Autumn brings a colorful variety of gorgeous produce rich in nutritional benefits. From apples to pears to squash to sweet potatoes, here is what you should get excited about this fall!
Buying local seasonal produce helps support small businesses, sustainable farming, and gets your body in tune with nature. Check out the EWG dirty dozen list to help prioritize which organic produce to buy.
Crunchy, crispy, sweet, and tart, apples come in a myriad of varieties. Slather them with nut butter, add them to an oatmeal bake, or toss them in a salad. Apples are full of fiber, vitamin C, and poloyphenols. Poloyphenols are the micronutrients which are present in the fruit to help combat cancer, cardiovascular disease, and degenerative conditions. Apples are a hearty and durable fruit that can withstand being tossed into a bag or lunchbox and serve as the perfect grab and go snack. Look for apples that are firm without bruises, have vibrant skin, and smell fresh.
These cruciferous vegetables used to have a bad rap, but are now reaching their pinnacle of saturation. Brussels sprouts contain vitamin E, which boosts the immune system and helps form red blood cells as well as folic acid, which is important for prenatal health. Look for brussels sprouts with firm densely compacted leaves in rich green hues. Shred them in a salad, toss in with a sweet and spicy sauce, or sauté and top with shiitake bacon.
Figs always seems like a luxury item since their season is so fleeting and the fruit is delicate yet, robust and flavorful. Figs come in varying hues of purple and green. Figs are delicious alone or when stuffed with cheese, tossed into a salad, or served alongside your granola. When selecting your figs, choose fruit with a rich color and a plump and tender flesh. Figs are a good source of dietary fiber as well as potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure.
Sweet, tart, smooth, and crispy, grapes are the ideal pop-able snack. Grapes receive a lot of recognition due to their wealth of antioxidants, in particular resveratrol, the anti-aging phytonutrient found in the fruit's skin. Grapes are fantastic alone, sliced into a salad with blue cheese and toasted walnuts, roasted in a tart, or turned into jelly. Red, green, or somewhere in between, select grapes that are plump and firm to the touch.
Sweet and spicy, pears come in diverse varieties and colors which range from yellow brown boscs to green bartletts. A pear is ripe when there is a slight give to the skin. Select pears that smell fresh and are unbruised. Pears are high in fiber, which helps control hunger, lowers LDL cholesterol, and aids with digestion. Chop up a pear and put it in your muesli, add to your oatmeal bake, or roast for a soup.
Although a slight pain to procure, pomegranate seeds are well worth the effort of removing them from their hard shell. Ruby red, sweet, and tart, pomegranate seeds make lovely additions to salads, morning oats, or soups. The seeds are rich in vitamins C and K - eat them in whole form as opposed to juice in order to receive the maximum amount of fiber and nutrition.
So many varieties of squash fill the market this time of year - delicata, spaghetti, butternut, and acorn to name a few. When selecting your squash, look for ones that are firm and heavy with a healthy looking stem and matte-toned skin. Orange and yellow colored squash are rich in immune boosting vitamin C, which is also beneficial for healthy hair and skin. Sub spaghetti squash for pasta and toss with your favorite sauce, roast delicata and add to a salad with spicy sunflower seeds, make butternut squash and kale tacos, or turn roasted butternut squash into a dip
These orange hued spuds are bursting to the brim with vitamins A and C and loads of fiber, giving the benefits of immunity, eye health, and digestion in one compact package. Sweet potatoes come in a range of varieties and sweetness levels. Lighter skinned sweet potatoes tend to have crumbly flesh and are similar to white potatoes. Darker hued sweet potatoes are sweeter, creamier, and are more orange. Roast them and stuff them, bake them in wedges and serve with curry mustard dip, or use them in a breakfast hash. Select potatoes with a firm taught skin and minimal bruises.
Happy Fall! What are you looking forward to?