Smarter Shopping: Eat Fresh: Late Fall Local Produce Roundup
Fall is a busy time for everyone, but for farmers, especially so. The harvest season is coming to an end in the northern part of the country (that includes where we live), and with the first frost and snowfall here already, they need to wrap up the growing season fast and start storing for winter, and planning ahead for spring. I love shopping at farmers' markets, especially for produce because it's always way fresher, cheaper, more delicious and more environmentally friendly than getting it from a super market. Here's what still growing fresh locally now, the late fall produce roundup which will be definite focal points of our holiday meals coming up, and which all add lots of flavor and nutrition to all our meals every late fall day too:
1) Root veggies like carrots, potatoes, yams, turnips, beets, onions, garlic, celery root: These are delicious when roasted in the oven on a baking sheet, either on their own or with some fish or chicken or pork. I drizzle them with a little oil, season, and throw in my favorite herbs and it's that simple. I also like to dice or shred these and toss them in salads, (some raw,) or peel and cut to add to soups and stews. However you use them, they add tons of color, flavor, nutrients and richness to any meal all fall and winter long.
2) Squashes and pumpkins: everyone is focused on these now and through the holidays as far as I can tell. We don't like spaghetti squash but otherwise, I try to make as many varieties as I can find. I cut them open, take out the seeds and simply roast them in the oven. Then once they have cooled, I just blend them with a little broth and other seasonings to make a purree, or just add them in chunks to braised stews. These are healthy, easy dishes that we enjoy all fall and winter long.
3) Dark, hearty leafy greens: These are still abundant now as they can tolerate frost and even keep growing in freezing temps, for a little while. We love rainbow chard, collard greens, all cabbages and pretty much any other greens we can find. Mostly, I chop them finely and toss as a salad, because it's fastest, but if I'm making soup or a stew, I just toss them in there instead and there add a lot of flavor.
4) As far as fruit, it's down to apples and pears where we live now, which is sad, but it's ok because there is so much you can do with these. We love drinking apple cider, or using applesauce to make bread or breakfast muffins with. I also like to just slice up apples or pears and serve with cheese as a delicious snack, anytime. If you core an apple and fill it with granola, then bake and serve with vanilla ice cream you are in for a real treat, and for a fancy, delicious and festive twist on American apple pie, look up a recipe for French "Tarte Tatin", and bake with apples or pears. Yum!
What late fall local produce are you enjoying with your family?
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