Here at Garden School Foundation we are all about eating well, and that can easily be accomplished by keeping things simple and delicious. We want to help spread the word that healthy cooking can be fun and easy, and does not always have to be a complicated process. A good way to put these ideas into practice is by paying close attention to seasonality. By using the freshest ingredients you can enjoy the fullest flavors naturally without unnecessary enhancements, for example, excessive amounts of salt, sugars, or oils.
In the cooler months of fall and winter we like to cook with a variety of root vegetables because they can stand up to the cold temperatures. Their natural defense against freezing is producing sugars, which gives them a tasty flavor. When it is too hot they don't develop such a full, rich flavor that they do in the cooler temperatures.
In the summer time we like to cook with, or even just snack on fresh, juicy fruits straight out of the garden. The heat from the summer sun releases an enzyme that helps fruit ripen by creating a chemical break down that happens inside the fruits. Starches are converted into natural sugars, and the moisture content inside the fruit increase, making it juicier. Acids become neutralized so the fruit is no longer as sour as when it is under-ripe. Chlorophyll is broken down and changes the color of the fruit from green to red, orange or purple, signifying to us that it is ready to eat!
Here you can see the stages or ripeness in our garden through the strawberries. The center berry is becoming red, plump and juicy. The paler strawberries on the outer edges are not quite ready and will be hard, bitter and sour because they have not yet gone through the chemical break down.
Here is a line up of citrus fruits in varying stages of ripeness. You can see how some fruits look full and colorful, while others have been broken down too much and are now beginning to rot. So here you can definitely see how important it is to eat fruits and vegetables at the right time!