Fall is fantastic in its own right – the stifling summer dispels into refreshing coolness, the leaves change colors and rain over the landscape, and a whole new set of crops starts creeping into the farmer’s market. I love all food, but I especially like the autumn cornucopia and look forward to it every year.
I, of course, mean no disrespect to spring and summer, with all those berries, tomatoes, cucumbers and so on, but fall’s bounty just feels so right. The weather cools down, and suddenly the food amps up. The fruits get more substantial –veggies, too. It’s just a nice change of pace, and a warm bowl of soup on a crisp October evening brings about the most appreciative smile.
So, in preparation for fall’s kickoff, here’s a great list of Fall items to look out for – coming soon to a farmer’s market near you – and some fantastic recipes for putting them to use.
Summer squash is good, but fall squash is an altogether different and, in my opinion, more delicious vegetable. Suddenly, those dinky zucchinis give way to massive butternut and acorn squashes – vegetables that might break a toe if they are dropped right. And, goodness, aren’t they the bee’s knees when roasted or blended up into a creamy soup?
Same deal as the squash: Pumpkins are hulk-like veggies, rotund and ripped, with a nice touch of sweet that resonates through a dish. They are autumn’s watermelon, I like to think, boulders stacked below the vegetable stands. Put them in a pie (a bunch of pies! Don’t wait for Thanksgiving) or a pasta.
The news is out, and the world has really embraced sweet potatoes over the last few years. Seriously, what’s not to like? Starchy like a potato, but good for the sweet tooth at the same time, allowing both savory and sweet preparation. Plus, they are way healthier. Pair them with some chickpeas (either this way or that) or make some delicious burgers (this way or that).
These bite-sized delights are far, far too often overlooked, and it’s time to right that wrong if you haven’t yet. Brussels sprouts are crazy delicious and much more versatile than they are given credit for. Like the aforementioned four on this list, these little veggies make smiles happen when they are roasted, but there is definitely more than one way to convert doubters into believers.
While available year round, fall is the right time for cauliflower, and for plant-based cooks, the “meaty” veg has become quite the rage for good eats. I’ve long liked cauliflower raw, steamed, sautéed, curried, and soup-ed, but why not check out some of these new digs, like cauliflower picatta or orange cauliflower?
Okay, so this fruit at least appears a bit dainty, but in truth, it’s a nutritionally packed — anti-oxidants galore — and flavorsome addition to the fall menu. Of course, pomegranate juice has proven to be a delicious and nutritious way to receive the health benefits, but pomegranate is great for tossing into all manner of things, from oatmeal (perfect for fall mornings) to main dishes to desserts.
While available magically throughout the year, apples are a fall fruit and will taste the best then. So, autumn is the time for making the most of ubiquitous apple, especially when it comes to cooking it up for something hot and saucy, like, say, apple-of-my-eye pie. Or in some toasty muffins for breakfast. Or in a warm loaf of homemade bread.
Often taking a back seat to apples, pears have their own special flavor (and shape for that matter) and deserve due attention. Fall is the perfect time for appreciating them. They, of course, are also very well suited for sweets, such as strudel and tarts, but don’t be afraid to toss them in some oatmeal or a smoothie. Also, be sure to just eat some as they are.
Somehow, for me, tangerines feel so right and so wrong at the same time. They taste like something I’d have in the summer but are such a holiday season staple. Whatever the case, when the season hits, I will eat them non-stop, both because they are delish and fight off colds. I like them on their own, three or four at a time, but they also go well in salads (or salad dressings) and sweets.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons