health benefits as you get the most bang for the buck nutritionally with the plants' micronutrients at their most abundant. And, today, seasonal eating has a greater impact than just flavor and nutrition. It is also a sustainable practice that minimizes the impact on our environment and maximizes the conservation and preservation of our natural resources. So seasonal eating is good for the whole world!
For seasonal foods in your neck of the woods, visit www.seasonalfoodguide.org.
SWEET POTATO PIZZA
This easy, sweet and versatile crust is perfect for a plant-based pizza or for the addition of your favorite proteins.
2 cups sweet potato, cooked and peeled (NOTE: to cook sweet potatoes, microwave for 4 minutes, or bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, or steam for 45 minutes)
1 c gluten free flour ( I used 1/2 c buckwheat flour + 1/4 c potato starch + 1/4 c coconut flour)
1 T garlic powder
1 T dried oregano
1 t salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
1 flax egg (3 T ground flax meal + 3 T water in a glass; stir and let sit for 5 minutes)
olive oil spray
Preheat oven to 425 degrees, convection bake setting. Prepare two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liner and spray with olive oil in a 10" circle.
Mash together the sweet potato and flour either with a fork or in a food processor until well combined. Add all ingredients and mix again until well combined.
Divide dough into two balls. Place each ball onto olive oiled area of each baking sheet. Press each one out until about 10" diameter or 1/4" thickness. Neaten up edges so that they form a smooth circle. Bake for 15-20 minutes checking for doneness with browned edges.
While baking, prepare your toppings of choice.
For toppings I used:
About 1/4 c tomato sauce per crust
Miyokos Liquid Vegan Pizza Mozzarella
1 sliced yellow onion + 2 cloves garlic minced, sautéed
6 Crimini mushrooms thinly sliced and sautéed
1 cup of raw spinach wilted in the pan with the onion slices once they are cooked
1/8 t dried red pepper flakes per crust
1/4 t dried oregano per crust
Once the crusts are baked, topped with toppings in order listed, or choose your own toppings. Put pizzas back into oven for 5 minutes. Enjoy!