January Food and Recipe Musings – Southwest BC

This post is about EATING SEASONALLY in SOUTHWEST BC in JANUARY.

Seasonal Recipe Repo here! (WIP – only 11 more months to go!)

Let me tell you what is in season in YVR!!

Savoy cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, mushrooms, red onions, yellow onions, parsnips and, according to my source, kiwis. Not a lot.

If you planned ahead, you may still have apples, artichokes, beans, beets, green cabbage, garlic, potatoes, rutabaga, shallots, winter squash, and turnips if you did some cold storage or your handy dandy farmers/grocery store did some cold storage.

In summary, ROOT VEGETABLES AND GOURDS. I have dreams of strawberry spinach salads….

I was only really able to find 20-30 recipes from my trusty recipe blog list that I really wanted to share. It is a sign though – it’s a lot harder to eat seasonally in the winter (hence why I started this spreadsheet).

I wonder if there’s a graph anywhere that shows how much food we import into the country in the winter vs the summer.

Notable thoughts I have had in January thus far:

  • There are still lots of apples around if you are interested in applesauce, apple leather, apple chips and apple desserts.
  • There seem to be quite a lot of good lentil soup and onion soup recipes, which I have omitted because I find them generally boring.
  • January would be a great time to pull out jars of seasonal produce you canned/froze last summer (tomatoes, pickles, pizza sauce, etc). Maybe next year?
  • Did you know you can make your own apple cider vinegar? I saved my scraps from some organic apples and will start this this month. I’ll let you know how it turns out in 2-3 months O_O
  • Rice is definitely not local. I love rice.
  • Lemons and limes are also not grown locally (I think). I am still trying to figure out my lemon and lime feelings.

Ta-ta for now!

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Introducing: My Seasonal Recipe Repo!

This post is (hopefully) the first of many posts about SEASONAL EATING.

Link to my Seasonal Recipes Repo here!!

Lately, I have been doing a lot of research about FOOD. Like: how to grow food in small areas, who are the local farmers, what food sustainability even means and how we teach kids about food. I have also been volunteering with Fresh Roots over the past year.

All of the info is a bit confusing and contradictory. I am trying not to get too hung up on details, exceptions, rules and being nit picky, but overall I am trying to eat more BC vegetables and fruit, keep growing my own food (rip backyard garden), eat sustainable poultry and fish, buy food closer to farmers, waste less food and eat food predominantly food “made in Canada”.

Anyway. We are lucky to live right by a great grocery store (Donald’s Market) that has an awesome mix of local/non-local food. Also, they don’t have flyers because THE STUFF THAT IS ON SALE IS IN SEASON.

I have come to the conclusion though that eating more locally and more seasonally is:

  1. CHEAPER: Food that is in season is on sale in almost all grocery stores, including bigger box grocery stores.
  2. HEALTHIER: If it’s grown closer to home, there’s a way better chance it has less preservatives in it.
  3. TASTY: Tomatoes in February taste like styrofoam.
  4. ECONOMICALLY GOOD: I would rather support farms that are closer and preferably Canadian.
  5. ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY: Large quantities of energy are used to bring in food from faraway places.

So back to the reason why I am blogging.

I like to cook, a lot. I think it runs in our blood.

I also like to try new recipes. BUT,

COOKING + NEW RECIPES + SEASONAL EATING = a whoooole lot of cookbook and online recipe food blog reading and a whoooole lot of browser bookmarks every time I want to cook anything. SOMANYBOOKMARKS and THISTAKESSOMUCHTIME

I tried a few tools to try to organize my recipes, but have come to the conclusion that none of them have the search dimensions I want. This is why I decided to create this sharable “Seasonal Recipe” repository. With this repo, you can/will be able to search by month, type of recipe, or whether it’s a veggie or non-veg recipe. You can also search by ingredient, so if you have carrots all up in your grill, you can ctrl-f to see which recipes use carrots even if carrots is not in the name of the recipe.

I have only done one month so far (this month!). I am hoping other people will find this useful as I do more months over the next year!

This spreadsheet is obviously still a WIP. I want to be able to find a way to attach pictures to recipes (so I can add physical recipes). I also want it to be obvious when veg/fruit are going out of season, so you know to start preserving before it goes out of season (canning, freezing, cold storage etc). I also also am not sure how useful this spreadsheet will be to people who live outside of my growing zone. Vancouver has a much nicer growing season than Ontario. Not as nice as Australia.

Please leave me a comment in the second tab or on this post if you have any suggestions to make this spreadsheet more useful (or more pretty!) You can also comment with recipes that I missed.

That’s all for now! See below (above?) for my January Food and Recipe musings.