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Fall in Love With Fall Produce
When the seasons change, one of the first things I get excited about is the new types of produce I can find at my local farmer’s market. The days of fresh berries and melons are coming to a close and now available or coming soon to a location near you include - Familiar staples: Pumpkins, winter squash (butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash), and cranberries. Trendy but nutrient powerhouses: pomegranates, kale, and figs. And a classic and my personal favorite: apples.
That’s not to say you can’t get summer season produce the rest of the year. In fact, I’d encourage you to purchase frozen versions of these foods when they’re not in season – just as nutritious, frozen at peak of ripeness, and won’t lose nutrients during transport and handling.
When it comes to what’s fresh, you want to choose in season, not just for nutritional value or taste but for cost! When fruits and vegetables are in season, they’re more plentiful and less likely to put pressure on your wallet.
The more variety you can get into your diet the better. Each type will give you a different dose of nutrition providing a plethora of health perks. If you are the meat and potatoes kind, please try to keep an open mind. Learning about the benefits and all the ways to eat ‘em can help you fall in love with fall produce, too. Below are my top four, but here’s a comprehensive guide for more. (I can’t help myself with the rhyming, sometimes)
Healthy highlight: Vitamin A which promotes healthy vision, boosts immunity, and promotes glowing skin.
Best ways to eat ‘em: In a stir fry with veggies and tofu, in pumpkin soup, in baked goods, or stir into Greek yogurt with a sprinkle of cinnamon (yum!). Don’t toss the seeds! They’re loaded with nutrition, so roast them and reduce waste.
Healthy highlight: Flavonoids that have anti-cancer properties.
Best ways to eat ‘em: Drizzled with olive oil which helps absorption of flavonoids, tossed in with whole wheat pastas and grains, Kale chips for a healthier salty snack.
Healthy highlight: Potassium and dietary fiber work to help lower blood pressure and improve heart health.
Best ways to eat ‘em: Fresh or dried – add to oatmeal and salads, bake into breads, or cook up with meats like this delicious Moroccan Chicken recipe.
Healthy highlight: Quercetin, an antioxidant which can reduce inflammation, lower risk for heart disease, even help regulate blood glucose levels.
Best ways to eat ‘em: Straight up (You’ll find three varieties in my fridge – Fuji, Gala, Honeycrisp), chopped in salads, with a schmear of nut butter, Healthy Apple Crisp recipe. Oh and don’t peel off the skin, that’s where most of the nutrients live!
What do you love to see at your market in the fall? Share your best fall produce recipes! If you’re also obsessed with apples, share your favorite variety and how you like to eat 'em!