As the temperatures drop and leaves turn an array of beautiful burnt orange, golden brown and deep red, Fall’s hearty vegetables and sweet fruit are ready and ripe. Autumn’s abundant harvest includes a wide variety of colors and flavors you can use to make an endless number of delicious dishes from cold salads to warm comforting soups and casseroles. Not only is in-season produce the best price among all fresh produce but it is also picked at its peak of ripeness for exceptional taste and eye-popping color.
What’s even better, when you switch what you eat with the seasons you are more likely to get a wider variety of vitamins, minerals and healthy plant compounds such as antioxidants.
Loaded with fiber, potassium, magnesium and vitamins A & C, butternut squash tastes great when cubed and roasted or you can turn it into a sweet dish by baking it with pecans and cranberries.
Though we often think of oranges for vitamin C, cauliflower is an excellent source of this nutrient. And as fall can sometimes mean the start of cold and flu season, the more vitamin C the better! My favorite ways to enjoy this vegetable – roasted until it becomes crispy and caramelized and then I toss it with lemon juice and Parmesan cheese. You’ve probably also seen cauliflower mashed potatoes – these are very easy to make and you can either mix them in with mashed potatoes or make them separately by steaming cauliflower and blending them with low-fat milk, yogurt or sour cream and a little bit of light butter along with a dash of salt and pepper (pour into a baking dish, and bake until bubbly).
The most well known Fall fruit does more than just light up your front porch. Pumpkin is actually a type of squash loaded with vitamins A & C. Stuffed pumpkin provides a sweet, delicious healthy snack when combined with apples, pineapple (another Fall fruit), raisins and spices. You can also make pumpkin muffins, pumpkin & sweet potatoes as a side dish and of course roast the seeds for a good dose of healthy fats along with several minerals including magnesium, zinc and copper and a good dose of protein. For more Pumpkin details see Pumpkin Nutrition – Fall Pumpkin Overload is Good For You!
Radicchio and Swiss Chard
These dark green leafy vegetables contain antioxidant carotenoids and lend a different flavor to your dishes than the greens you may typically reach for. So, add them to your scrambled eggs, soups, stir-fry dishes and stews.
If you are overwhelmed by the choices and not sure where to start, pick one new fruit or vegetable you have never tried or rarely eat and whip up a new dish. By the end of this season you will have plenty of new tasty dishes to delight your taste buds and contribute to overall health.