Did you know that even MEAT is a seasonal food?
If we take a moment to think about it, it makes sense. Let's look at salmon, which is an ideal example of a seasonal protein. While yes, you can find them any time of the year, there are certain times that the local variety will be better than others (and you ARE eating locally now, aren't you...?). Salmon start bulking up in the winter months, getting ready for their epic up-stream battles spawn in the spring and early summer. If they are Atlantic salmon, they will likely survive this trip and make their way back out to the ocean for Round Two. If they are Pacific salmon, however, this will be their last hurrah... but hey, at least they get to go out spawning, right?
Anyway, this herculean effort of swimming hundreds of miles from ocean to spawning grounds in the spring and early summer produces a firm but flaky flesh on our fishies, while still maintaining high levels of amino acids and peptides that our bodies need. But if you go after a salmon once they have spawned, and have exhausted themselves from the journey, you may literally find yourself with rotting fish-flesh, as they tend to die-off once they have completed their procreational goal.
I told you all of that to tell you this: Everything has a season; your fruits, your veggies, your fish/poultry/beef, everything. Hell, even your fashion has a season... not that some of you notice...
Here's a handy starting point (by no means exhaustive) to whet your appetite for a more careful selection of proteins (thanks to Delicious Living):
Spring.Emphasize lighter meats, like chicken, white-meat, and turkey. Fish is very moist, so in the damp spring months, it’s best cooked with techniques that don’t add liquid.
Best dishes: Grilled chicken breast, baked white fish, broiled salmon
Summer.Eat less animal protein in general, and emphasize white fish and mollusks, which are cooling and moist. White-meat chicken is okay, especially if eaten cold.
Best dishes: Steamed mussels, lightly sautéed scallops, boiled shrimp, chicken salad
Fall.You can begin to increase your intake of animal protein, and add some heavier selections, like dark-meat chicken and turkey or lean beef. Oily fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines are ideal now.
Best dishes: Broiled salmon, lean steak
Winter.Dark, heavy meats cooked with more liquid bring warmth and moisture to the body during the cold winter months. Or choose fatty fish in thicker cuts to allow longer cooking times.
Best dishes: Roast beef, lamb stew, buffalo burgers, bouillabaisse
Whatever you decide to make, I hope that you will consider the benefits of eating seasonally!