Top 5 Fall Produce to Try at The Farmers Market
Did you think we were finished with farmers markets this year? Think again! Fall welcomes a host of local nutrient-packed produce to bring home this season. Explore this year and try new ways of preparing your favorite fall fruits and vegetables. Look for these for the best flavor and greatest value.
Winter Squash & Pumpkin
Squash varieties and pumpkin alike can be used in both savory and sweet dishes and are available in abundance in the fall. Squash and pumpkin provide an excellent source of vitamin A which is an antioxidant essential for healthy vision and maintaining skin integrity. Squash or pumpkin soup, roasted vegetables, casseroles and pies, you name it! Try delicatta (aka “Bohemian” or “peanut”) squash this year. The skin is tender enough that you can leave it on and roast. Utilize the entire pumpkin and squash by roasting the seeds which provide heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, protein, fiber and magnesium.
Brussel Sprouts belong to the Brassica family of vegetables which also includes cabbage, collard greens, broccoli, and kale. Brussel sprout plants flourish in the cooler weather and can even tolerate a mild frost. They are special in that they provide a powerhouse of several flavonoids such as thiocyanates, indoles, lutein, zeaxanthin, sulforaphane and isothiocyanates. Studies have shown that together, these phytochemicals have the potential to offer protection from certain cancers.
Without a doubt, apples take center stage in the fall! Apples are among the most popular fruits consumed and make the perfect addition for a meal or snack as they are low in calories and rich in nutrients such as vitamin C. Apples are high in fiber which helps to remove LDL “bad” cholesterol from the blood. Snacking, baking, applesauce, compotes, breads, apple butter and more, make the most out of apple season this year. Apples can be stored inside the refrigerator for two to three weeks. Wash them in cold water before use.
Potatoes are easy to store for extended periods of time, which makes them ideal for purchasing in the fall and keeping into the winter. They provide twenty percent of the daily vitamin C recommendations. Take a step beyond your common white and yellow potatoes for more nutrient-dense varieties such as those with blue and purple skins, which contain some of the same health-promoting antioxidants as found in blueberries. Keep the skins on. The fiber content in the skins aids in slowing digestion which helps in keeping blood sugar levels within normal range.
Imagine this, potato-leek soup on a cold fall day. Yum! Leeks provide a subtle, sweet onion-like flavor to soups, salads, quiche, stir fries and more. Leeks are from the Allium family and its fellow members include onions, garlic and shallots. They provide a source of the compound allicin which studies show can reduce cholesterol development. The leafy portion contain an ample amounts of essential B vitamins such as pyridoxine, folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin.