In the West, our diets are more varied (and more complicated) than ever. Unlike for the majority of human history, our nutrition is no longer dictated by what is immediately, geographically available to us. Instead, it is dictated by our taste, and whatever we pick up on a whim in Tesco Express: global produce that was once inaccessible, from bananas to avocados to quinoa. These foods have become a staple of modern, middle class, health-conscious diets – often without a second thought to how they got here. And more often than not, these items remain available and relatively fresh on our supermarket shelves at any time of year.
This may have broadened our palates but at a time when more people than ever are changing their diet for the sake of the planet, it's worth thinking about not only what we eat but how far it may have travelled to get here.
Eating 'seasonally' is a great way to start doing this. It may seem obvious, but food that can be homegrown at the time of year you're in doesn't have to travel as far to your plate, making it much more environmentally friendly. Happily it does not mean cutting yourself off from all the amazing ingredients we've grown accustomed to accessing in the UK – it just means reframing and focusing on what is tastiest, when it is tastiest.
Ahead, we've listed five of our favourite ingredients that are currently in season (and therefore at their most readily available AND delicious) in the UK. Many of these recipes also use other seasonal ingredients, making them even better for the environment.
Hopefully this can start to encourage you to think more locally about the way you cook and enjoy every mouthful along the way. If you're inspired, you can find a full list of what's in season at any time of year here.