Pumpkins, butternut squash, apples, and pomegranates tend to steal the spotlight when fall produce items hit supermarket shelves. Those produce items deserve love and high praise, but there are many autumnal fruits and vegetables that people neglect. Some people want to try them, but they are different and require new recipes. Experimentation is a beautiful thing, especially when it comes to seasonal produce!
How can you know what produce items are in season? The best seasonal produce items will be available at a local farmer’s market, where you can discuss how to eat, use, or cook with new produce items. You can also find seasonal produce at many local grocery stores. Seasonal produce always tastes better because it’s fresher and gets to ripen longer before picking.
There’s no shame in buying fall favorites, but it’s beneficial to step outside your comfort zone and try other seasonal produce items. You may be familiar with how the following fall produce items look, but you may not know what they are or how to use them. Seize the opportunity to eat them before they are out of season. Comment below if you have any questions about these fruits and vegetables.
This may not be the most attractive vegetable, but it is extremely versatile and contains beneficial antioxidants, minerals, and fiber. Celeriac, or celery root, is a perfect potato substitute. You can boil it and mash it, or cube, season, and roast it. Cooking celeriac helps to mellow the flavor, but it also enhances the inherent sweetness. You can also enjoy it raw, incorporating it into fall slaws or salads.
Everyone is familiar with broccoli, but do you know about it’s cooler, more flavorful relative, broccoli rabe? It is closely related to the turnip and offers a crisp, slightly bitter flavor in the stem and with nutty broccoli-esque buds. It is a rich source of vitamins A, C, & K, calcium, iron, and folate. You can sauté, steam, roast, or grill broccoli rabe with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, garlic, and lemon juice for a perfectly healthy side dish.
Butternut squash and pumpkin seem to reign supreme in the fall and winter squash category. Delicata squash is striking in its appearance, but it’s not the most popular autumnal squash. It has a prominent earthy flavor similar to butternut squash and pumpkin. It’s an easy squash to prepare and cook as it does not require peeling or roasting beforehand. It’s best to cut it in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and roast it for about 30-40 minutes at 425º F.
The Latin name for the persimmon tree translates to “food of the gods,” so you know it must be an amazing fruit. Persimmons exhibit powerful antioxidants and a high fiber content. Some studies found that the antioxidants may help fight inflammatory stress during flu & cold season (a.k.a. fall). You can eat persimmons raw like apples or pears, or you can add them to salads. They pair well with assertive flavors like arugula or mixed greens. There are many sweet and savory recipes that feature persimmons as well.
Asian pears look like oversized apples, and many people mistake them for apples. The skin is caramel and each pear often has a protective white dressing around it in stores. The texture is crisp and juicy and the flavor is quite refreshing and sweet. It’s best to enjoy them fresh on their own, but you can slice them into thin slivers and add them to salads. Once you taste an Asian pear, you may never want to eat a regular pear or apple ever again.
Looking like a yellow-green pear and apple hybrid, quince is a hard green fruit native to parts of Asia and the Mediterranean. They are excellent sources of vitamin C, copper, fiber, and offer a small amount of B vitamins and magnesium. They do, however, exhibit potent antioxidant activity, helping to protect cells from unstable free radicals. Quinces are rarely eaten raw because they have an extremely sour and astringent flavor. More often than not, people add quince to stews, soups, or baked desserts.
Moon Drop Grapes:
If you stumbled across Moon Drop grapes in the wild, you might think they were mini eggplants. They have a deep purple skin and are more cylindrical or oblong than the average grape. They have a high concentration of antioxidants and exhibit a sweeter, crunchier flavor than regular green or red grapes. Take advantage of them during their short season by snacking on them or adding them to salads.