Many times I have set out to the super market with my mind set on finding the most ripe fruit and vegetables, only to come home with less then perfect fruits and veggies. Check out the list below to see what fruits & vegetables are in season this Fall. There are little tips about each fruit and vegetable as well as tricks for picking out the best, a few fun facts, storage life, and some history for each fruit and vegetable.
Fruits & Vegetables: The Fall Edition
September, October, November:
Asian Pear – To choose good quality Asian Pears, you need to go by its smell rather than it’s firmness. Store in a cool, dark place. Avoid pears that are wrinkled, soft, scuffed, or bruised.
Barbados Cherries – Extremely high in vitamin C, Barbados Cherries are perfect for juice, jams, and jelly. Some say Barbados Cherry trees are great for adding ornamental value to landscape.
Broccoli – A plant from the cabbage family, introduced by Italian immigrants. Broccoli is high in vitamin C as well as fiber. The word broccoli comes from the Italian word Broccolo in which means “flowering top of cabbage”.
Brussels Sprouts – Brussel Sprouts a known for looking like mini cabbage. When picking your sprouts, choose them based on firmness. Brussel Sprouts do not develop their sweet, nutty flavor until cold air arrives.
Butter Lettuce – Yum, my favorite. Great for salads and sandwiches, butter lettuce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Avoid when lettuce is thin, wilted, and brown around the edges.
Butternut Squash – Also known as the Butternut Pumpkin, when ripe, has a very deep orange color.
Cactus Pear – Cactus Pears can be diced like a pineapple, great for a yogurt or ice cream topping. To choose the right pear, avoid dark spots and look for firmness.
Cape Gooseberries - Gooseberries can be stored for several months and are long-lasting. Great for jams and sauces and perfect for pies. In Columbia, these fruits are stewed with honey and eaten as a dessert.
Cauliflower - Reproduced by seeds, this vegetable is known for its head and not the rest of its body. It’s origin stems (excuse my pun) from the Mediterranean.
Chinese Long Beans - A member of the black eye pea family, Chinese Long Beans tastes like a string bean but is longer than one. Choose your beans based on their bright color and flexibility.
Crabapples – A small, extremely sour fruit that resembles apples, Crabapples are very rarely eaten raw.
Cranberries - Raw cranberries are known as a “super fruit” based on their nutrient and antioxidant qualities. Cranberries are served as an American and Canadian Thanksgiving Side and are also served during European Winter festivals.
Date Plum – Originating in Asia and Europe, these plums are known for their sweetness and contain a lot of sugar and vitamins.
Garlic – Easily grown in mild climates, garlic should be stored in warm climates. As of today, China is the largest producer of garlic anywhere Garlic cloves can be stored in the refrigerator, in red wine to stay fresh.
Ginger – Ginger cultivation began in South Asia and quickly spread to South Africa. Ginger produces a hot culinary spice most commonly used in the kitchen, but it can also act as a food preservative. Be aware, ginger does interact with some medications, although it is on the FDA’s “safe list”.
Grapes – Grapes can be eaten raw or made into a jam. When buying grapes, look for plump ones that firmly attached to the vine. Avoid damaged, wrinkled, or bruised grapes. You can store grapes in a ventilated bag in the refrigerator for up to a week, although they are best used with in 3 days of purchase.
Guava – You know when guavas are ripe because they will be soft to the touch. Guava Fruit is usually very sweet and has a reddish, pinkish tint to them. Store at room temperature for ripening, then in the refrigerator to keep ripe for a few extra days.
Hearts of Palm – These vegetables are harvested in the “heart of palm trees”. As of 2008, Costa Rica has become one of the main distributors of hearts of palm, although Brazil has become the highest producer of the vegetable.
Huckleberries – Often confused as blueberries, the huckleberry has a distinct taste that makes the two very different. Huckleberries are very edible and tasty and can range from tart to sweet.
Jalapeno Peppers – A medium-sized chili pepper, commonly picked and eaten while still green. They are known for their extremely hot and spicy seeds. The juice is sometimes extracted as used as an allergy remedy.
Jujube – Although its precise origin is unknown, Jujube’s are thought to originate in Asia between Lebanon, India, and Bangladesh. These fruits are believed to alleviate stress and can also be used as an anti-inflammatory, and/or sedative.
Key Limes – A key lime comes from the citrus specie but is a global fruit. Key limes are commonly the size of a golf ball. As they ripen, they have a yellowish tint to them. The riper they are, the sweeter they get.
Kumquats – These edible fruits often resemble and can be confused with an orange. The earliest seen Kumquat bushes were found in China in the 12th century. These fruits grow better and faster in warmer regions.
Mushrooms – Ah yes, the one vegetable my family wont eat, lol. The mushroom is a freshly spored fungus. Low in calories, mushrooms can be eaten raw or can garnish a meal. Raw mushrooms are a good source for vitamin B. The mushrooms sold in stores are grown on mushroom farms.
Passion Fruit – Native to Brazil through Paraguay, Passion Fruits do not attract flies and are best bought from local markets before they are wrinkled.
Pear – Pears are known for their sweet flavor, but they are NOT an apple, as some might think. Simple and sophisticated, there is no crunch to a pear. Usually about 133 calories, pears are a good source of fiber as well as vitamin C.
Persimmons – Store persimmons in a dry area. to choose a persimmon, make sure it is non-wrinkled and non-bruised. You will know if one is ripe by its red color and cracking skin. Yellow one’s are not ripe.
Pineapple – A tropical plant that can be consumed fresh, juiced, or canned, Pineapples will never become any riper then when it was first harvested. They can be stored in room temperature for a few days, and refrigerated to add 2 days life, but generally should not be kept any longer then that.
(Check out my recent post, “Low Calorie – No Cook Recipe: Pineapple & Orange Cubes & Slices” by clicking here!)
Pumpkins – A pumpkin runs in the squash family, known for its bright orange color and sweetness. Pumpkins are used for both eating and recreation. They are grown around the world and when ripened, can be boiled, baked, steamed, or roasted.
Sunflower Kernels - Known for their excellent dietary fiber, sunflower kernels, better known as Sunflower seeds, are great for snacking as well as garnishing a few dishes. They have reactions to anything nickle-based.
Sweet Potatoes - These large, sweet tasting potatoes are usually mislabeled as a yam. This plant does not tolerate frost and needs abundant sunshine and warmth to grow. To choose a ripe sweet potato, avoid rotten, yellow ones. The more yellow they are, the more likely they have died.
Turnips – Turnips are known for their natural sweetness. Large turnips are grown for human consumption, where as smaller versions are grown to feed livestock. It takes about 55 to 66 days to grow a Turnips.