Summer is coming to an end, and unfortunately, so is the harvest of many favorite summer fruits and vegetables. Sure – almost all produce can be grown somewhere year-round, but the flavor and nutrient density of locally grown produce can’t be beat. Not to disappoint, the colorful splendor of autumn doesn’t just bring hayrides and Halloween. Fall also brings a fair share of delicious and health-promoting fruits and vegetables. Be sure to include these items on your shopping and meal planning lists this fall.
Top Ten Autumn Fruits and Vegetables
1. Apples – Apples, of course, are a fall food favorite. With their sweet, crunchy and convenient packaging, they are also a top choice among kids. Apples are packed with antioxidants, and with more varieties than there are days in the year, you can eat them everyday without getting bored.
2. Beets – Best in the fall and bursting with either dark purple or golden hues, you can feel confident about the nutritional quality of beets. Delicious when roasted, beets contain compounds that may reduce the likelihood of dementia and may enhance blood flow to the brain.
3. Sweet potatoes – Sweet potatoes are at their peak in the fall. The dark orange color gives away their high vitamin A content. Partnered with vitamin C, potassium and fiber, sweet potatoes are a star of autumn vegetables. Baked or grilled, sweet potatoes are a super accompaniment to any meal.
4. Brussels sprouts – Brussels sprouts and cabbage are full of antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and other cancer-fighting nutrients. Roasted with a little bit of olive oil and sea salt, Brussels are nutritious and delicious.
5. Pears – Eaten solo, or incorporated into salads and other dishes, pears are a sweet source of soluble fiber – known well for promoting healthy blood cholesterol levels. With a few varieties to choose from, pears are a favorite of autumn fruits.
6. Acorn squash– autumn boasts its own member of the squash family that is rich in fiber, potassium and vitamin A. With capacity to be the foundation of an entrée, a simple side dish, dressed up or eaten plain, acorn squash is a versatile fall feature.
7. Pumpkins – Another member of the squash family, and Halloween’s well-known mascot, pumpkins’ health benefits are often overlooked. Pumpkin seeds, in particular, are a good source of an omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linoleic acid, that promotes heart health. Toasted and eaten by the handful, or mixed into salads and side dishes, pumpkin seeds lend a seasonal crunch to recipes and snacks.
8. Carrots – Many of us have become so accustom to purchasing baby carrots from a supermarket all year round, we forget how delicious this autumn vegetable tastes when pulled straight out of the ground during the fall harvest. Don’t let fall pass you by without treating yourself to this root vegetable that is an excellent source of the antioxidant, beta-carotene, and serves as a perfect snack, side dish, and salad addition.
9. Turnips – Another unassuming root vegetable, turnips (and their greens) lend fiber and calcium among their impressive list of nutrition facts, and health claims that include helping to reduce the risk of some cancers.
10. Cranberries – The bright purple-red color of cranberries gives away their high-level nutritional status. Readily available as juice, dried, and in cans, take advantage of the cancer-fighting power of fresh cranberries this fall.