Even farmers’ market devotees such as myself often forget that fresh produce is normally seasonal—we’re so used to being able to find anything we want in the supermarket, after all. That convenience is nice, but there’s also something special about produce that is harvested at the peak of it’s natural growing season. With fall in full swing, it’s a good time to celebrate the fruits and vegetables that are at their best this time of year.
Fall is a time when our bodies naturally want to prepare for the coming winter. If spring is the time for cleansing and detoxifying our bodies, fall is a good time to enjoy heartier fare—the sorts of foods that can really stick to our ribs and nourish us on a cold November evening.
There are the traditional favorites, like squash, sweet potatoes and pumpkins. These vegetables are rich in nutrients, perfect for fueling your body up for the cold winter months. Regular potatoes can be good too, in moderation; they release more sugar into your bloodstream than sweet potatoes (ironically), so you want to make sure you pair them with other vegetables as well, rather than serving them alone.
We tend to think of green leafy vegetables as growing best during the spring and summer, but kale is particularly hardy and is a good fall staple as well. It’s a nutritional powerhouse, perfect for salads or sautéed in olive oil (maybe balancing out a potato). Chard too is better in the fall, as it becomes less bitter when grown in cooler weather. Likewise, arugula thrives as the temperature begins to go down, giving us another green to incorporate into our meals.
Perhaps the best part of fall is the fruits. Apples and pears are perfect for eating fresh off the tree or for baking into pies and crisps. Cranberries are wonderful when made into sauce around Thanksgiving time, but are also packed with antioxidants, and are naturally antibacterial and anti inflammatory.
As we head deeper into fall, take inspiration from the bountiful harvest and let fall foods and flavors find their way onto your plate.