In recent years there has been a growing movement towards sustainable living and one important aspect of this movement is supporting local businesses in our communities worldwide. The UAE is no exception. By opting for seasonal foods we not only promote healthy eating habits but we also play our part in reducing the environmental impact of food transportation.
Choosing seasonal foods is not just a healthier choice, it's also an eco-friendly one. When we choose seasonal produce that doesn’t have to travel long distances, we are supporting local farmers, reducing our carbon footprint, and enjoying fresher and tastier food.
In the UAE, the extreme desert climate might make you think that seasonal produce is limited but that's not the case. The country has a diverse variety of seasonal produce available throughout the year and they're packed with flavor and nutrients.
Have you ever tried the delicious local dates at their peak during the summer months, or savored the juicy mangoes available from May to September?
How about the grapes grown in the cooler regions of the country from May to September or the figs from July to October in the northern parts? And let's not forget the pomegranates, grown in the mountains from September to November, or the citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits, which are in season from November to March. Even some vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, and okra, are grown locally and available seasonally from November to May.
Supporting local businesses and buying seasonal foods not only helps us reduce our carbon footprint but also boosts the local economy and creates job opportunities for people in our neighborhoods. It's a win-win-win situation for people, planet and profit!
By shopping at farmers' markets, joining Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), or attending local events like Ripe Market at Academy Park, Manbat UAE pop-up markets or Al Barari, we can do our part in creating a stronger local food system and supporting the livelihoods of farmers in our communities. Plus, seasonal foods are often fresher, tastier, and more nutritious than foods that are out of season.
Cooking with seasonal produce can be a fun and creative experience and the benefits are numerous. This is the best way to get the most flavorful and nutritious ingredients available.
Seasonal produce is harvested at its peak, which means it's packed with nutrients and flavor. It also means that it's less likely to be shipped long distances which can compromise its freshness and flavor.
Cooking with seasonal produce also allows you to be more creative in the kitchen. You can experiment with new ingredients and flavors, and get inspired by the different colors and textures of the produce.
Cooking with seasonal produce can also be cost-effective. Since seasonal produce is in abundance during its harvest season it's usually less expensive than out-of-season produce.
If you're looking for a fun family day out while also supporting local farmers and producers in the UAE, you should try Manbat's pop-up markets. There you can shop for an impressive range of home-grown produce from all over the country, and you’ll also find child-friendly activities and play areas, tasting opportunities, workshops and other activities to keep the whole family entertained.
These markets open between October and May and are held in various destinations across Sharjah and Dubai, so you can easily find one not far from your location. By visiting these markets, you're not only getting access to delicious, fresh local food, but you're also contributing to the growth of the UAE's agricultural industry.
So, next time you are out shopping, make a conscious choice to buy ingredients produced locally. You can also spread the word about your positive experiences with local businesses on social media or through word of mouth. After all, it all starts with one good deed. And if you're feeling adventurous, try out some recipes using UAE's seasonal foods as the main ingredient. You'll be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to make delicious and sustainable meals!
Look no further than this soft and delightful date cake with walnuts!
Looking for some inspiration on how to cook with seasonal produce? Here is a recipe using UAE's seasonal foods.
To whip up this yummy dessert, you'll need some basic ingredients like butter, flour, walnuts, and pitted dates (we recommend using locally-sourced dates from the UAE for an extra burst of flavor!).
Full list of ingredients:
● 220gr butter (cut into pieces)
● 220gr flour (some extra for dusting)
● 100gr walnuts (shelled)
● 190gr pitted dates (UAE-made is recommended)
● 190gr water
● 80gr sugar (you can add up to 160gr if you prefer)
● 1 tsp baking powder
● 1 tsp baking soda
● 1 tsp ground cinnamon
● 1 tsp salt
● 1 egg (locally produced if available)
● 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
● 140gr date syrup (UAE-made is recommended)
Simply cook the dates and water in a pot until they're nice and soft, then mix in flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, butter, egg, and vanilla extract to create a smooth and creamy batter.
Once the batter is ready, fold in some chopped walnuts and transfer the mixture to a greased and floured cake tin. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for about 45 minutes, then let it cool for a bit before drizzling on some date syrup and sprinkling on some more chopped walnuts.
And voila! You've got yourself a mouthwatering date cake that's sure to please. So why wait? Give this recipe a try and enjoy a slice of heaven today.
We invite you to take a picture of your delicious cake and tag us using #WINSustainably and #cooksustainably to share your “sustainable lifestyle win” with our community on social media.
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