October and pumpkins tend to go hand in hand for obvious reasons. But with autumn’s generous harvest there are so many fruits and vegetables at their peak. Here are five seasonal favorites to look for this month.
Brussels sprouts thrive in the cool weather, so they’re abundant, affordable and at their peak in October. With plenty of fiber, folate and cancer-fighting phytonutrients, Brussels sprouts are one of the most nutritious vegetables. Roasting chars the edges imparting a rich flavor and texture. For a quicker preparation, shave or thinly slice Brussels sprouts, lightly sauté in olive oil and drizzle with a little aged balsamic vinegar and crushed walnuts for a warm fall salad.
Delicata gets overshadowed by butternut and acorn squash, but with an edible skin and a delicate sweetness similar to a sweet potato, delicata squash is one of the easiest winter squashes to prepare. As with other squashes, it’s an excellent source of vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C. Enjoy delicata squash roasted and tossed with pecans or add sweet, roasted strips to a bowl of greens for a hearty autumn salad.
Though many people think of grapes as a summer fruit, grapes are grown in the U.S. from May through January, making fall prime time to grab a bunch. Red, green and black grapes are a natural source of beneficial antioxidants and other polyphenols that contribute to heart health. The high levels of resveratrol are believed to play a role in healthy aging. Add halved grapes to fall salads, pop some into a baggie for a portable snack or roast them and mix with roasted fall vegetables or use to top baked feta cheese.
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Though you can find mushrooms all year long, many are at their peak in the fall. Mushrooms deliver a meaty texture, unlike any other plant food, making them ideal for vegans. At just 20 calories per cup, mushrooms are high in vitamins and minerals like selenium, copper and B vitamins. In fact, a cup of cooked mushrooms has more potassium than a medium banana. Enjoy their umami flavor in a vegan broth, roasted with olive oil and fresh thyme as a side dish or sautéed in a stir-fry. When you’re firing up the grill at your next tailgate, add diced mushrooms to ground beef or turkey for a flavorful burger with fewer calories and fat.
Though technically in season from August through December, pears are at their peak in October. Ranging from bosc to bartlett to concorde, anjou and more, they’re packed with 6 grams of fiber. At least one study revealed that eating white-fleshed produce like pears helps reduce the risk of stroke as much as 9%. To ripen, store at room temperature and eat within a few days for optimum taste. Slice a pear over an arugula and Gorgonzola salad or peel and poach them for an elegant, low-calorie, post-dinner treat.
What’s your favorite October fruit or veggie? Comment below!