As Fall approaches, along with the crisp cool evenings and falling leaves, comes the abundance of fall colors and beautiful produce. Some of my favorite fruits and vegetables in season during fall include squash, pumpkins, root vegetables and apples. Not only are these pretty to decorate with, these seasonal fruits and vegetables are nutritious and store well through the early months of winter.
Buying fruits and vegetables in-season saves money and ensures the freshest and best tasting produce. Here’s a list of the best fruits to eat during fall and best vegetables to eat during fall along with a bit of information for choosing, storing and eating them:
Squash come in many sizes, colors and flavors. Choose squash with the stems still attached that have firm skin with no brown or soft spots. Once purchased, store squash in a cool dry place like a basement or root cellar for up to 3 months. Here are some of my favorite varieties:
- Hubert squash are a greyish green in color and are one of the largest of the varieties – often too big for a family meal. To prepare this one, cut in half, scoop out the seeds place cut side down on a baking sheet with a little water. Bake at 350 degrees until soft. Cool it, then scoop it out and freeze in family size portions. When ready to eat, simply thaw, microwave and serve.
- Acorn squash look like a dark green oversized acorn. This squash has a nutty flavor and is the perfect size for two. For one of my favorite fall vegetables recipes, follow this link to a simple one dish vegetarian meal called Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash. (https://totalgymdirect.com/total-gym-blog/quick-healthy-casserole-recipes)
- Butternut squash are elongated orange squash with a slightly sweet flavor. This one usually serves 3-4 people depending on the size and is simple to prepare; just wash it, pierce with a knife, then microwave on high until soft. Once cooked, cool enough to handle, then cut in half and scoop out the seeds. Serve it with a little butter, salt and pepper.
- Pumpkins are a variety of squash that not only look awesome in a fall display; pumpkins provide an abundance of beta-carotene to help keep your eyes bright and healthy and they’re full of gut friendly fiber. Pumpkins can be eaten like a squash, but are often enjoyed in pies and muffins. For an easy lighter treat, try making some vanilla sugar-free pudding from a box of mix, and then stir a cup of canned pumpkin puree into it. Cool in single serving dishes in the fridge and top with a dollop of whipped cream prior to serving.
Root vegetables also come in a variety of colors and flavors. According to fruitsandveggiesmorematters.com, root vegetables are nutrient powerhouses full of fiber and antioxidants, as well as potassium and vitamin C. Store root vegetable unwashed in unsealed in bags in a cool dark place for several weeks. Some of my favorites include carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, turnips, beets and even potatoes. A great way to enjoy root vegetables is to cut up a variety in small cubes and roast at 350 degrees in a single layer on a cookie sheet with a little oil and salt. Roast until tender and enjoy.
Apples are one of my favorite fruits in season during fall. An apple a day may very well keep the doctor away because of its rich nutrient profile! According to the National Institute of Health (NIH.gov), apples have very strong antioxidant activity, inhibit cancer cell proliferation and appear to lower cholesterol.
When purchasing, choose fresh, bright, firm textured apples. Avoid those with bruises or a soft texture. Fresh apples keep well at room temperature for about a week. Apples stored in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator will last 2-3 weeks longer: wash apples just before eating.
Apples come in a variety of flavors and colors. Sweeter ones are often enjoyed as is, whereas tarter ones like granny smith apples are often used for cooking. There are also many heritage varieties popping up again at orchards that have very unique flavors. This year try buying just one apple of each variety and sample away to find your favorites. Then, once you’ve found a tart variety you enjoy, why not make one of my favorite fall fruit recipes this season?
This recipe is simple to make and can be cooked right in the microwave.
Microwaved Cinnamon Baked Apple Chunks
6 tart apples (such as Gala, Macintosh or Granny Smith), cored and chopped
2 cups dried cranberries
1¼ cups coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup water
In a large microwave-safe dish, combine all ingredients. Microwave on high for 20 minutes or until apples are soft, stirring occasionally. Serve warm or cold on ice cream, oatmeal, pancakes or enjoy as is.
The opinions shared in this article are those of the contributor and not Total Gym Direct.