By the time summer comes to a close each year, I find myself counting down the days to the autumnal equinox and looking for any excuse to throw a scarf around my neck. Just the sight of pumpkins at the grocery store has me skipping down the aisles. But October isn’t just for ghosts and goblins. Whether you’re on the lookout for fresh produce or you’re restocking your spice rack, fall is one of the best seasons for cooking.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love kale and squash just as much as the next girl, but there’s more to fall cooking than just the favorites.
Here are five ingredients that will have you head over heels for this season’s harvest in no time!
It's no wonder why the Greeks referred to them as the "food of the gods." The two most common varieties of this Japanese fiber-friendly fruit, hachiya and fuyu, are known for their sweet, rich taste and best eaten when ripe.
Make sure to skip the ones with yellow spots: with persimmons, the darker the better. Not only can they be added to your next baked bread or combined with tofu into a smoothie, but tea made from persimmon leaves has been said to offer numerous health benefits including boosting metabolism and fighting cancer. Look for these tomato look-a-likes at your grocery store from now through January.
Licorice lovers, this one's for you!
This green and white duo is sprouting up left and right this time of year and is sure to add a sweet crunch to supper. Praised for its ability to enhance flavors and its versatility, the bulb can be eaten raw, sautéed, braised or roasted and the herb used in place of parsley or dill. And talk about getting fresh: fennel has also been known to boost sexual desire. (I’ll have the fennel with a side of fennel, please!)
This turnip-like vegetable is a member of the cabbage family and found mostly in Indian cuisine. It can be eaten raw or cooked and tastes like broccoli. The low-calorie energy enhancer also works as a naturaldetoxifier and is full of antioxidants, making it ideal for that post-summer cleanse. Whether roasted or tossed into a salad, this green (and sometimes purple) veggie is sure to add some fall flair to the dinner table.
Because it’s considered an early autumn vegetable, now might be the last chance to get your hands on one if you’ve never indulged before!
Don't let celeriac's bumpy exterior scare you away this Halloween. This Mediterranean veggie, also known as celery root, is especially good in savory dishes and stews. Substitute it for potatoes in your next mash or purée it into a soup and you’ll have your dinner guests swooning. It's also rich in fiber and vitamin C, supports a proper digestive system, and relieves muscle stiffness--making it the perfect addition to any holistic diet.
These old school autumn vegetables, sometimes referred to as swedes, are a cross between a cabbage and a turnip. Rutabagas (pronounced "ROOT-uh-bay-GUZ") have a delicate, sweet flavor and can be cooked in a variety of ways. My favorite dish? Oven-baked rutabaga fries!
They help reduce wheezing in asthma patients, lower blood pressure and are an excellent source of potassium. Also, in places like Ireland and Scotland, they were sometimes hollowed out and used as lanterns during Halloween celebrations. Try one this fall and you’ll be warding off ailments and evil spirits!