Seasonal Eating in February is a Challenge
Eating seasonal in February is tough, but not impossible. For many of us who focus on creating household menus based on local and seasonal foods, the cupboard is getting pretty thin come Groundhogs Day. If you are new to thinking about creating a seasonal palette, February is best used to plan the year ahead. With this in mind, I’ve listed some recommendations for eating local and seasonal food in February. I also detailed ways to think about the year ahead with next February in mind.
Four season farms are still limited in the Mid-Atlantic Region, but the number is growing every year. My first recommendation is to do some research to identify local farms that offer produce throughout the year. If they have a farm share program (CSA – community supported agriculture), buy into it. This will help you with your food budget while supporting many aspects of your local community: food security, local economy, etc. Not sure how to begin the research, start here.
Planning Your Ingredients and Menus
If you are a gardener, make sure to teach yourself season extension practices that will help you have fresh winter greens throughout the season. While building a cold frame may be the first thing that comes to mind to help you have yummy lettuces, arugula, and the like available in the darkest days of winter, there are easier solutions. Raised beds covered with a fabric called agribon are an easy and flexible option. Click here to learn more.
As you plan your garden, make sure to think about your skills in food preservation and plant more of those items you feel capable of putting up for the coming winter. Canning tomatoes, making sauerkraut, putting up some refrigerator pickles require basic skills. I would recommend starting with easy-to-preserve items and expanding your pantry from there.
If you are not a gardener and your schedule does not easily accommodate a farm share, then make sure you regularly visit your local farmers’ markets. Learn how to buy in bulk and put up foods for winter months. Blanching and freezing would be the easiest method for preserving these items in a timely manner.
A Basic Seasonal Menu for February
Quiche, salad, bread, iced/hot tea. This is your basic menu in February. Shop around for farm fresh eggs, a bag of salad greens, and a local herbal tea blend. The salad can be dressed with tomato vinaigrette and the quiche can be enhanced with preserved vegetables like more of those canned tomatoes, frozen swiss chard, caramelized onions from the cold cellar. Local cheeses are easily purchased; perhaps a goat cheese would be tasty. Anything…anything improves with bacon, IMHO. If you have a favorite local butcher, definitely round out your winter meals with bacon!
Lots of us have dietary restrictions these days. I, myself follow a keto-adapted diet. So, things for me to consider are making the quiche crustless, finding a salad dressing recipe that does not add sugar, making sure my teas are not bitter so they also don’t need sugar or honey. On the upside, I use a lot of healthy fats to enhance the flavors of my seasonal meals in February.
These links will help you find recipes to get seasonal in February:
- Here’s a nice, simple crustless quiche recipe that uses spinach, a very winter-hearty green. I might substitute local goat cheese rather than the mozzarella. I also have fresh thyme and cilantro in my winter garden, and I might use one or the other for seasoning.
- Tomato Vinaigrette for your winter greens salad using canned tomatoes from last summer’s harvest will easily brighten your late-winter meal.
Easy and tasty. Enjoy!
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