We live in a world where you can walk into a grocery store and buy most fruits and vegetables any time of year, regardless of season. Want a peach in December? It’ll be expensive and it won’t taste great, but you can find one. Because of this, we’ve gotten very used to buying out of season, mediocre-tasting fruits and vegetables.
This fall, buy seasonally and you’ll find that everything tastes better! Here are some fruits and veggies you should expect to see around the Co+op this time of year:
You already know that apples are great snacking fruits (and so easy to toss into a lunch or bring along in your purse or bag!), and perfect for delicious baked goods like pies, tarts, dumplings, and more. But they can go into your savory dishes, too! Try adding apples to your salads, slicing them and adding them to baked chicken, and even layering them onto a grilled cheese.
We’ll have plenty of varieties of local apples around, so try one of each and find a new favorite. (Much of our staff waits with bated breath for the Arkansas Black!)
There are plenty of interesting fall squashes available, but the most iconic one is, of course, the pumpkin! Many people have only used pumpkins for pies and for decorations, but this squash can be cooked in so many delicious ways. Add cubed pumpkin to chili for a unique fall dish, roast it with other root vegetables, and add pureed pumpkin to just about anything: Waffles, bread, curry, you name it!
And of course, don’t forget the seeds: These tasty little snack foods are chock full of minerals! You can roast them with any spices that suit you.
Collards have long been a staple of Southern cooking, but are just recently joining kale at the “trendy greens” table. These hearty, nutritious greens aren’t just packed with vitamins and fiber — they also taste great! You can grill or steam them for a quick side, sautee them with caramelized onions or bacon, add them raw to a salad, or even make a collard slaw!
Many only pick up cranberries for Thanksgiving, but these tart berries are good for much more than a once-a-year sauce! They add a wonderful kick to baked goods like scones or muffins, and can lend some fall flair to your oatmeal or pancakes. They’re the perfect addition to a chicken salad, and can even be used to create some creative seasonal mixed drinks!
It’s the best time of year for hearty root vegetables, like potatoes, turnips, carrots, parsnips, beets, and yams! Toss them in olive oil, salt, and pepper for an easy and tasty baked dish, or get more creative by grilling them, or making root veggie “fries.” They’re also an excellent addition to soups and stews! (And remember: Potatoes aren’t the only root vegetable you can mash!)
While dried figs are available year round, a truly ripe, fresh fig is something you won’t be able to get your hands on in a few months! Fresh figs make a sweet addition to a salad, or they’re perfect as the main attraction, especially when paired with goat cheese! Bacon wrapped figs are always a hit as a decadent appetizer. And of course, there are dozens of recipes for various baked goods featuring these fresh or dried fruits.