How to Use Fall Fruits and Vegetables

*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.

fall-applesauceApples: 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

fall-grapesGrapes: 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!


Midweek Delicacy Time: Garam Masala Chicken in Cherry-Wine Pan Sauce

Chicken in Cherry-Wine Pan SauceWhen looking for inspiration my favorite pastime is visiting a local farmer’s market. This past weekend I visited the farmers market in old town Kensington, MD. The cherries caught my eye, and I knew I wanted them to be the focus of my next dish. Unfortunately, they were so good I ate them all before the end of the day.

Cooking with what is in season always gives you the best value for taste, texture and nutrition. It is also another way to eat healthy and save money. Food that is in season is always cheaper and there is also the added benefit of local produce lasting longer since it doesn’t have to travel so far.

Happy eating friends!



Serves 4

4 Chicken breasts (about 1-1/2lbs)Chicken in Cherry-Wine Pan Sauce
extra virgin Olive oil, for brushing
Salt and Pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala (substitute the following combined cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, coriander)
2 tablespoons Butter, divided
1 Shallot, chopped
1 cup Red wine like Cabernet
1/2 cup Chicken broth
2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
12oz fresh pitted sweet cherries NOT sour cherries (if frozen, do not thaw)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh Thyme
juice of 1/2 Lemon


  1. Brush the chicken breasts on both sides with extra virgin olive oil and season with garam masala, salt and pepper. In a large skillet over medium heat add 1 tablespoon of butter. When pan is coated evenly with melted butter, brown chicken on all sides  3-4 minutes a side. Remove to a plate then tent with foil to keep warm.Chicken in Cherry-Wine Pan Sauce
  2. Melt 1 Tablespoon butter in same skillet then add shallots and saute until tender, 2 minutes. Add wine, chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, and fresh cherries, simmer until sauce is reduced by nearly half, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add thyme then continue to reduce sauce until slightly thickened, 2-3 minutes, pressing down on cherries gently with the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Return chicken to the skillet, top with cherry sauce. Transfer skillet to oven. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 20 minutes.Chicken in Cherry-Wine Pan Sauce
  5. Remove skillet from oven then add in lemon juice. Be sure to incorporate it well then serve.