When you think of autumnal produce, what comes to mind? Pumpkin? Apple? Sweet potato? It's easy to forget that other fruits and vegetables are in season when these ones have taken over literally everything.
Take a break from the conventional autumnal foods and head down to your local farmers' market to check out the variety of in-season produce. Here are five fruits and vegetables that you should consider exploring to help you venture outside of your fall-flavor comfort zone of apple orchards and pumpkin patches.
Squash are divided into two categories: Winter and summer. But don't be fooled! Both are available in the fall, but winter squash can be stored for an extended period of time.
Squash are high in vitamin C, as well as vitamin A and iron, so they're great to help keep you from getting sick.
If you aren't sure what type of squash to start with, popular varieties include butternut, acorn, and spaghetti.
#SpoonTip: Use spaghetti squash in place of noodles when you're craving cheesy pasta. It's incredibly simple to make and lower in calories.
Check out these recipes for ideas of what to cook with your tasty squash:
You may have never heard of this strange fruit before, but let me assure you that it is well worth trying. Firm and sweet, it's a strange combination of an apple- or jam-like texture (depending on the variety), and mild mango flavor.
There are two main varieties that you're likely to see at your local farmer's market: Fuyu (pictured above) and Hachiya. Fuyu persimmons are a lighter orange and look more like tomatoes in terms of shape, while Hachiya persimmons are brighter orange and are more oblong.
Fuyu persimmons can be eaten while firm, but Hachiya persimmons must be fully ripe to the point of mushiness or they'll be bitter due to their high levels of tannin.
No idea what to do with the persimmons you just bought? Try slicing up a Fuyu persimmon into your salad, making persimmon bread with Hachiya persimmons, or making an apple and persimmon crisp.
Although tomatoes are technically only in season from June to September, it's likely that you'll find some vendors at your farmers' market that are still growing and selling America's favorite produce item.
Take advantage of these last few crops of freshly grown tomatoes while you can; there's a noticeable difference in the taste between them and what you can buy from the supermarket — I promise.
Tomatoes are full of antioxidants and have even been shown to prevent heart disease. They're also another great source of vitamin C so that you're well prepared for the long winter months ahead.
Plus, tomatoes are very versatile — they can be made into sauces, soups, salads, and more.
Still not inspired to buy tomatoes? Peek at these recipes to get some cool new ideas:
Some of the mushrooms that you see at your local farmers' market might look very strange compared to the typical varieties at the grocery store, but that doesn't make them any less delicious. Who knows? You could find your new favorite fungus by trying out chanterelles, hen of the woods, or lobster mushrooms!
Still unsure as to what to do with these new mushrooms? Take a look at these recipe ideas:
With all the craze about apples, everyone always seems to forget about pears. The softer and sweeter cousin of your typical fall fruit, pears are just as delicious and versatile. Don't ignore this fruit option — they're amazing in everything from salads to baked goods.
Has your brain gone pear-shaped and you can't think of what to make? Give these recipes a shot:
No matter where you are in the US, these five fruits and vegetables should be at your local farmers' market.
Not only will you be taking advantage of an amazing opportunity to eat locally grown foods, but you'll also be supporting small businesses and getting better quality produce. Plus, you'll actually know that your food is in season hasn't been stored in a warehouse for months.
Let's move on from the typical focus on apples and pumpkins and explore the other delicious options that your local farmers' market has to offer.