Sadly, summer is over, which means that the bounty of peaches, watermelon, berries, and other summer favorites won’t be as readily available in the coming months. The good news is that fall favorites are about to hit a grocery store or farmer’s market near you. The autumn harvest includes a variety of different fruits and vegetables that you know and love, so get your hands on these items from September through November.
We know what you are thinking, and yes, you can usually get most produce year round at some stores. Why buy out of season produce when you can buy produce that is in season? Not only does buying local and seasonal produce reduce the carbon footprint, but it also helps to support local economies. Oh, and we forgot to mention that buying seasonal produce can actually save you money!
Fall brings many tasty favorites and some produce items that you’ve always wanted to try, but remain hesitant about doing so. This is your season to experiment. We promise to post a wide variety of fall recipes to inspire you to be adventurous in the kitchen. Use the following produce items to make the most of the fall season.
Apples are a classic fall favorite and with so many varieties, it’s hard not to buy some. Fuji apples have a high concentration of flavonoids and phenolics, and most apples have tons of dietary fiber, which benefits digestion. Try quince, a cousin to apples, this fall in desserts, jams, or jellies. Just don’t eat quince raw because it is very bitter.
This is a classic Thanksgiving fruit and the prime season is October through November. Did you know that only 5% of cranberries make it to the produce section? About 95% of cranberries are dried or turned into sugary juices. Cook with fresh cranberries to help benefit your urinary tract and slow the growth of cancer.
The best grape varieties are harvested in the fall, so you know they are fresh, juicy, and delicious. Eat them as a healthy snack, add them to your salads for sweet bursts of flavor, or freeze them to eat as a guilt-free dessert. Grapes actually have a lot of vitamins K and C, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties that help keep your skin healthy.
From Anjou to Bartlett, or Sugar Pears to Forelles, pears are actually a lot healthier than people think. They are rich in pectin, a complex carbohydrate, that helps promote healthy digestion, boosts the immune system, and acts as a detox agent.
Some people love them and some people don’t ever want to eat them. They look like orange tomatoes and have a sweet and spicy flavor. Fuyu persimmons are the sweetest and are rich in beta-carotene. Try them in a sauce or fresh in a fruit salad.
While they are recognized as the fruit that makes up POM juice, pomegranates have been held sacred by ancient religions. The antioxidants in pomegranates may help to decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease, and early studies indicate that they may also help to inhibit breast and colon cancers.
This peppery green can be harvested at different times throughout the year, based on the climate in which it is grown. In warmer climates, it is harvested in fall and winter. You can use it to make pesto or make a classic Italian salad with pine nuts, arugula, lemon juice, and olive oil.
While beets can be available throughout the year, they are best during the fall. They can be a deep red or golden orange. Try to get beets that have their greens attached because you can sauté them or add them to smoothies for a healthy dose of vitamin K. They also contain betaine, which may help to prevent liver disease and heart disease.
Brussels Sprouts & Cabbage
If you can get your hands on Brussels sprouts that grow on the stalk, snatch them up because they last longer than the ones that are cut. Think of Brussels sprouts as mini versions of cabbage. Both of them are packed with cancer-fighting glucosinolates and vitamins A & C.
We know that you can almost always get broccoli, but broccoli thrives during the fall. The cooler temperatures make for a sweeter, less bitter taste. Broccoli is an excellent source of plant-based protein, too!
Rutabagas & Turnips
These definitely don’t win the award for most beautiful vegetables, but they make up for it with their nutritional content. Both turnips and rutabagas may reduce the risk of lung and prostate cancers, and using turnip greens is great way to get calcium.
It’s all about squash for fall and winter. The most popular variety is butternut squash, but you can create some awesome dishes with spaghetti squash and pumpkins. They are great sources of omega-3s and vitamin A.