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What’s In Season Now: An Introduction to Autumn Flavors

September 18, 2013

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Fall is my favorite time of year. Not only are pumpkin lattes, chunky sweaters and boots in season, but so are some of my favorite vegetables. Butternut squash, Brussels sprouts, fennel, sweet potatoes and kale are all staples in my diet this time of year. These hearty root vegetables will warm you right up as the weather starts to get chilly.

Why is it important to eat seasonally?

All the way back to the days when humans had to hunt and gather their food, seasonal eating has been important. Your body naturally craves the foods that are in season because these foods help your body adjust to changing temperatures and weather. There is a reason that you crave fresh fruit and salads in the summer months – your body is trying to stay cool in the hot weather. Warm soup and roasted vegetables in the fall and winter help keep your body insulated and warm.

What is in season now?

The fall produce grown locally is different for each region, but if you live in an area with typical autumn weather – where the leaves are changing from green to orange – then these are the fruits and vegetables that are coming into season now:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Fennel
  • Butternut Squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Acorn Squash
  • Delicata Squash
  • Pomegranate
  • Grapes
  • Figs
  • Cauliflower
  • Beets
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Mushrooms
  • Cabbage
  • Cranberries
  • Leeks
  • Parsnips
  • Turnips
  • Broccoli

How can you add these ingredients to your dinner repertoire?

Adding a variety of fall produce to your diet is the best way to reap the benefits of all the season has to offer. Dark red beets will help to purify your blood, kale will promote respiratory health, and white vegetables such as mushrooms or turnips will keep your brain sharp and alert! If you’re new to fall produce, start with these basic cooking techniques:

Roasting: This is a great way to prepare root vegetables that can be served as a side, added to a pasta dish, or pureed into soup. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees, and arrange chopped root vegetables on a baking dish. I like to use beets, sweet potatoes, fennel, parsnips or turnips. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and bake for about 30 minutes or until vegetables can be easily pierced with a fork.

Steaming: If you want a fresh take on autumn vegetables, just add a handful of chopped broccoli, cauliflower, or cabbage to a steamer. They will retain their crisp flavor and give you the maximum amount of nutrients.

Pureeing: After you steam, boil or roast vegetables, put them in the blender or food process and puree them. Use pureed squash for soup or baked into casserole in lieu of cream sauce. Pureed cauliflower or turnips are a great healthier alternative to mashed potatoes!

Baking: Baking fall fruit is one of my favorite ways to celebrate the season. Just peel and chop apples and pears, drizzle with honey and top with a mixture of oats, almond meal, honey, melted coconut oil and a pinch of salt. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, and then enjoy a Paleo-friendly, guilt-free fall dessert!

What are your favorite fall foods?