Surprised? Don’t be, there are seasonal foods in Nigeria.
Eating seasonally means buying things that can be grown locally in their natural weather and climate conditions, which results to less energy, less transit time and cheaper price tag. These foods are fresher, tastes better and is more nutritious.
One of the beauties of seasonal foods is the new experience we get each time we have the opportunity to eat them. Another good thing about seasonal foods is that the ingredients for these meals will be cheap and affordable. This is because it is its season.
Cocoyam is mostly popular among the South easterners and is eaten in various forms. There are two main varieties white and pink varieties.
This tuber crop has properties that prevent, fight and cure many diseases. It contains a good amount of thiamine, copper, manganese, niacine, calcium, vitamins B6, A, E and C.
The time for planting cocoyam is immediately the rain is steady in the area suitable for its cultivation. In Nigeria, planting dates for cocoyam vary from March/April to April/May.
Most cocoyam varieties maturie in about eight months from planting. Harvesting is done by shaking up the plant and uprooting it and bringing out the cormels while those cormels that remain in the soil are dug out. Cormels should not be bruised for proper storage.
2. SWEET POTATOES:
Normally the cycle is completed within 100 to 150 days at which time the plant can be harvested. Sweet potatoes are multiplied by both sexual and asexual means, though the former is only of interest to geneticists and plant breeders.
They are planted in the spring and harvested late August to early November.
Plantains are usually ready for harvest anywhere from 14 to 20 months depending on the climate and other factors. Flowering usually happens within 10-15 months, while an additional 4-8 months is needed for fruit it develop and ripen.
The cultivation season for Plantain is July and September.
Depending on the variety, yams are harvested 6 to 12 months after planting. Lift the tubers when the leaves and stems turn yellow and dry. Do not leave the ripe tubers too long in the ground, otherwise they become bitter and may rot. August is the season for yam and the New Yam festival is always between August and September.
Maize is a tropical plant which prefers warm humid weather. In general, maize requires 120 days (12 weeks) to reach maturity. However, early maturing varieties
take 75 – 80 days
Maize comes out in between last week of May to 2nd week of June and harvested in late September or October.