Ask the Expert: What Gives Foods The Best Flavour?
Lora-Lee of The Healthy Owl walks us through the different ways to get the best flavours from our foods!
What Gives Food The Best Flavour?
Q: What gives food the most or best flavour: fresh, local, organic, or in-season?
Lora-Lee: We love local which leads us toward cooking in-season! We are fortunate that we have access to all kinds of foods, whether in-season or not, but when available, nothing beats fresh and local produce.
Fruits and vegetables that don’t have to travel hundreds (or many thousands!) of miles can be harvested when they are at their peak, since they do not have to survive the travel time and bumps of distance shipping.
The difference in fruit and produce that have been harvested when ripe versus those harvested early (green) to survive long distance shipping is almost indescribable – they are like two different products.
We adjust our menu items as the seasons change, both for the quality of the food available, but also the feeling of alignment with nature that follows.
Our baked loaves change from fall/winter Cranberry-Orange to spring Rhubarb Pecan; our summer Asparagus soup segues to our fall Butternut Squash or Harvest Vegetable soup. It’s an opportunity to look forward to and enjoy whatever each season has to offer!
Q: What is the best way to prepare foods to maximize flavour and nutrients?
Lora-Lee: This varies so much depending on what is being prepared! The flavours in a hearty stew, chili or curry can really benefit from longer simmering time, whereas a lighter meal, like a stir fry featuring fresh, softer vegetables (e.g. asparagus, sweet bell peppers, broccoli) and fresh herbs keep their flavour and texture best when cooked until just done.
Q: Where do you recommend grocery shopping for the best fresh fruits and vegetables?
Lora-Lee: We have two local Farmers Markets close by! In addition to being able to source local fruits and vegetables, the market is a fabulous opportunity to speak with the people who grow/harvest their products, ask questions and get advice about what to look for in a particular item, what flavours might combine well with it or how best to prepare or use in a dish. Many people rarely have the opportunity to meet and speak with the people behind their food – we are so fortunate!
The Healthy Owl offers a variety of plant-based, natural, and whole-food options to help you manage your diet and healthy lifestyle.
Click HERE to visit their website for more information!