I recently read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan, a book that reminded me of what a privilege and pleasure it is to be able to eat fresh produce year round. Fresh, locally grown food inevitably tastes better than store-bought stuff, and the nutritional content can be much higher as well.
In fact, this is one of my favourite aspects of spending a lot of time in Japan, where there is a long history of knowing what to eat, and when best to eat it.
Take these bamboo shoots for instance:
Fresh bamboo shoots from the bamboo forest next door
One of my neighbors owns land with a bunch of bamboo trees on it, and each year around this time, the family picks fresh bamboo shoots and shares with the neighborhood.
If you've never seen fresh bamboo shoots, they don't look like much more than hairy stumps. But when you peel the fuzzy covering off and get to the tender, succulent part inside...yummy! So much tastier than canned bamboo products.
We've made a couple of dishes so far, the first being a simple stir-fry of bamboo shoots, fresh green peppers and garlic:
Stir-fried bamboo shoot with green pepper and garlic
And just now, we made steamed rice with bamboo, chicken and really fresh green peas:
Steamed rice with chicken, bamboo shoots and green peas
The only thing better than making the dishes is eating them!