I don’t know what it is about September—I just love seeing and feeling the seasons start to change, and the Fall seasonal foods start to crop up at the supermarket looking better than ever! BAM: the farmers market sets out a whole new slew of colorful fruits and vegetables not available in the summertime. And this is the time to put those new kids on the block into your shopping basket. Because when fruits and veggies are picked and sold at the peak of their freshness, you’re getting the most flavor and health benefits possible (and it’s cheaper too).
Have you ever eaten a tomato in the winter? Yep, flavorless, colorless and mealy.
So eating produce that’s in season (which means grown at the same time of the year you actually eat it) means your food hasn’t been sitting in a shipping container for the past three months covered in some chemical preservatives or in a controlled atmospheric storage for the long-ass trip to your grocery store. You get to bliss out to that ripe, incredible flavor.
Cheaper, and better for the planet!
And when you buy in season, you’re buying food at its peak of supply too. When there’s abundance of a product, the prices go down because let’s get real here, farmers would much rather sell their products for a lower price than not at all! Seasonal food is also much less expensive to produce and to harvest, and it doesn’t require the poison pesticides and genetic modification needed to grow the same one crop all year long. This means a healthier you and a healthier planet. (Two thumbs up!)
To ensure you are getting produce at its freshest, buy locally at your farmers market or join a CSA to ensure you’re getting foods that are seasonal and fresh. Plus, you’ll be supporting your local farmers and the businesses in your community. (Another win-win!)
Listen to your bod!
Look, I know seasonal eating is not a new idea. (Have you read Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma yet? If not, I highly recommend it.) But this is worth repeating because this way of eating in alignment with the changing of the seasons is designed to support our health and the body’s natural healing process perfectly.
In the summer months, our bodies need to stay cooler and hydrated, so we eat more juicy fruits, like melons, cucumbers, and berries. In the Fall, apples are literally falling off the trees because they are a wonderful transition food that helps our bodies cool down from the heated summer to prepare us for the winter months. And we all know how much I love me some leafy greens! In the spring, these help us detoxify and lose those pounds that we’ve put on to keep us warm and cozy during the winter months.
So, you can trust that produce that is in season is truly nourishing your body.
And really it’s about keeping it simple! By living and eating with the natural rhythms of the seasons, our bodies will just be more relaxed. It will also open you up to new varieties of produce and encourage you to cook at home more often. So bust out that crock pot and scan Pinterest recipes, because when your produce is limited to what’s actually in season, it’s the perfect time to bust out of your routine and be adventurous in the kitchen!
It’s damn near impossible for me to narrow the list of delicious fruits and veggies down to just three super stars, but I’ve done just that for you.
Here are my three favorite foods in season for Fall.
(Bliss out your taste buds September thru March)
OMG, I HATED these bad boys when I was younger, and not just because their name is so hard to remember how to spell. Sorry, Mom, but when you boiled these up for dinner, the house smelled like dirty socks. Yuck!
Little did I know, when cooked correctly, these little cabbage heads are ahhhmazing. Since they tend to be a lil bit bitter, I love to sauté them with tangy, sweet or savory sauces—like balsamic vinegar or organic maple syrup and sage.
Why They Do A Body Good:
– Just one half cup contains more than your daily recommendation of vitamin K, essential to building strong bones and preventing heart disease.
– Great source of Folate (tissue repair and baby-making) and Iron (fatigue-fighting badass).
(Chow down September thru June)
Cauliflower is my go-to alternative to potatoes or rice. Cauliflower rice and mashies are so delicious that you’ll never miss the starchy counterparts. It’s also wonderful steamed with lemon and herbs. Cauliflower, with its sweet, nutty flavor, is perfect for winter side dishes—and a much lighter more nutritious option than boring white potatoes!
Why They Do A Body Good:
– It’s a kickass source of Vitamin C (combat colds and wrinkles).
– It has compounds that may help to prevent cancer cell growth.
– Contains phytonutrients the can lower your cholesterol.
(Please your palette August thru December)
These babies are a little sour and a little sweet. In a word, perfect. You can use the juice for sauces and marinades and the seeds to spice up your salads and wonderful in meat dishes and casseroles.
Now, pomegranates can be a total pain in the ass to de-seed, but I found this ninja life hack to help you out. Now sweet success shall be yours!
Why They Do A Body Good:
– These are an antioxidant powerhouse. Even more than red wine. Enough said.
– Studies suggest that pomegranates may help prevent breast and colon cancers—and help reduce the risk of heart attacks from cardiovascular disease.
– Great source of Vitamin C and Folate.
If you’re not sure what’s in season, I’ll encourage you once again to take a stroll around your local farmer’s market! It’s the easiest way to ensure you get produce that’s grown during its particular season.
But if you’re more of a Ralph’s fan, another great indicator is the prices at the grocery store. When prices go up for a particular fruit, for example, that’s because it is going out of season and you are paying for the shipping costs to get it to you from another country. The opposite is true as well; if there is an abundance of something and the prices are low or on sale, that’s a great indication that it is in season.
For a little online fact-finding mission, here are two cool guides to what’s in season:
So, don’t be afraid to dive into all the beautiful bounty Fall has to offer. You may just discover your next go-to dinner for a cozy night by the fire or your next autumn potluck!
LOVE + cauliflower mashies!