When the leaves change and begin to drop from the trees, the weather turns colder and skies get darker earlier, fall is fully upon us.
With the new season comes pumpkin overload, and an abundance of apple and cinnamon flavored goods. But fall brings more than just a new flavor in your morning coffee.
Farmers markets and grocery stores with local produce will be stocked with some of these foods that either grow or taste best during the fall season.
"Interestingly, market vendors often have the best deals at the peak of season when the item is the most flavorful, as this is when they are picking almost daily and need to sell a lot more of it," Darlene Wolnik, senior researcher for the Farmers Market Coalition, said.
According to the Farmers Market Coalition, here are some of the top 10 seasonal foods to enjoy:
Though fruit is more commonly thought of as a food that ripens in the warmer months, grapes are at their peak in the fall. Be sure the grapes you choose are sweet; they do not ripen after picking. In the fridge, keep grapes in a bag or container because they can absorb the flavors of other fruits and vegetables.
Full of fiber, broccoli is best during the fall months after cooler temperatures have sweetened the heads. Heads should be firm and tight. Wash right before using, or dry thoroughly if refrigerating.
With this pungent root vegetable, a little goes a long way. It is classically served with roast beef, but adds flavorful spice to salad dressings or dishes such as sushi or hummus. The root can be stored for a couple of months in the fridge, but loses pungency over time.
Bursting with flavor, this tart, tropical fruit is a fall specialty in some areas. Low in calories and high in nutrients, it's rich in antioxidants. Scoop out the center and serve with ice cream or in a smoothie. Unripe passion fruit should be kept on the counter, once ripe it can be stored in the fridge.
Tart and juicy, raspberries have the most flavor during the fall. Don't wash until you are ready to eat them. Raspberries mold easily, so eat within a day or two or freeze them in airtight containers. They are a good source of Vitamin C.
Figs can be eaten fresh or dried, and can be frozen or canned for future use. Fresh figs should be stored in the refrigerator. They are an excellent source of fiber and potassium.
Low in calories and high in B Vitamins, mushrooms are a healthy vegetable to incorporate into your fall meals. Store mushrooms in their original packaging in the fridge. Whole mushrooms will keep for about a week, less if sliced.
A staple in any kitchen, garlic is at its peak from late summer through the fall. There are dozens of varieties with different levels of pungency. Roasting garlic in the oven mellows the flavor, and cloves can be spread like butter. Store garlic in a cool, dry place – heads will rot in the refrigerator.
Celery is a staple in a traditional Thanksgiving stuffing. Locally-grown celery will be a darker green – and be more nutritious and flavorful – than supermarket varieties. Celery lasts a long time in the refrigerator, but can be cut into small pieces and frozen.
A root vegetable, turnips provide a crisp texture and substance to autumn recipes. The young leaves are tasty; older leaves are bitter. Turnip roots become sweeter after a few light frosts. They can be stored in a cool, dry cupboard or even in a sheltered place outdoors.
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By Nancy Buley, J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co., Wholesale Tree Growers
Photographs courtesy of J. Frank Schmidt & Son Co.
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