In Season Now! Your Guide To Eating The Best Produce At The Market

There’s no time of year that is more noticeably transformational than the close of the hot summer moving into the briskness of the fall. Just as our wardrobes change from skin baring to insulating, our diets should follow suit.

Ever wonder why a tomato resembles a salmon pink hue instead of deep red in the wintertime? Or why an apple in the spring isn’t nearly as fragrant or flavorful as in the fall? There's a term for that, and it’s called seasonal availability.

For the entire existence of man, we've consumed only what's locally available to us.

Although we physically notice a climate change, our grocery stores don’t, because no matter where you are in the world, it’s always summer somewhere. Due to accessibility, Americans are able to outsource unavailable items by growing them in California and Mexico no matter what time of year.

When we eat out of season, it actually has some interesting effects on both our bodies and our ecosystem. There's an undeniable grave concern regarding the drought in California, which is associated with overfarming.

In addition, we notice our susceptibility to illnesses, and a lack energy or focus, particularly in the winter. Proper nourishment is needed to support healthy systems.

For the entire existence of man, we've consumed only what's locally available to us, so when we eat outside of that realm, our body gets confused and weakens.

To prepare you best for a season full of nutrient-dense deliciousness, here is a three-part guide to eating the best in­-season produce.

The Basics

1. Eat locally.­

Finding an honest source of produce in grocery stores can be a challenge. Some establishments proudly declare the origins while some appear to conceal it.

Produce departments in large supermarkets are generally controlled company wide, which means local farming is not on the agenda. The safest and most affordable way to obtain local produce is through farmers' markets and CSAs (community-supported agriculture).

Check out LocalHarvest.org for availability near you.

2. Experiment with different cooking methods­.

In the summer we often eat food raw or gently cooked to help cool us down in the heat. Although grilling is also done in the summer, it’s a more ideal technique for the fall because the act of roasting foods actually warms the body instead of cooling it.

3. Incorporate more “grounding” options.

­The fall is root vegetable season. During the summer we enjoy eating fruits and veggies that are hydrating and light so that we can expend energy more readily.

The fall has always been a time of year that requires ample planning and organizing for the winter season ahead. The task of getting back into school and work can be a bit of a challenge, but eating certain foods can ease the stress of getting back into a routine.

Fall Produce Selection

Vegetables:

  • Winter squashes
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Cauliflower
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Pumpkin
  • Belgian endive
  • Swiss chard
  • Rutabaga
  • Parsnip

Fruits:

  • Apples
  • Pineapple
  • Cranberries
  • Persimmons
  • Pomegranate
  • Kumquats
  • Grapes
  • Tangerines
  • Pears
  • Guava

Herbs & Spices:

  • Garlic
  • Ginger

For the most thorough list on the web, check out Fruits & Veggies More Matters.

Nutritional Benefits­

From the fruits and vegetables listed above, there's a bunch of nutritional benefits to gain:

  • Liver detox
  • Immunity boost
  • Digestive relief
  • Cholesterol reduction
  • Antioxidants
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Riboflavin
  • Vitamins A, B3, B6, B12, C, E, and K
  • Folic acid
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorous
  • Stress reduction
  • Skin repair
  • Increased energy
  • Alkaline
  • Anti-inflammation
  • High fiber
  • Heart healing

What to Do With Your Fall Produce

Fall offers an inspiring collection of vegetables for cooking, and preserving techniques such as pickling, grilling, roasting, and baking. These methods are preferred to promote the warming of the body in cooler weather.

This is something your body will actually tell you instinctively by craving heavier (more grounding) foods.

To keep things exciting in your culinary life, on your next grocery or farmers' market trip, try to pick something up that you’ve never tried before. Let the new produce item be an inspiration to a recipe that excites you.

Fruits and vegetables aren’t always the most desirable food groups to indulge in, but the fall variety has a unique selection that can be prepared easily and enjoyed thoroughly.

For recipe inspiration, start here:

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