Many of us relish the summer’s bounty of produce—from juicy berries to succulent tomatoes. But as prime produce season winds down you might be wondering what’s next. Don’t worry! Fall has more to offer than just gorgeous leaves. Here are a few seasonal produce faves and the health benefits they offer.
Super Fall Produce 1: Pumpkin
We don’t have to tell anyone that pumpkin is all the rage—pumpkin spice at least, that is. But if the extent of your pumpkin experience is drinking it in a latte or enjoying pumpkin-flavored everything, you’re missing out. (And, not to diss everyone’s favorite drink, but it’s important to consider that a PSL has a scary 50 grams of sugar, along with its nearly 400 calories.)
There are better ways to get the benefits of this health star.
- How to eat it: Canned pumpkin has all the nutrients of fresh so it’s a great option to use for healthy soups, stews and chili. If you use fresh pumpkin, don’t forget to save and roast the seeds with a little oil and salt for a satisfying treat that can help reduce LDL or “bad” cholesterol.
- Health benefit: Pumpkin is packed with vitamin A and beta carotene, which means it can help keep your eyesight sharp and ward off colds, among other benefits.
Super Fall Produce 2: Squash
Feeling bored with broccoli or listless with lettuce? Try butternut squash for a change of pace.
- How to eat it: This is another veggie that’s quick and easy to make as a great side dish: Cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and toss in a little sugar and butter, then roast it in the oven for 30 minutes. You’ll want to make extra to toss in your salad or pasta for the next day.
- Health benefits: Butternut squash is packed with the A, B Cs (vitamins that is), as well as healthy doses of fiber and potassium.
Super Fall Produce 3: Radishes
You might think of these as a summer veggie, but they’re readily available in fall, too, and come in a variety of colors, sizes and flavors so you can experiment to find the one that best suits your taste buds and recipes.
- How to eat them: Roast radishes with butter for a stand-alone side dish, or add them to salads for a little zing or burgers for some crunch. This versatile veggie can be a nice accompaniment to ramen and also plays nicely with that millennial fave, the avotoast.
- Health benefits: Radishes are a Vitamin C superstar, and also contain a virtual laundry list of vitamins and minerals – potassium, folate, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, zinc and manganese among them.
Super Fall Produce 4: Pears
Apples get most of the love in the fall, but pears are a fantastic fall choice. One of their main benefits is that they’re easy to eat just as they are, making them a healthy, delicious and portable snack.
- How to eat them: Right out of your hand is one way, but there are also many ways you can use pears in recipes. They add delicious sweetness and crunch to salads and sandwiches, and yes, of course, they make fantastic desserts. But one fun way you might try them is in a pear and cheese ravioli. Salut!
- Health benefits: The high fiber content in pears can be helpful for controlling appetite, potentially contributing to weight loss, and they can also guard against cancer, hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
Super Fall Produce 5: Brussel Sprouts
We started with a veggie that’s having a moment and we’re going to finish with one too, as Brussel sprouts have attracted widespread attention and now frequently appear on the menus of on-trend restaurants.
- How to eat them: Usually these days we see them roasted with some olive oil and garlic, and maybe tossed with a little Parmesan cheese. But you can take them up a notch by layering them with cheese in a gratin, a bit like you might do with roasted potatoes.
- Health benefits: Another fiber standout, Brussel sprouts also have high amounts of antioxidants, which can help protect against cancer. They also contain Vitamin K, which can help protect against osteoporosis and are one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, an important nutrient which can be hard to get if you don’t care for seafood.
Whatever your choice for fall produce, remember that the more produce of any type you eat, the better. And if you want a fun fall outing, consider going to a farmer’s market to pick up your produce straight from the source. Try this map as a place to start to find a local farmer’s market in your area.