While the end of summer does mean no more days spent kayaking, canoeing, or swimming in the lake (if you live in an area where it gets cold), it certainly does not mean the days of fresh and delicious produce are behind you. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The cooler temperatures bring a whole new array of seasonal fruits and veggies to choose from. Keep reading below for our favorite fall fruits and vegetables
1. Leafy greens
Fall is hands down one of the best times of the year to enjoy leafy greens in terms of its variety and flavor. Kale is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, and manganese. But there are plenty of other powerhouse greens that are at their best in fall like chard, watercress, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, arugula, radicchio, and chicory. Take your pick and fill up
These nutritious root vegetables come in an array of colors. Whether red, pink, white, orange, or Chioggia (their insides are striped white and red), beets are a deliciously versatile vegetable you can enjoy roasted, pureed, or eaten raw. Beets also offer a variety of vitamins and minerals including potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron, vitamins A, B, and C, beta-carotene, and folic acid. Additionally, according to research from the University of Exeter, naturally-occurring nitrates in beets can widen blood vessels, reduce the amount of oxygen your muscles need to perform, lower your blood pressure, and increase stamina
Fresh mushrooms are best kept in a paper bag between layers of damp paper towels in the fridge. Mushrooms offer a variety of nutrients, including selenium, iron, and vitamin D, and some varieties (such as Asian mushrooms) even have anticancer nutrients and potent immunity boosters
After pumpkins, apples are the trademark fruit of fall, and, from sweet Fujis to tart Pink Ladies, there’s a flavor for every palate. Apples are high in soluble fiber and vitamin C, so they’re also ideal for on-the-go snacking
Did you know that grapes are in peak flavor during autumn when you can enjoy them fresh from the vine? This includes varieties you can’t get other times of the year like champagne grapes, concords, and holiday seedless. Grapes offer an exceptional amount of vitamin K, vitamin C, antioxidants, and resveratrol, an anti-inflammatory compound that helps keep your skin looking rejuvenated
6. Sweet potatoes
These root vegetables just as delicious in desserts as they are in savory dishes. And, despite their rich, sweet flavor, sweet potatoes are quite nutritious. They’re filled with carotenoids, vitamin E, potassium, and copper
Autumn Food can Help the Environment
In addition to enjoying the flavors of autumn, eating seasonal produce will give you the peace of mind in knowing that your food decision is generally better for the environment. One of the many benefits of eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint from the production and transportation of food while supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy (produce that’s in season is likely locally grown, so you’ll help support your local farmers and economy). Other reasons to eat seasonally include:
- Reduced Pesticide Production
- Seasonal Produce is Fresher, Tastier, and More Nutritious
- You’ll Likely Save Money
- Promoting Harmonious and More Holistic Living
Because we are now able to transport food long distances quite easily, we have the luxury of being able to eat pretty much whatever produce we want year-round. While over half the fruit and almost one-third of the fruit bought in the U.S. are imported, most of us haven’t the slightest idea of when certain vegetables and veggies are actually in season in our perspective regions.
We are not usually taught to consider the physical lengths our food travels before it makes it to the shelves of our grocery stores. The alarming part about this is that these long distances lead to a significant environmental cost that most of us fail to recognize. The food industry is responsible for more than a quarter (26%) of global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s why, as you’ve hopefully learned in this post, it’s extremely beneficial to reap the flavors of the season by shopping for produce that’s actually in season.
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