I am so excited every year once I see the first golden leaf fall or feel a crisp fall breeze air, but nothing sets the tone for autumn more than than fall foods! Who doesn’t love the hearty, filling and nourishing foods that arrive to us between September and November? I just adore fall foods because they’re so grounding, nourishing and filling. Fall fruits and veggies are so incredibly good for you. I tend to go a little nuts when I take my first fall foods shopping trip and buy tons of these foods at one time. The great thing about fall foods is they keep for long periods of time, because they are meant to be able to be stored over the winter for very long periods of time in cellars, which is how people used them years ago. Fall foods are also CHEAP and with a couple exceptions, aren’t necessary to buy organic unless you can simply afford to, and they taste great! The best part about these foods is that you can cook them up to prepare them in multiple, pretty much endless, ways. Check out my favorite fall foods and what are you waiting for? Get cooking!
Pumpkin is hands down at the top of the list when it comes to my favorite fall foods to choose from. Pumpkin reminds me of childhood, and it is so good for you! Pumpkin is rich in Vitamin A, fiber, water, it has no fat and is low in sugar and starch. Pumpkin can be used in so many ways too! You can roast a whole pumpkin and then cut it open to take out the seeds and eat the flesh. This is the same flesh you’ll find in canned pumpkin, which I turn to the rest of the year when fresh isn’t available. You can also makes pies, muffins, pancakes, puddings, breads, or roasted veggie dishes with pumpkin. I’ve also seen people use pumpkin in place of eggs in a recipe and as a healthy ingredient in spaghetti sauce to replace the meat and oil.
Squash is right up there with pumpkin in my favorite fall foods list. You can find multiple varieties of squash that you’ll see labeled as kabocha, butternut, acorn, spaghetti, delicata, hubbard, kuri, and turban, just to name a few. Technically, pumpkins are classified in the gourds family with squash, but they taste very different. Squash is usually sweeter and higher in sugar, but won’t spike your glycemic index due to the fiber and water content. Squash are so great for you! They contain all the same nutrients as pumpkin does, and they taste great! My favorite sweeter varieties are kabocha, acorn and hubbard squash, which I simply put in an empty oven on a pan, turn it to 375 degrees and cook for 55 minutes. Then, I remove it from the oven and let it cool for thirty minutes on the counter before cutting it open. Just slice it open, remove the seeds with a fork, and enjoy all on its own, or use the flesh to make another recipe. It is really delicious with a little cinnamon to satisfy your sweet tooth! Roasting whole squash is a much easier method than cutting it before you cook squash since it has such a hard rind. Squash and all gourds keep up to six months in a cool, dry place and are safe to buy in conventional form if you can't afford organic.
3. Sweet Potatoes
Oh, who doesn’t love sweet potatoes, right? Sweet potatoes are my ultimate comfort food. They’re also so much tastier in the fall than any other time of year, in my opinion. I buy organic sweet potatoes since soil conventional potatoes are grown in is often filled with pesticides and fertilizers and potato skins are edible, therefore they contain what is directly in the soil. The skin of a sweet potato is not only tasty, but also very good for you, containing tons of fiber and potassium! Sweet potatoes contain more potassium than bananas, more Vitamin A than carrots, more fiber than an apple, more water than many fruits, and are great for lowering your blood sugar. I recommend eating sweet potatoes roasted whole or cut and roasted. They are delicious on their own, or seasoned with some thyme, sage and black pepper. Sweet potatoes are my favorite addition to vegetable soup and I use in place of white potatoes for a healthier ( and prettier) option!
Do not ignore the humble turnip! Turnips are very high in fiber, contain no sugar, and are one of the best cleansing root veggies to eat. They are great for removing excess mucus from the body and removing acidic wastes from the bloodstream. They are also high in Vitamin C, so they're great for your skin and immunity. If you’re new to using them, eat them up them like I do in a vegetable soup! They are best when cooked for longer periods of time since they soften up and sweeten once roasted. Turnips are also so cheap, and can be cut and tossed into a vegetable mix to roast in the oven for another fast and cheap option. Pair them with some chopped onions and garlic to enhance the flavor and sprinkle with a little sea salt for a faux potato dish!
Beets are a glorious food to eat girls! They are so great for reducing inflammation in the body, reducing constipation, eliminating fatigue, and they can improve how your body uses oxygen by improving the function of your red blood cells. Beets are very cleansing and incredibly tasty roasted in the oven. I also like to juice with them. They make my skin glow, and though I don’t care for them raw, they make a beautiful addition to salads when shaved into raw slices. Beets have a naturally sweet taste, and they taste much better roasted versus boiled. Nutrient wise, beets are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains. Betanins have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support.
When fall first arrives, my mother and I always head to the mountains in nearby NC to pick apples from an apple farm. They taste amazing when they are in season, making them one of the best fall foods to buy. I love all types of apples, with my favorites being Golden Delicious, Granny Smith ( green apples), Fuji Apples and Gala apples. Apples are a great source of fiber, antioxidants and Vitamin C. They contain the fiber known as pectin that helps remove cholesterol from the body. You can use apples in your smoothies, bake them into a pie, or even make your own home made apple butter! Just peel them, place them in the slow cooker and then puree to make apple butter or apple sauce. I also like to chop apples and freeze them so I can add them to pumpkins, muffins, or smoothies all year long.
Don’t ignore this boring looking veggie at the store. I really wish more people would eat more parsnips, because they are so underrated in my opinion! Parsnips are like carrots, but are white and so much sweeter. They are excellent to add to soups, stews and pair well with turnips. Nothing is better than using parsnips with some carrots, turnips, onions, garlic and celery with fresh herbs to make a simple soup stock or veggie soup. All it needs is some fresh black pepper and sea salt, and it is incredibly satisfying. Parsnips are high in Vitamin C, fiber, and great for reducing constipation, as well as keeping you full. You can even make a healthy fry replacement using parsnips if you cut them into strips like fries. Just roast in the oven with a tiny bit of coconut oil, black pepper and sea salt!
Fall is such a great time of year to embrace a new variety of healthy foods. The best part is, they don’t spoil as quickly as summer or spring produce does either. This means you’ll save money, time and stress, even if you go nuts at the store like I do and buy a ton at one time! What’s your favorite fall piece of produce to cook something tasty?