Written by Hilary Rock BSc, Nutrition
Reviewed by Andrea Miller MHSc, RD
Just because the summer season is coming to an end does not mean that there isn’t any more delicious local produce available. From September to November the autumn harvest brings a variety of healthful and delicious produce from pumpkins to pears. Fresh local food has a shorter time between harvest and your table and buying in-season produce helps sustain the environment and local economy. So why not dig into the following local produce this fall season:
Cabbage: a healthy and inexpensive vegetable choice. As a source of vitamin C and fibre you can enjoy cabbage raw for a crunchy and spicy taste or cooked for a sweeter taste.
Potatoes: a source of potassium, vitamin C, fibre, and folate. To get the most fibre make sure to eat the potato skins. Boost the fibre by trying “smashed” potatoes by keeping the skins on when mashing.
Cranberries: a classic fall fruit. Cranberries are a source of vitamin C and are known to help lower the risk of urinary tract infections. Try cooking cranberries into a jelly, sauce or relish.
Brussels Sprouts: contain vitamin C which helps keep your immune system healthy. Enhance the flavour of cooked Brussels Sprouts by sprinkling with nuts, breadcrumbs, chopped dried fruit, or grated parmesan.
Pears: a good source of fibre which keeps your bowels healthy and regular. Pears are also a source of potassium, folate and vitamin C. Pears make a great fresh snack and healthy dessert but they are also delicious in baked goods such as pies, crisps and cakes.
Turnip: a source of fibre, vitamins C and potassium. The leafy part of the plant contains more nutrients compared to the root. Leaves are rich source of vitamins B6, E, K, A and C and minerals such as calcium, copper, iron and manganese.
Squash: an excellent source of beta-carotene and potassium. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant which gives the flesh of squash their bright yellow and orange colours. Beta-carotene may help to reduce the risk of some diseases and fight the signs of aging. Potassium is a mineral that can help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. Potassium also plays an important role in keeping our kidneys, muscles and digestive system functioning well. With the many varieties of squash available, try experimenting with different cooking methods and flavours.
Beets: contain folate, potassium, and vitamin C. Folate helps to build new red blood cells and lowers the risk of having a baby with birth defects. It may also help lower the risk of heart disease. Beets are known by the unique dark red and purple colour of the root, however, the green tops can be eaten too.
Pumpkin: not only a fun vegetable to carve on Halloween. Pumpkin is an excellent source of vitamin A which helps your eyes and skin stay strong and healthy. Both the seeds and the flesh can be used in many interesting dishes.
Apples: sweet, crunchy fall favorites are full of antioxidants, fibre, and vitamin C. Apple nutrients are present in the skin which is a particularly valuable part of the fruit with respect to its nutrient content. There are many delicious ways to enjoy apples from raw to warm apple pie.
Photos from Johnson Farmers’ Market in Desbarats Ontario. Check out your local farmers’ market to see what produce they have to offer.
Resources: www.ontario.ca/foodland/foodland-ontario, www.eatrightontario.ca