Sometimes Autumn creeps up on us fast, and we may not be happy about summer ending. But there are so many things to look forward to during this season, such as fresh fall vegetables. Vegetables being in season means you have the option to buy local, which means they are fresher, taste better, and are more nutritious! It’s always great to buy local, fresh produce whenever possible. Today we will highlight our favorite fall vegetables that you may start to see being sold abundantly at farmer’s markets.
Root vegetables are the parts of plants that grow underground. They can typically withstand colder temperatures, so fall is the season that you will notice many root vegetables being harvested locally and popping up at local markets. There are many different root vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, radishes, parsnips, rutabaga, and celery root. They all contain a variety of nutrients and are oftentimes used in fall soups. An all-time favorite that we will highlight are beets. Beets have a very sweet taste and contain a lot of betaine, which is a nutrient that is good for the health of our livers and gallbladders. In fact, some studies show that betaine is promising in reversing hepatic insulin resistance and promoting cholesterol metabolism.
Cruciferous vegetables, also called brassicas or crucifers, prefer cool weather, so once fall hits you will have a lot of access to these vegetables that are locally grown. When you see them harvested in the Spring, they are usually started indoors or in a greenhouse, but the fall harvested crops are usually planted directly in the ground during late summer. Some common varieties of cruciferous vegetables include broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and cauliflower. They are very versatile in that you can use them in the kitchen in many different ways. Cauliflower rice has become very popular in recent years, and is a great way to increase your vegetable consumption, especially if you are trying to be mindful of your carb intake.
A lot of leafy greens are actually members of the cruciferous family as well, such as collard greens, arugula, mustard greens, bok choy, and kale. These can be enjoyed in salads or used in soups. Collard greens and kale are often sautéed with garlic and make a delicious side to any meal.
While some varieties of squash are abundant in the summer, such as zucchini and summer squash, the most common fall crops of squash include butternut, acorn, delicata, and spaghetti squash. You may hear these varieties referred to as “winter squash,” because they have a long shelf life and often keep through winter, but they are mostly harvested throughout the fall. Though they are botanically classified as fruit, they’re usually considered starchy vegetables. You can roast squash in the oven or make a creamy puréed soup with them. Spaghetti squash is fun to utilize in your cooking because you can use it as a pasta substitute. This Pesto Chicken Spaghetti Squash recipe is a great example of using the squash in this way.