8 Foods You Should Be Buying In Season + What To Do With Them

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Fall is one of the most inspiring seasons, culinarily speaking. It's a time when we reap the benefits from the seasons prior and have access to a plethora of ingredients at the peak of their nutrition.

It's the produce's flavors, textures, and colors in combination with fall's quintessential comfort cooking methods of stews, soups, and baking that fuel our endless inspiration and plates.

While, of course, fall's produce satisfies a place in our stomachs, many people don't realize that eating in line with the seasonal offering is exactly what our bodies need and crave from a holistic health perspective as well.

Before the modern convenience of shipping produce around the world, we ate what nature provided to us where we lived and when it was in season. In addition, eating these foods provided us with the nutrition that was needed for that given area during that season.

Cooling fruits and vegetables, like cucumbers or coconuts for example, that are really only native to tropical regions, don't benefit our bodies the same way they do during the hot summer heat. In fact, while it may satisfy a craving for a refreshing beverage, a cold glass of raw coconut water may make us shiver in the dead of winter. However, I highly recommend that tall glass after a long session of hot yoga to restore those electrolytes and cool the system off.

The fruits of fall are becoming less watery and more concentrated and cleansing. Produce that is harder, rootier, or hollow are fall's bounty, and produce like grounding winter squash and cleansing stone fruit and apples prepare our bodies for the more energetically dormant season ahead.

Let this list of fall produce serve as this season's navigational guide and provide that extra boost of inspiration at your local farmers market, wherever you may live.

If you happen to live in a more tropical climate, embrace that local produce as well; and if you live in a colder climate, pay attention to the energetics of food and what that may mean from a nutritional perspective as well.

Often, like with the example of coconut water and electrolytes, the season's produce will provide just what you need.

Fruits and vegetables to stock up on now:

Apples

Nothing says fall more than a bushel full of freshly picked apples straight from the orchard. Full of fiber and vitamin C, apples are the perfect fruit to gently cleanse the system and keep immunity high.

What to make?

Apple pie anyone? Roasted apples sprinkled with a little cinnamon and sans the crust are a quick and easy way to develop the same flavor and enhance the sweetness of the apple without the added sugar.

Brussels Sprouts

As a member of the cruciferous cabbage family, also including other fall favorites like collard greens, broccoli, kale, and kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts are an excellent source of vitamin C and K, fiber, as well as B vitamins.

Like other members of the Brassica family, Brussels sprouts contain a sulfur compound that has shown benefit in cancer prevention. While the distinct smell and harder-to-digest cellar wall may make one hesitant to try, they are full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory and cleanse-promoting benefits.

What to make?

Try first boiling Brussels sprouts for a couple of minutes to help reduce the gas-producing properties of the sulfur compounds and make them more easily digestible.

Simply roasted Brussels are a household favorite. Combine a little oil or ghee, simple seasoning of salt and pepper, and perhaps a little Parmesan, and roast until golden and crisp on the edges.

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Chicories

Think radicchio, endive, frisée, and escarole—these bitter greens add a pop of flavor while cleansing and even relieving stomach upsets. Rich in fiber and the pre-digestive inulin as well, they are excellent for digestion. Rich in vitamins A and C as well as containing at least a small amount of nearly every essential vitamin and mineral.

What to make?

Raw, these lettuces are more bitter than when cooked, which helps to bring out a nuttier, warmer flavor. Try lightly wilting them by grilling halves sprinkled with a little olive oil and salt and pepper for a warming fall take on a salad.

Dark Leafy Greens

The cool temperature actually helps to enhance the sweetness of dark and nutrient-rich leafy greens like dandelion, mustard, chard, collard greens, and kale. Loaded with vitamins A, C, K, and B; fiber; protein; and a long list of minerals as well, greens are an important addition to a fall diet.

What to make?

Besides your massaged salads and sautés, you can keep that green smoothie kick alive through fall by adding a large handful of these seasonal offerings. Try blending with a little fat and citrus to enhance nutrient absorption.

Jerusalem Artichokes

As a member of the sunflower family, they are also commonly referred to as sunchokes. These small fibrous tubers offer a sweet, almost nutty water chestnut flavor and quite a lot of nutrition.

Loaded with fiber; protein; vitamins A, C, and B; as well as iron, potassium, and magnesium, these roots can also aid in regulating glucose as well as oxygenate the blood.

What to make?

They are wonderful sliced thinly, marinated, and served raw but are equally delicious sautéed or roasted. Because of their similarity in flavor and texture to a water chestnut, I prefer to use local sunchokes vs canned water chestnuts in my Asian-inspired stir fries.

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Persimmons

Originating from Asia, the Latin word translates to "Food of the Gods," and rightfully so. The flavor is a complex combination of a cross between a juicy apple or pear and a tomato. Like the apple, persimmons are rich in fiber and vitamin C as well as vitamin A.

What to make?

I personally can't get enough of the Fuyu variety in the raw, which tends to be a little less sweet than other varieties and also more firm and fibrous than juicy. Try adding these to a salad of arugula and goat cheese. The sweeter varieties make excellent additions to breakfast breads and preserves.

Pomegranates

Originating around the Mediterranean, the pomegranate, not the apple, is thought to have been the forbidden fruit in the Book of Genesis.

Each fruit contains about 600 pulpy-covered deep-red-colored seeds. With a flavor that is both sweet and tart, the pomegranate is rich in antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C and K, and folate, making it a much sought-after superfood today.

What to make?

Though they can be a little tricky to open and pull the seeds from, once extracted, their texture and taste are a delicious addition to breakfast bowls of yogurt, granolas, or even salads. They are popular as juices; however, this removes much of the nutritional benefit in the seed and fiber or the fruit.

Winter Squash

From hubbard, butternut, and acorn squash, to pumpkins, and kabochas, there are so many varieties to try.

Ranging from more neutral in flavor to the more dense and sweet varieties, winter squash are prized for their high levels of vitamin A and C. They are also a good source of minerals like calcium, potassium, and magnesium.

What to make?

Steamed winter squash with a drizzle of honey doubles as a perfect guilt-free dessert. The sweeter versions like kabocha also make a great alternative to the traditional pumpkin pie. Try blending with a couple of eggs to create a custard.

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