*Quick, upfront disclaimer: this post is based on produce that is in season across the USA. Sorry if it does not apply to all climates.
With the autumnal equinox upon us, it’s time to celebrate one of the best parts of fall: the food! In addition to the obvious favorites like pumpkins, butternut squash, and apples, autumn offers an array of other fruits and vegetables that can be used to make great healthy dishes or indulgent desserts. Given the purpose of our organization and the fact that there are plenty of recipe guides to seasonal produce out there (such as these for October and November), this post is going to focus on making the most of your purchases. That means finding a use for parts of fruits and vegetables that are typically disregarded and/or creatively using up produce once it’s no longer fresh.
Apples: Apples are best kept in the pantry.
Don’t toss apple peels: crispy chips, apple peel tea, or apple cider vinegar
If apples are getting old: applesauce, apple cider, or apple crisp
Beets: Store beets by chopping off the leaves and storing each in separate plastic bags in the refrigerator.
Eat beet leaves within 2-3 days: frittata, pesto, or just saute similarly to kale or collard greens
If beets are starting to go soft, try: pizza crust, hummus, or chocolate cake
Broccoli and Cauliflower: These vegetables are very similar and should be stored in sealed plastic bags in the fridge.
Don’t throw out leaves: roast, smoothie, as a raw salad base, or try the beet green recipes
Grapes: Grapes should be stored in the fridge. Alternatively, they can be easily frozen to serve as ice cubes that will chill wine without diluting it.
If grapes are starting to go soft, try: grape pie, grape gazpacho, or grape vinaigrette
Parsnips: Treat parsnips like carrots – store in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Use the whole parsnip, peel and all: honey parsnip bread, roasted with onions, or baked fries
Pears (Bosc and Comice): Ripen pears at room temperature, store in fridge once ripe.
Treat pear peels like apple peels.
If pears are going soft: pear crème pâtissière, pear butter, or spinach-pear soup
Pumpkins and winter squash: Store these fall-centric gourds in a pantry. Butternut and kabocha squashes should be peeled, but the skin is edible on other varieties.
Roast your seeds: cocoa, rosemary-sage, or sweet and spicy (or use them raw in muffins, granola, bread, etc.)
How to make pumpkin puree, which can be frozen.
Have a flavorful fall!