The start of autumn always reminds us just how much food we have on our doorsteps. Bramley apples and blackberries are in plentiful supply at this time of year and not only are they delicious and healthy, they can also help you to save some money too.
Seasonal eating is all about buying and eating fruit and vegetables at their natural growing times. Here we explain how eating seasonally can have a great impact on your health and, more importantly, on your bank balance!
Why do food prices change throughout the year?It costs a lot for producers to package, transport, and store produce out of season and this expense is inevitably transferred to the consumer – you and I! For example, the last of this summer’s British strawberries will soon be disappearing from the shelves.
Those available over the winter months (November to March) will most likely be imported from Spain, Egypt or Morocco. You might have noticed that the price of strawberries in the shops fell as they came into season in the UK.
If you do want to have some strawberries in the winter, or spinach when it isn’t in season, take a look at your supermarkets frozen section! Frozen vegetables can be a cheaper alternative than buying fresh – and they’re available all year round and count towards your five a day.
Pick your ownGetting hold of the best fresh fruit and vegetables can also double up as a great family day out. In the summer, picking your own strawberries in the sun is a brilliant way to teach kids about where their food comes from.
With Halloween approaching, pick your own farms are another option to pick up a pumpkin or two. While you’re at it, once you’ve scraped out the seeds and flesh, why not make this tasty pumpkin soup?
You might also wish to consider seasonal fresh alternatives, such as blackberries that can be foraged for free from hedgerows. With just a bag of oats, a few apples, and some basic store cupboard items, your foraged blackberries can be transformed into a tasty crumble.
Grow your ownYou don’t need to have a huge garden to start producing your own vegetables. It might require a touch of creativity, but everyone can access their own, home-grown products for a small initial cost.
For example, an old dustbin can be easily transformed into a potato patch. Just add some compost and a single spud and, before you know it, you will have multiple potatoes to roast, mash or chip.
You might also look for a community garden or an allotment where you can volunteer in your spare time and receive the fruits of your labour in return – for free!
Reduce your food wasteIn 2015, the UK produced an estimated 7.3 million tonnes of food waste, that’s £13 billion, or an average of £470 per household, worth of food! This is a significant amount of money which could provide a huge boost to your finances. More locally grown products should remain in prime condition for a longer time, reducing the amount of food waste.
So eating products while they’re in season is good for your bank balance and your body – what’s not to like? Of course, seasonal produce is not always easily available, so buying frozen can be a great alternative. Either way, by adding greater variety, this is a great way to save cash and improve your health at the same time.
To see what’s in season throughout the year, have a look at this handy table.
Do you have your own tips for saving money? Share your ideas with us on Facebook and Twitter.
This article was checked and deemed to be correct as at the above publication date, but please be aware that some things may have changed between then and now. So please don't rely on any of this information as a statement of fact, especially if the article was published some time ago.