Fall is only a few weeks away, and Pumpkin Spice Lattes are already back at Starbucks, along with cider, cinnamon flavors, and the delicious baked goods that everyone loves around this time of year.
Fall also brings a variety of unique fruits and vegetables that are either unavailable or are of lower quality than during other seasons. For example, spinach isn’t typically able to grow in the Midwest, except during the summer. So, if someone is interested in a fresh spinach salad during January, the leaves typically need to be grown in California or another region that is warm year-round, and imported to be sold in Midwestern grocery stores. While this is certainly convenient, vegetables that aren’t locally sourced are typically more expensive in terms of money and fuel for transportation, and are of lower nutritional quality. Fruits and vegetables that are grown seasonally and eaten locally don’t need to be harvested as quickly, whereas if they are imported from across the country, they need to be picked early enough to prevent spoilage during transit. The longer produce is attached to the plant (and the ground), the more nutrients it absorbs from the soil.
Interestingly, seasonal produce also offers a variety of health benefits that are season-specific. For example, individuals who suffer from chronic conditions, such as arthritis or Raynaud’s Syndrome typically experience worsening of symptoms as the weather gets cooler. Foods that are high in magnesium and antioxidants have been shown to lower blood pressure, increase blood flow to extremities, and prevent symptoms, and these foods are typically perfectly ripe for harvest as summer comes to a close — especially arugala, beets, and sweet potatoes.
Other seasonal fall vegetables (Midwest)
- Bok Choy
- Brussel Sprouts
- …and more!
The best way to find local, seasonal produce is to visit your local farmer’s market. You also can visit the Seasonal Food Guide Website that helps you identify which fruits and vegetables are seasonal in your state during spring, summer, fall, or winter!
Eating seasonally is delicious and easy!
Below is a salad/slaw recipe that incorporates seasonal apple, brussel sprouts, and kale. It’s perfect in both late summer and early fall, and is sure to be a family favorite.
FOR THE SALAD
3 cups broccoli slaw (8 oz)
15 brussel sprouts, shaved
2 pink lady apples, diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
FOR THE DRESSING
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
DIRECTIONS: In a large bowl, toss together the lemon juice and the diced apples (this helps prevent browning.) Add the rest of the salad ingredients, and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dressing ingredients, and drizzle over salad. Toss and chill for 1 hour before serving.