Summer produce season is long gone (boooooo) but the fall is ushering in some tasty fruits and veggies that can help keep you healthy and thriving, and maybe even pass on that cold that’s about to go around. (when isn’t it?)
To get the full scoop, we liked this handy seasonality chart from CUESA, since we’re in Northern California, but if you’re not a neighbor of ours, you can use Epicurious’ Peak Season Map (which is really cool) – it lets you pick where you are the the month you’re in, since every region differs.
We’ve picked a few of our faves below that are generally available in the fall, along with a couple of simple recipes that can help you incorporate them into meals and snacks. Happy munching!
5 Simple Ways to Enjoy Fall Fruits & Vegetables in Season
Onions are at their nutrient and flavor peak in fall, and full of vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and other nutrients, many of can withstand cooking. They’re a great choice to add in even more liberal quantities. Garlic is also in season, so if you feel a cold or flu coming on, get out your garlic press or a microplane and go to town.
Roasting vegetables is a great option for fall – long cooking times and deepened flavors leads make for tasty nourishment. Roasted vegetables take hardy herbs, like thyme, oregano, or rosemary, so you can add in whole sprigs to cook, then top with leafier herbs like dill, parsley, and cilantro after removing from the oven.
Pro tip: Vegetables that take longer to cook—like pumpkin, beets, and potatoes—should be chopped into smaller pieces to finish along with the quicker-cooking vegetables like cauliflower, fennel, and zucchini.
At this time, many orange vegetables are coming into season, like squash, pumpkins, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Orange vegetables are packed full of beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, and lycopene—nutrients that can reduce cancer risk, benefit eyesight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, wrangle free radicals, and improve the body’s pH levels. In combination with calcium and magnesium, they help increase bone strength as well.
It’s always a wise strategy to combine many colors on a plate, for a broad spectrum of nutrients. Try sautéing green and red cabbage together, or mixing carrot slices in with shredded Brussels sprouts, or mixing chopped sage with panko to add some crunch and flavor to roasted squash.
Fall salads can bring a world of flavors, textures, and nutrients to the table, just as they do in the summer. Try chopping fennel, toss in chicories, like endive, escarole, and radicchio. Or go leafy with kale, spinach, or other hardy green, topping with a warm vinaigrette to make it a bit easier on your jaws.
Try seasoning your salads with minced ginger, fried garlic, or chopped leeks. This is also a great place to meet your quota of fall fruits: figs, grapes, cranberries, persimmon, pears, and pomegranate seeds are all great add-ins for bits of crunchy sweetness. Don’t forget about roasted or candied nuts and soft cheeses, like goat or gorgonzola.
Pro tip: Don’t burn yourself out on spinach and kale too early in the year—with their long-growing seasons, you’ll be seeing these two well into the winter.
If you’re a smoothie drinker, increase your daily vegetable intake by adding beets, chard, and celery root. Since it’s apple-picking season, add chopped apple by the handful as a sweet smoothie base.
Pro tip: Apple + sharp greens can make a great combination when juicing as well.
Adding ginger to any vegetable smoothie can offset those “earthier” tastes. And pie spices (ginger, clove, and cinnamon, plus a bit of turmeric for extra benefits), can help warm up smoothies for people with delicate stomachs. If you want a bit of zing, but you’re sensitive to heat, try celery – it’s at its peak in fall.
If you’re wooed by the smell of dried lavender (angustifolia), toss in a teaspoon along with any blueberries you might still have in your freezer from summer.
Just about any vegetable can be pureed with a bit of oil, herbs, and spice for a simple, delicious soup. Cauliflower Leek soup is a particular standout: puree steamed cauliflower with olive oil for a creamy base, then add leeks and thyme. Add a bit of white pepper to bring it all together.
Stay nourished, save a little by buying what’s local and readily available, and enjoy the brain boosts and healthy eats.
The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.