The onset of autumn might mean the temperature starts dropping and winter is on the way, but the good news is this season offers an abundance of delicious fruits and vegetables. This is a great time of year for learning how to bake pies or tarts, as the holidays are right around the corner. Classic American cuisine takes full advantage of nature’s bounty, and the farm-to-table movement encourages aspiring chefs to reap the land’s seasonal harvest. Local fruits and vegetables are of high quality and provide maximum flavor, so when you’re browsing farmers markets as the leaves change, consider some of the season’s best offerings:
According to Food Republic, foragers start digging up porcini mushrooms in early fall. Mushrooms are seasonally harvested in the spring and fall, and though button mushrooms are found at any corner grocery store, there are thousands of species cultivated in the U.S. These fungi are a great addition to a pizza, omelet or cheeseburger.
Pears are harvested from midsummer until winter. Generally, Americans grow and consume European pears, which are cultivated on the West Coast in autumn. Pears are not only a great snack, but can also be used as the main ingredient in many pastries and baked goods. Furthermore, pears are fermented and made into seasonal cider, and are a great addition to fall cocktails.
Though they are found in late summer, these colorful fruits start to ripen at the beginning of fall. Heirloom tomatoes are a fantastic addition to a salad. At the farmers market, look for tomatoes that are bright and firm.
Beets are best in fall, despite being available year round. When selecting beets, look for bulbs that are smooth and firm. Fresh beets often are sold with the greens still attached, but make sure to snip the green portion from vegetable as soon as possible as they can withdraw nutrients from the beet itself.
Pumpkins are perhaps the best-known staple food of autumn. Not only are they used for decoration on Halloween, but they can be made into pie, bread or muffins. After all, pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving pastime. Pumpkin is also often used to flavor seasonal beers and coffee drinks. Even the seeds can be roasted with salt and served as a snack. Moreover, pumpkins are rich in alpha- and beta-carotene.