by Veronique Wojcik
With the arrival of fall comes a huge array of fruits and vegetables in season. We all love our apples and pumpkins, but we can’t forget about mushrooms, butternut squash, eggplant, pears, parsnips, peas, tomatoes and so many others. From fresh to roasted or even air fried, fall produce has a variety of ways they can be prepared. From amateur to practicing chef, this fall’s harvest can be sprinkled in your meals in many ways.
It’s important to shop in season – it’s not only fresher, tastier, and more nutritious, but it’s also good for the planet. Shorter transportation distances result in a lower total carbon emissions from transportation vehicles. In season produce is also better for us nutritionally because fruits and vegetables have the highest nutritional value when they are first harvested. When produce is in season, transportation gets cut in half, leaving us with fresher fruits and veggies, which are not only more ripe but sweeter as well.
If you’re just starting out in the kitchen, roasted vegetables and salads are great ways to begin. For salads, use greens such as kale, spinach, and mustard greens to stay in season. Then add your favorite toppings as well as an accompanying vinaigrette and that’s lunch! Roasted vegetables are another easy meal plan; grab some butternut squash, cut into the desired shape then toss in some oil and cinnamon for a nice fall flavor. For a more savory dish, make a pan of oven roasted parsnips with onions and mushrooms. An even simpler recipe is roasted apples – place a couple of apples on a lined baking sheet and pop in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes. Add a little sprinkle of cinnamon along with a light drizzle of honey and you’re done.
If you’re more of a cook, try incorporating your fall produce into baked goods such as galettes or tarts. The flaky buttery crust of galettes are perfectly suited for pears or plums. It’s also a great idea to use warm spices such as nutmeg, allspice, cloves, or cinnamon to complete your fall baking and warm you up from the brisk winds outdoors. If you prefer breads over pastry, it’s the perfect opportunity to mix up your favorite focaccia recipe by sprinkling some fresh herbs such as rosemary or thyme. If you’re more on the go, no worries, pick up some grapes or plums as a fresh snack.
Seasonal produce not only offers us a way to spice up our beloved recipes, but it is also more nutritious. So next time you pick up your basket at the grocery store or are strolling through a farmers market, keep some fall produce items in mind and your stomach will thank you.