It’s one of my favorite times of the year. The temperatures have fallen to a comfortable zone, the leaves have begun to share their most brilliant colors of the years, and healthy produce still abounds in my garden and at the farmers’ market.
In our home we love fall produce because it’s inexpensive to grow and buy, and it stores very well in the right conditions. This year we put together a simple root cellar in our basement and by maintaining the right conditions we will be able to store our fall vegetables for months to come.
Which healthy fruits and veggies you should look for?
Apples. Apples are hands down a favorite staple for our family. They can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes (everything from breakfast to supper) or simply eaten plain as a snack. Apples are filled with antioxidants and are a great fruit to have on hand. If kept in a cool, dark area, apples will store for up to 6 months (depending on the variety and humidity they are stored in). Our favorite apple is the Fuji. They are some of the best “keepers” and the flavor is superb.
Winter squash. We grew over 100 winter squash in our garden this year: spaghetti, delicata, acorn, and butternut. There are many more varieties that you can enjoy but those are some of our favorites. Winter squash are one of the best plant-based sources of Omega-3s and beta carotene, making them the perfect veggie to consume during cold and flu season. We love adding winter squash into soups and cubing them into our breakfast hash. When winter squash are properly stored they will last all winter long.
Pears. Pears are a healthy source of soluble fiber, which helps your body maintain healthy cholesterol levels. When stored in a similar condition to apples, pears will last for a few months. Our favorite way to enjoy pears is to eat them plain as a snack or to replace them for apples in an apple crisp. Pear crisp is our family’s favorite dessert!
Sweet and regular potatoes. What’s not to love about potatoes? They’re inexpensive, filling, and they can last all winter long with the proper storage—now is a great time to stock up on them. Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A; regular potatoes have a healthy dose of vitamin C and potassium. We have found ways to enjoy potatoes in just about every meal, like homemade hash browns, oven-baked potatoes, and creating a baked potato bar (which is a full meal in itself).
Not only are all of these fruits and vegetables incredibly good for you, but fall is the season of the year that you will be able to find them at the farmer’s market and in the grocery store for the best price. Enjoy the pleasures of eating seasonally.