By Registered Dietitian, Chelsea Rice, RDN, LDN
As the leaves continue to change and the air takes on a crisp, fall chill, it’s time to embrace the vibrant world of fall produce. In this shopping guide, we'll take you on a journey through the bountiful offerings of fall produce, helping you to make the most of this time of year.
What’s in Season?
Specific crops and harvest dates of fall produce depend on where you live and your region’s climate, but here are six fruits and vegetables that you will commonly see at your local farmers market as well as in your grocery store this season.
Apples are the quintessential fruit of fall! Whether you’re biting into a crisp Red Delicious, baking a warm and comforting apple crisp, or making homemade applesauce, this versatile fruit is abundant during this season. Apples have a wide variety of flavors and textures to choose from and are a must-have for any fall kitchen. This popular seasonal fruit is high in fiber, vitamin C, and flavanoids. If you’re unfamiliar with flavanoids, these are a type of naturally occurring plant chemicals that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Pears are another sweet and juicy fruit that you start to see an abundance of throughout the fall months. You can enjoy them fresh, sliced into salads, mixed into oatmeal or yogurt, or baked into an elegant dessert. The slight grittiness of a ripe pear makes for a unique texture and their mild sweetness is a perfect complement to the other bold flavors that fall holds. Pears are high in fiber, potassium, vitamin C and flavonoids.
The squash varieties seem endless and each offer their own unique flavor and texture. Butternut squash is smooth and sweet, making it perfect for soups and roasting. Acorn squash has a slight nutty flavor, making it ideal for stuffing. Delicata squash is known for its edible skin, making it easy to prepare in the oven or air-fryer. Spaghetti squash is a popular alternative to pasta, making it perfect for those who are following a low-carb diet. Each variety of squash contains slightly different nutritional values, but most are excellent sources of vitamin C, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and fiber.
Pumpkins and squash are both a part of the Cucurbitaceae family. Although they are related, many think of fresh pumpkins for carving, not eating. But the pumpkin flesh can be used in a variety of dishes; from pumpkin pie, to ravioli, to a velvety soup. And the seeds can be roasted for a healthy sweet or savory snack. If you’re in a pinch for time, be sure to take advantage of canned pumpkin. Pumpkins are a powerhouse when it comes to nutrients. They offer a long list of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, copper, folate, manganese, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. They are also a great source of fiber.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Although sweet potatoes can be commonly purchased year round, they come into their prime in the fall season. Roast them, mash them, or make them into sweet potato fries- the options of how to prepare sweet potatoes are endless. Their natural sweetness is a hit with both kids and adults and they are loaded with vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
Cranberries are tart and vibrant and are an essential part of fall and Thanksgiving traditions. Cranberry sauce, cranberry bread, or cranberry muffins are just a few examples of how to enjoy these little bursts of flavor. They contain vitamin E, vitamin C, B vitamins, and fiber, making it another great nutrient dense seasonal fruit.
Fall Produce Recipe Inspo
If you are inspired to start incorporating some of these fall ingredients, but don’t know where to start, we have you covered! Here a few delectable recipes that showcase the flavors of fall:
1. Whipped feta dip- top on roasted sweet potato rounds for the perfect fall appetizer.
2. Mini Almond Flour Pumpkin Muffins- the most amazing on-the-go fall breakfast or snack.
3. Chia Seed Pudding- top with Nutrail Cinnamon Pecan Nut Granola and cranberries for a tasty breakfast, snack, or dessert.
4. Pecan Granola Apple Crisp- still in need of a Thanksgiving dessert? This is a guaranteed crowd pleaser!
5. Air Fryer Baked Apples- a super simple snack, perfect for this time of year.
In conclusion, as the days become shorter and temperatures drop, fall produce brings a burst of color and flavor to our tables. With its wide range of tastes and textures, fall is a culinary season to savor. So, head to your local farmers market or grocery store, stock up on your favorite fall produce, and try out these delicious fall recipes. Happy seasonal shopping!