Last spring and early summer brought beautiful strawberries, hearty collard greens, and sweet pineapple (see the full Spring and Early Summer list here). As we welcome fall, check out what’s in-season as well as my picks to boost your nutrition!
Every season the USDA and FDA publish lists of in-season produce. These lists are great for a weekend farmer’s market trip, or to simply be aware of what produce is in season at your local grocery store.
Why Choose In-Season Produce?
Choosing in-season produce is less expensive, fresher, more environmentally friendly and even tastier!
So, What’s In-Season?
This list is an overview of in-season produce from the USDA, your specific area may vary. The list of produce is quite long, so in this post you will learn which in-season foods pack the most nutrition punch. Support the environment, local farmers, your taste buds and fuel your body with the nutrients it craves!
Here’s the official USDA list:
- Bell Peppers
- Brussels Sprouts
- Collard Greens
- Greens (cooking)
- Green Beans
- Sweet Potatoes and Yams
- Swiss Chard
- Winter Squash
Download Fall Farmers Market Shopping List
These are my top picks for your next farmer’s market or supermarket trip based on cost and nutrient density from the USDA list! Fruits and vegetables are always a good choice, but try these picks if you are on a budget or looking for a certain nutrient boost.
These baby cabbages deserve a whole post! To keep it short, Brussels sprouts are low in calories with high vitamin and fiber content. One cup has over 200% of your daily vitamin K requirement and 4 grams of fiber (16% of your daily fiber needs).
Maple Brussels Sprouts recipe:
- 2 cups Brussels sprouts, raw, roughly chopped
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp walnuts, crushed
- Pinch of salt
Instructions: Steam chopped Brussels sprouts until bright green, usually 5-8 minutes. Add to sauté pan with olive oil on low heat to prevent splattering. Toss to coat, add salt and walnuts and stir to combine. Drizzle maple syrup and cook for 3-4 more minutes to mingle flavors. Serve warm.
This low-carb superstar can be used to replace pizza crust, toast, and even rice! Cauliflower is high in choline, a nutrient involved in brain development and metabolism. Cauliflower also has sulforaphane, a recently popular antioxidant being studied for its anti-cancer effects.
This often-neglected root veggie is slightly sweet and provides vitamin C, manganese, potassium and folate. Try swapping sweet potato fries for parsnip fries!
Kale is trendy for good reasons. Its dark green color comes from lutein and zeaxanthin, antioxidants essential to eye health. Kale is also rich in fiber, calcium, zinc, and potassium. A whole cup of kale has about 30 calories, making it a great option to maximize nutrients with low calories!
These little gems taste the sweetest in the fall and pack a huge punch of antioxidants to fight off school-time colds. They also have quercetin and gallic acid which may have cancer fighting properties.
A single pear has about 18% of your daily fiber requirement! Depending on their color and size, pears can have different levels of fiber and antioxidants like leutin, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin. Pair ripe pears with cheese or enjoy poached for a warming fall dessert!
Cranberries usually come in cans, try them fresh for a unique texture. Cranberries are known for their anti-UTI benefits, but also contain compounds that aid in blood pressure control and immune function.
Try making your own cranberry sauce.
Perfect Cranberry Sauce Recipe
(Adapted from Food Network)
Empty 12 oz of fresh cranberries into a saucepan and transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl. Add 1 cup sugar (can reduce depending on desired taste!), 1 strip orange or lemon zest and 2 tablespoons water to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries are soft, about 10 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the reserved cranberries.
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More Recipes and Fall Food Ideas
- 5 Recipes That Make Winter Greens Irresistible
- Low-salt Diet Education (and Recipe!)
- September Spotlight: Focus on Whole Grains
Caroline is a Clinical Registered Dietitian for MedStar Health and Hospital Systems in Baltimore, Maryland. She completed her Masters Degree in Dietetics from San Jose State University and moved back to Charm City to be with her fiancee. When she’s not providing medical nutrition therapy to her patients, Caroline enjoys cooking, waterfront walks and crab-anything (crab pizza is the best!).