Different Foods for Different Seasons

blueberries, strawberries, and raspberriesA century ago people believed that it was better eat different foods in different seasons. Here’s what a hundred year old cookbook said:

Some food adapted for use at one season or in one climate are not suited to another.

Some people make the mistake of eating in warm weather the same foods and the same quantities of food that they consume in the winter; but the quantity of food should be reduced during the spring and summer months. The digestive organs cannot readily care for the same quantity or the same quality in spring that they are capable of digesting during the winter. Wisely, therefore, with the return of spring, nature take away the desire for many of the more solid foods, and furnishes us with fruits, and greens, and succulent vegetables, which are appetizing and cooling to the system.

Much of the common sickness, especially during the spring and summer months, is caused by the absorption of poisons resulting from the decay of unsuitable food in the intestinal tract. Pimples, rash, and itching of the skin are often signs that nourishment ill-suited to the season or to the condition of the blood has been taken into the body. Fresh fruits are both food and medicine, and are needed by the blood; being especially rich in alkaline elements, they serve to keep the blood in good condition, and because they contain the carbon in the form most easily digested (fruit sugar), they hold first place in the list of foods which go to make up the ideal diet.

The Science of Cookery (1921) by H.S. Anderson

12 thoughts on “Different Foods for Different Seasons

  1. While some of the science is dated, there’s no question that I almost instinctively change my diet from winter to summer just as they suggest. I’ve no desire for potroast in July, and mid-January salads don’t cut it for dinner. There are practical considerations, of course; who wants to turn on the oven in July? I do wonder if some of the ‘poisons’ might be related to food storage issues.

  2. I too change me eating and cooking habits depending on the season. I tend to cook heavier meals in the winter. Along with more pies and cakes for dessert. This is mainly due to the use of the oven being on and wanting hotter, heavier foods, like Lasagna during cold fall and winter days. Then there is always the concern come the spring of wanting to eat lighter for the summer months and fitting into my bathing suit…

  3. I don’t know about the health benefits, but seasonal eating makes sense to me. Who wants to eat strawberries in January? The excitement of knowing that peaches, for instance, or sweet corn are only at their best for a few short weeks makes them taste all the sweeter for not being constantly available. And not being raised in artificial conditions, or airfreighted means the seasonal foods are at their tastiest.

  4. My great-aunt Em always served stewed rubarb in the spring (actually the only time it is available) claiming it “thins the blood.”

    But before we could airlift food from Chile and Equador, or flash-freeze strawberries and blueberries, there were seasons for fruit and veggies – remember eating canned beans, canned peaches, canned pears, canned apricots, and (yucch!) canned peas?

  5. I think that instinctively I change my menus to go with the seasons. Here the seasons are so delineated that it is easy to do. Right now it is summer squash and tomatoes in everything!

  6. I can believe that some of their winter meat with warming weather was going bad. Fresh fruit and veggies were a welcome treat!

  7. If I may say so, you’ve unearthed a relevant piece of wisdom from the past, and shared it with the rest of us. Which is very kind.

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