We’ve made it past the first official weeks of fall and are now finding the opportunities to settle into the new season. A new season may usher in an entirely new range of temperatures, but it also presents us with a new variety of fresh produce we can enjoy while it’s in season.
We generally associate this time of year with apple picking and pumpkin carving, but it’s time to consider what other fruits and vegetables we can pick up to bring into our kitchen to test out this time of year.
What’s in season now?
Across the country, we all experience varying climates, affecting what produce is available from region to region. So while the fruits and vegetables in your area may differ this month, we’re sharing some options for seasonal eating in October to provide additional inspiration in the kitchen. Here’s a list of a small sampling of the fruits and vegetables in season this month, along with some recipe ideas to test out using these seasonal fresh ingredients.
What month says “pumpkin” more than October? From September to November, pumpkins are at their peak, whether we need them strictly for decor or our culinary pursuits. With the latter in mind, it’s important to note that pumpkins are nutrient-dense produce with plenty of health benefits in addition to being delicious and a quintessential fall flavor.
You’ll find vitamin A in this fruit, which is important for our vision and immune system. Pumpkin is also high in potassium, which is key for heart health, and vitamin C, which can help boost our immune system and reduce damage from free radicals. While the flesh of the pumpkin flesh contains fiber which aids digestion and helps us feel full, the seeds are also packed with protein and easy to add to various meals, too.
Are you looking for more inspiration? Turn your pumpkin into homemade pumpkin puree to use in your baking (pumpkin muffins, anyone?) or this decadent pumpkin butter that can be spread, whipped, or whatever you prefer. Tis the season for a warm bowl of soup, too, including a heaping bowl of this pumpkin soup.
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From early fall through winter, butternut squash remains in season and ready to prep in the kitchen. Like pumpkins, butternut squash can aid our eye health, providing our bodies with phytonutrients, including the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein. It also contains beta-carotene, which our body converts into vitamin A. Butternut squash can improve our immune health, support our bone health, and aid in digestion due to fiber.
Are you looking for more inspiration? Butternut squash makes the perfect addition to your cheese sauce for your next batch of macaroni and cheese. Cut your squash up into chunks and roast them for the perfect side, whether you make them savory with some garlic butter or sweet when seasoned with some cinnamon.
From October to January, we can lean on pomegranate for its antioxidant properties. Though tricky to de-seed, it’s a process worth the effort. Pomegranate juice has three times the antioxidant activity of red wine and green tea. Studies also suggest that pomegranate juice can help lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce blood pressure. Additional studies have examined pomegranate’s positive effects on immunity and our gut microbiome, as well as protecting the skin from exposure to UV. The fruit has also been shown to help preserve our memory as oxidation occurs in the brain and supports urinary and digestive health.
Are you looking for more inspiration? While snacking on pomegranate seeds is delicious in and of itself, you can get creative with them as an addition to plenty of dishes. For example, along with some sliced apples, pair them with a bed of greens, some walnuts, and a smooth cheese like feta or goat cheese for a spiced-up salad. You can also add them into your overnight oats, sprinkle them on top of your fresh yogurt parfait, top off your smoothie with a handful of seeds, bake them into your muffins, or add them into a mango-salsa for some added sweetness.
While you’ll find carrots in the late spring and summer season, we can take advantage of the last fall crop to extend their presence in our kitchen in October and November. Since we were kids, we have been told about carrots’ health benefits, especially regarding our vision and eye health. It wasn’t just our parents’ ploy to get us to eat more vegetables, either — studies have shown that the carotenoids found in carrots can decrease our risk of age-related macular degeneration. They’re also a great source of vitamin A to help our body ward off infection and can help lower our cholesterol and decrease our risk for heart disease.
Are you looking for more inspiration? Carrots are a versatile vegetable to have on hand. If you have a juicer on hand, pop your carrots in for a dose of vitamins and minerals from a glass of carrot juice. Like this tropical morning bread, stir up some carrots to add vegetables to your baking. To keep yourself warm as the temperatures drop, try this vegan carrot ginger soup or chop up some carrots to include in this chicken soup. You can also test these recipes for rice-free cauliflower sushi rolls, zucchini, carrot pasta, or pelau chicken for your next dinner night.