Besides Turkey (and Thanksgiving Fixins) What Foods Are Only/Usually Eaten Seasonally?

People eat turkey year-round also. But there’s a specific time of year when it’s eaten in substantially larger amounts by a substantially larger number of people.

Lol! I’m a fruitcake lover, myself.

Other similar Christmas cakes are stollen and pannetone.

Gingerbread is another one only eaten around Christmastime.

Yes, speaking of seasonal fruits-- paw paws. Likely unknown in most places but specific to eastern US. They are very unique and I think the only “tropical” fruit native to the US. It’s a very delicious fruit, only ripe around late August/early Sept. I wish I could still get them, but they don’t grow where I live now, and they’re apparently impossible to ship.

I’m gonna keep my bad joke to myself.

You can’t make matzah brei without matzah.

Every Pesach I make that and love it and promise myself I’ll make again during the rest the year and never do.

There is pan de muerto, the bread specific for Day of the Dead in Mexican culture. And that King cake with the plastic baby inside for Mardis Gras.

Ruth Reichl wrote about making this in her autobiography “Tender at the Bone” and Mom made it after reading that book

I didn’t until the 2020 lockdown. On the day they announced that we would be locked down, I ran out to the grocery store to stock up. Since it was not long before Passover, I decided to buy one of those big cases of five boxes of matzoh, thinking that it would last a long time and if I couldn’t get bread, at least I would have matzoh. Once Passover ended, I kept making matzoh brei regularly as I used up those boxes. Of course, since the lockdown ended, I haven’t made it except for Passover.

I’m one of the mutants that periodically buys matzoh during the year, but I pretty much treat it as a cracker - I just love it with the thinnest schmear of salted butter and that’s it.

Second apparent mutation, I’ll make egg nog several times a year (from scratch, because, otherwise, shudder). Mostly because I love it. That doesn’t mean I won’t make it for New Years as well, I’ll make it during any of the colder months. It is a bit heavy for a spring/summer drink though.

But that brings up a point inherent to the OP - some foods we eat seasonally because while not impossible to have year-round (first world problems!), they don’t make as much sense the rest of the year. I mean, I love LOVE a good hot chocolate, but having one when it’s 70 overnight and 90 during the day? Hard pass. So it’s a “seasonal” food. Same for a lot of heavy soups and stews in my rotation.

Foods that are primarily for a single holiday are often socially / religiously mandated, and thus feel ‘off’ outside the expected dates are more specific, and more understandable.

In Sween, surströmming is most commonly eaten in late August when that year’s herring harvest traditionally “premieres”, in accordance with an old law that has since become tradition. This, of course, stands in bold contrast to what common sense would seem dictate, which is that surströmming should not be eaten at any time of year.

I only ever make a Bûche de Noël for Winter Solstice.

Once a year is plenty.

Now this is one that should be done for each season. Yum!

I’ve never had it, but a lot a Japanese have ozoni for New Years. Ozoni differs from clear soups to red bean soup, with the common ingredient being a piece of mochi on top

For Chinese New Year, the must have for Chinese families is Jai (Monk’s food). A vegetarian dish with various recipes, dried bean curd the common ingredient and in the versions I ate always had a sauce made fermented tofu. It was the fermented tofu that made or broke the dish.

Kagami mochi is two discs of mochi, stacked one of top of the other. The top disc is slightly smaller and in my house, topped with a tangerine. Kagami mochi is only available for New Year’s. It’s now available prepacked in a plastic shell so you can reuse it over and over.

However, growing up, we only had bare discs that would develop a hard shell because it was exposed to the air. It was left on display early New Year’s Day and only taken down the next day. We would then take them down and boil them soften and eat it with kinako (roasted soybean powder) and sugar.

We had other types of mochi throughout the year, but eating the kagami mochi was special because it brought good luck.

For Chinese New Year, there’s gau, similar to mochi, but unlike mochi which is usually unsweetened, rice flour, gau is made with brown sugar, giving it a sweet nutty flavor.

Growing up, our Chinese landlord would give us a pie sized gau that we would told not to eat right away (I never found out why) but to wait a few days… Like kagami mochi, it quickly develops a crust and dries out. I wasn’t until decades later, that I learned that gau shouldn’t be dry and crumbly, but moist and soft!

New Year’s also meant andagi, round Okinawan donuts, similar, but less sweet than a cake donut. This was a must have for our first meal of the New Year, always at my Uncle and Aunt’s house after midnight. My Aunt and paternal grandmother would occasionally make it throughout the year and it was always a special treat, but never as good as the New Year’s.

We also ate Japanese sweetened black beans from a can. I’ve asked others, but it seems this was unique to my Mom, her sisters and my non-blood related Aunt. It’s available year round, but was only bought and eaten at New Year’s.

There’s also nishime for New Year’s. Nishime is a Japanese stew made with root vegetables, usually carrots, gobo (burdock root), lotus root, konbu (strip seaweed), pork or chicken and my favorite araimo (Japanese taro), that’s sticky, slimy and delicious!

Chestnuts. Or so I’ve heard.

Do candies count?

Candy corn, Circus peanuts and those awful orange and black wrapped taffies? for Halloween.

Peeps used to only be available for Easter, but I’ve seen snowmen for Chistmas.

If so, we’ve got conversation hearts for Valentine’s Day, Cadbury creme eggs and Starburst jelly beans for Easter, and Terry’s chocolate oranges for Xmas. Turkish delight is also big for Xmas here in the PNW, primarily from Liberty Orchards out of Cashmere.

Oh…forgot those hard candy ribbons, peppermint air bonbons and those fake fruit shaped jellies for Christmas.

Terry’s chocolate oranges. Is that the chocolate ball you whack on the table and it breaks into segments? I’ve seen it on TV, but never tried it.

Indeed. It’s chocolate flavored with orange oil, and there are several different varieties with regular chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, etc. Last year there was a variant that had pop rocks embedded in the chocolate, which I didn’t try, but certainly sounds interesting. I think they’re more of a year-round thing in the UK, but stateside they’re strictly available around Christmastime.

In Japan (or maybe just Tokyo), they have Kentucky Fried Chicken for dinner at Christmas.

Some of it likely is used in Matzo ball soup, which is found year-round at my several of my local bagel shops. I had a bowl last week.