Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The best of Fall produce

Summer may be gone but that doesn't mean fresh produce from local farms is gone too!  Indiana still has loads of delicious fresh produce that's in season now.  Here is a guide to Fall seasonal produce:

From mid-September to late October look for:
  • Apples, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Grapes, Lettuce, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radishes, Snap Beans and Spinach.

Also look for these items until late November:
  • Beets, Carrots, Collards, Mushrooms, Onions, Turnips, Turnips Greens, and Winter Squash.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 suggests we consume more dark green and orange vegetables.  Many of the fruits and vegetables listed above fit into this category.  Dark green and orange vegetables are major contributors of under-consumed nutrients including folate, magnesium, potassium, dietary fiber, and the Vitamins A, C and K.  Consumption of increased quantities and varieties of fruits and vegetables has been associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases and some cancers.  Not to mention that fruits and vegetables are low in calorie making them great additions when you're watching your weight.  All of us should strive to load half our plates with fruits and veggies at every meal!

The next time you're planning your weekly menu and shopping list, don't forget to pick up some fresh Fall produce.  Need ideas for how to use some of this bounty?  Try some of these!

Steam it - steam veggies until they are bright and just tender.
Roast it - roast vegetables in the oven at 425 degrees until browned and tender-usually about 15-20 minutes - try this with broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets and carrots.  Toss vegetables with a small bit of olive or canola oil (just enough to lightly coat) and season with your choice of spices before roasting.
Add it - add spinach, collard, or turnip greens to lentil soup, lasagna or rice
Stuff it - apples, onions and winter squash are all great stuffed.  Fill hollowed out produce with sausage and dry bread cubes seasoned with sweet or savory herbs and spices.
Mash it - mash potatoes, sweet potatoes or winter squash.  Also try mixing any of these with mashed carrots, turnips, broccoli or cauliflower.

Enjoy it!

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