It’s my favorite time of the year – autumn, when the leaves change color, people breakout the scarves and boots and lots of pumpkin carving commences…well, not really in Los Angeles since seasons don’t exist here. Nevertheless, it’s the perfect time to make any fall dish, incorporating any of the following ingredients.
Apples are best from September to November. For a cute, seasonal activity, go apple picking with some friends rather than stopping at the supermarket. There are thousands of varieties of apples, ranging from tart to sweet, so be adventurous and find the apple that’s right for you. They can be used in sweet desserts or savory dishes, or just eaten by themselves as a healthy snack. If you’re craving a sweet snack, dip them in some melted caramel (you’re sort of being healthy, right?).
Similar to apples, the variety of mushrooms are endless. Chanterelles and oyster mushrooms are among the most common wild mushrooms available in the fall. Mushrooms are a very versatile ingredient that can be used in any meal of the day. Throw some mushrooms in your morning omelette or make mushroom ravioli for dinner.
A misnomer, winter squashes are harvested in the fall and probably won’t stay well throughout the winter, so make your squash-centered dishes now. The most popular winter squashes that you can probably find in a supermarket are the butternut squashes and spaghetti squashes. Spaghetti squash is an alternative, healthy way to eat “pasta” without loading up on carbs. Simply roast the squash whole in an oven and cut it open to pull out the flesh. Top the “spaghetti” with any type of sauce, such as pesto. Butternut squash is a popular fall vegetable as well. Being extremely versatile, anything from butternut squash soup to butternut squash pudding can be made.
The sometimes-forgotten cousin of the classic russet potato, sweet potatoes come in full force during the fall season. They are at their sweetest point during the fall, meaning everyone should celebrate by eating buckets and buckets of sweet potato fries. Simplify by throwing sweet potatoes in the oven and season with Old Bay for a savory snack.
Pumpkins are the most obvious seasonal produce for the fall, though many of us just tend to carve them and not always cook with them. Aside from the classic pumpkin pie (and let’s be honest, we all just buy it from Costco), try out a pumpkin vegetable curry or pumpkin risotto.
Pears are actually higher in fiber, potassium and folate than apples but seem to be forgotten about. They are in season from late summer all the way through January. Pears, similarly to apples, lend themselves to sweet desserts such as pear crisps and tarts. Try mixing the salty and sweet with a grilled ham, Gruyere cheese and sliced pear sandwich.