As the leaves start falling down and the weather outside starts to get chilly, there is nothing better than warming up with some seasonal goodies!
A lot of us look forward to anything pumpkin related once we see or feel the first signs of fall. Maybe even earlier for some people. Whether it’s the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks, or the pumpkin pie you anticipate for Thanksgiving, you may not have thought about some other seasonal dishes to try this holiday!
Here are some favorite fall ingredients that can be used to touch up your everyday meals this year.
Health magazine lists squash as a perfect superfood for fall because it can be paired with other fall flavorings such as cinnamon. Packed with antioxidants, carotenes, and dietary fiber, it doesn’t hurt that squash can be cooked in a variety of ways without many calories! Seasonal vegetable that is very susceptible to frost and heat damage, squash is an autumn delight as the longer growing period gives winter squash a tougher, inedible skin. There are eight popular squash varieties to choose from based on your cooking needs. Roasting squash helps to maintain squash’s flavor, freezes well and reheats easily. So you can roast several squash at once and freeze it for use during the holidays; which will help alleviate some of the cooking come November and December!
Dish to try with squash: Roasted butternut squash ravioli with sage brown butter sauce.
Pumpkin is one of fall’s favorite flavors. Pumpkin pie is seen as the traditional dessert for Thanksgiving meals but it is also very versatile when it comes to cooking different dishes. Most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the shell, seeds, leaves, and even the flowers. Pumpkin seeds make a great snack, and stews and soups add a hearty element to your everyday diet. When ripe, the pumpkin can be boiled, baked, steamed, or roasted. The high fiber in pumpkin also helps to aid proper digestion. But keep in mind that pumpkins used for carving are the worst for cooking and baking even though they are still technically edible. When cooking or baking with pumpkin, look for a sweet and smooth-texture to the vegetable.
Dish to try with pumpkin: Pumpkin Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Russ Parsons from the LA times considers Pomegranates fall’s buried treasure. Although it has a tough outer layer, the juice and seeds make for great flavorful accents to any dish. Even though pomegranates are available year round, fresh pomegranates are available in most grocery stores from September through January which is seen as a seasonal fruit. Pomegranates contain high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols, potent antioxidants offering protection against heart disease and cancer.
Dr. Fuhrman, a New York Times best-selling author and nutritional researcher recommends that patients with heart disease, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure incorporate components of pomegranates into their diet. He specializes in preventing and reversing disease through nutritional and natural methods. Pomegranate juice is very potent and can maintain the health of blood vessels by decreasing inflammation in the lining and raising the levels of nitric oxide, which keeps arteries flexible.
Dish to try with pomegranate: Pomegranate steak with quinoa
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a popular phrase that can help prevent many chronic illnesses. With the best varieties always appears in the fall, apples act as an amazing fall ingredient. Some are crisp, sweet, or perfect for baking a pie, others are just right to add to your holiday stuffing or brussels sprout medley. Whether you’re going to your local farmers market, or grocery store, apples are inexpensive and great to add to any recipe.
Ester Sung from epicurious created a visual guide to help you distinguish tart apples from sweet apples. This way you know exactly which type of apple you want for a dish or pie.
Dish to try with apples: Pork Chops With Apples and Garlic Smashed Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are at their sweetest during the fall and winter and can be used for a variety of dishes ranging from fries to casseroles. As with a lot of vegetables, sweet potatoes are beneficial to your health as well. They are a good source of vitamin C, high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids, and contain iron. There have been nutritional benefits from sweet potatoes that are easier to create if steaming or boiling is used as the cooking method. Studies have shown good preservation of sweet potato with steaming, and comparing boiling to roasting have shown better blood sugar effects.
Dish to try with sweet potatoes: Smoky Sweet Potato Soup
Incorporating squash, pumpkin, pomegranate, apple, and sweet potato are not only healthy ingredients for meals, but are great add-ons to your everyday dishes. These easy recipes will help you enjoy fall foods at their seasonal peak, while staying cooped up inside during those cooler days!