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The first thing I do when the weather starts to change is write out a list of foods about to come into season. Cooking with the seasons gets me excited about the coming months and the important produce they’ll bring, because seasonal ingredients always taste so much better, and they inspire the dishes I make.
I’m always happiest when seeing my loved ones sitting around the table and smiling as they enjoy fresh, home-cooked food. I have so many amazing memories of suppers shared with my family, the table laid with proper linen, fresh flowers, and bursting with bowls of different foods each season. Our suppers nearly always ended with someone singing a song, or one of us giving some sort of performance. This is now a tradition in my own home, because for me, this is what life is all about: enjoying memorable moments together.
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I call it supper rather than dinner, and you may wonder why. To me, supper is relaxed and informal; it’s all about sharing the food you’ve made around a table where your friends and family feel completely relaxed and at home. I hope that sharing my recipes will inspire you to start hosting your very own seasonal suppers.
Benefits of In-Season Ingredients
Access to fresh ingredients isn’t the only benefit of eating in-season fruits and vegetables. Planning your meals around Earth’s hard-wired harvest calendar keeps your body aligned with its natural nutritional needs. For example, winter provides various citrus fruits, which are packed with vitamin C to ward off colds and the flu during their peak season. Stone fruits grown in summer, such as peaches and nectarines, contain beta-carotenes and other carotenoids that protect the skin from sun damage. In fall, pumpkin comes into season, and brings with it vitamin B, which helps maintain energy levels as the weather starts to cool.
Ingredient Highlight: Sage
Sage is one of the most popular herbs utilized in the kitchen. It's particularly known for its role in traditional Thankgiving dinners as a garnish for the turkey.
Sage grows year-round, so it's the perfect go-to herb to spice up your favorite dishes, no matter the season. Its leaves and flowers are both useful in culinary practices.
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To learn more about sage, read "Every Shade of Sage," Fall 2019.
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Reprinted with permission from Clodagh’s Suppers by Clodagh McKenna © 2019 Kyle Books, and photographs © Dora Kazmierak.