I’m reading another great book for my course call “The End of Food – how the industry is destroying our food supply – and what you can do about it” by Thomas F. Pawlick. I’ve only read the first 2 chapters and I’m already inspired to share what I’m learning.
His first chapter is called “Red tennis balls” where Pawlick shares his experience with buying some tomatoes out of season. He purchases some bright red tomatoes that are rock hard. He expects them to ripen quickly because they were red when he bought them. He keeps checking on them, day after day, and eventually 2 weeks go by, and they’re still hard, and actually start sprouting on the inside.
He goes on to explain the process when we buy produce that is out of season and shipped from California or Florida. Tomatoes for example, are picked when they are green, and loaded into trucks. After transport, they are sprayed with ethylene (a plant hormone) in “ripening rooms” to make them red. The result is a rock hard, flavorless, red tomato that isn’t actually ripe.
On the flip side, when you buy tomatoes in season they are allowed to ripen naturally. When ethylene is allowed to do its job the way nature intended; the sugars accumulate right before the tomatoes are ready, giving them their sweet flavor, natural colour & softness. Vine-ripened tomatoes are also higher in vitamin C than the other fake-ripened tomatoes. Doesn’t that sound more appealing than “ripening room” tomatoes?
My advice to you: eat seasonally! Foodland Ontario is a great resource to find out what produce is in season at what time of year, and usually the grocery store flyers will correspond. Your local farmer’s markets are also a great resource. Buy local, seasonal produce, and cook & bake accordingly.
Some produce that’s in season in Ontario right now:
-apples (select varieties)
ps. my laptop is on the fritz…I’m dropping it off at some random place in Barbados today…hopefully I’ll be back and blogging again in a few days!