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Fall is in full swing across the U.S. right now, and in addition to changing leaves and cooler temperatures, this season offers some great seasonal foods! Here is a list of the Top 10 foods that you will likely see more of this autumn.
- Apples: Perhaps the most iconic fall fruit, apples are at their peak between late august and mid-September. Different strains of apples will be ripe at different times; for example, McIntosh apples are best in September, while Fuji apples are best in early October. And in addition to just snacking on these classic fruits this fall, it is also the season for apple picking! Take a day trip to a local farm or orchard and chose your own apples straight from the tree!
- Persimmons: These lesser-known fruits hit their peak season between October and February. The most common type of persimmons are Asian strands that were introduced to the U.S. in the 1850’s. However, there are also varieties of persimmons that are native to the U.S. These are called American Persimmons, though they are often referred to as “sugar-plums” or “possumwood” and grow throughout the central and eastern American south and mid-Atlantic. The genus name for these fruits, diospyros virginiana, means “fruit of the gods.” When picking out your persimmon, make sure it is ripe! If eaten too early, they will have a very bitter and acidic taste!
- Pumpkin: Nothing indicates that fall is upon us quite like seeing pumpkins decorating houses and store windows. However, pumpkins are not just for display, they are also a fantastic fall food! A member of the squash family, the pumpkin is best in autumn. The most popular dish made with pumpkins is pumpkin pie, which is a Thanksgiving dessert staple!
- Cranberry: Cranberries are a distinctly American fall fruit and are most commonly served as a sauce or jelly at Thanksgiving meals. Found mainly in Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington, these small red berries are grown on vines in bogs that get flooded in the winter. The main cranberry harvest takes place in September and October, so cranberries are typically available in stores in the late fall and through December.
- Winter Squash: There are many varieties of squash, but autumn is the season for winter squash. These squash types are different from summer squash because they are allowed to ripen longer and get firmer in texture. While some summer squashes can be eaten raw, winter squashes are best if cooked. The peak season for winter squash is from early fall through winter.
- Concord Grapes: While there are many different strands of grapes that grow across the world, Concord grapes are unique to the U.S. They grow in New England and are in season from late summer through mid fall. Concord grapes are different from other grapes both in size and flavor, as they tend to be much larger and have a much more intense, tart grape flavor. For this reason, as well as the fact that Concord grapes have more seeds than other varieties, these grapes are mostly used for preserves, juices and wine.
- Cabbage: Although cabbage is now available year-round, it is best in the late fall and winter. There are over 400 different kinds of cabbage in the world, but the most common are red, green and Savoy. Cabbage is a member of the cruciferae family of vegetables that include kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, all of which are best in the fall.
- Parsnip: Parsnips are a type of root vegetable and are best in the fall and winter months since parsnips need a frost to convert their starches to sugars in order to develop their sweet flavor. Europeans brought parsnips to the U.S. in the 1600s, and they are best served boiled, baked, or pureed.
- Figs: While figs technically have two seasons, a shorter summer season for the “breba” or young fruits and a fall season, the latter is when the better, riper crop is available. Unlike other fruits that are available year round, fresh figs are not. You have to enjoy them while you can this fall, or else settle for the dried variety until next year!
- Cauliflower: While in the same family of vegetables as broccoli, cabbage and bok choy, cauliflower tends to be less popular than its more colorful cousins. However, cauliflower can actually come in many varieties and colors such as green, purple, yellow and the more common white. Peak season for cauliflower is from September to December, and most of the U.S. crop is grown in California.
Stop by your local grocery store or farmer’s market and pick up some of these delicious fall foods today!