As the temperature drops, it is the perfect time to embrace the range of fall produce in season now. This week, we highlight the quintessential autumn flavors that are at peak ripeness and offer the nourishment your body needs to get ready for winter. Celebrate the season and bring the flavors of fall to your table by cooking with apples, root vegetables and winter squash.
With the Honeycrisp as our state fruit, Minnesotans are known to love apples and orchards. Apples are loaded with pectin, the soluble fiber that helps lower your LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol, supports healthy digestion and may suppress hunger. These heart-healthy fruits, which are associated with lower risk of death from heart disease and stroke, also protect against metabolic syndrome, a group of risk factors that includes high blood sugar, high triglycerides, low HDL (good) cholesterol and belly fat. Metabolic syndrome raises your risk for heart disease and other health problems, such as diabetes and stroke. While perfect when enjoyed raw off the tree, there are countless ways to incorporate apples into your cooking. Try our Pan-Roasted Chicken with Apples for a fall meal that is nourishing and flavorful.
Fall is when an array of root vegetables, including carrots, turnips, kohlrabi, rutabaga and parsnips, are at their peak. Root vegetables in the brassica family – turnips, kohlrabi and rutabaga – contain many of the same antioxidants as cabbage, broccoli and kale, including high concentrations of antioxidants, vitamins C, B, A, and iron. Parsnips offer folate, calcium, potassium and fiber, and carrots are an excellent source of beta carotene. All provide ample fiber that gives you lasting energy and helps balance your blood sugar. A root vegetable roast made up of a variety of cubed root vegetables is a simple, delicious side dish for any fall meal. Spend time over the weekend chopping root veggies and you can have a quick side dish any night of the week – just toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and throw in the oven. Or transform them into a creamy rish dish, like our Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes.
Butternut, Acorn, Hubbard, Kabocha, Spaghetti – each variety of winter squash has its own character, but all are nutritional workhorses, providing ample vitamins C, B6 and E, thiamin, potassium, manganese, niacin and folate. And winter squash is one of the best sources of the antioxidant beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in your body. Eating winter squash supports heart health, boosts your immune and nervous systems, deters age-related macular degeneration and helps prevent certain kinds of cancers. The deeper the orange color, the higher the carotenoid content. The possibilities for this fall staple are endless: cubed and roasted, stuffed and baked, in soups and stews, added to grain salads, or as pizza toppings. And don’t throw away those seeds – they make a delicious, high-fiber snack when roasted with sea salt and olive oil!
Nourish Your Body with the Flavors of Fall
Take advantage of the flavors of autumn when they are at peak ripeness. Cooking with apples, root vegetables and winter squash fills your home with the aromas of fall and nourishes your body.
You will love the way you feel!