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Foods to look forward to as the seasons change

I live in a four-season northern hemisphere location (New Jersey) and am trying to compile a list of foods to look forward to as the seasons change in part to keep from getting the "blahs" as the weather cools.

I always look forward to fresh figs in September, October; cherries via South America that arrive for a couple of weeks around December, January

What do you look forward to?

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  1. I like the fall comfort foods like chili, pot roast, hot dish, hot chocolate, chai tea, pumpkin, apples, butternut squash, eggnog, peppermint bark, candy canes, cranberries, wild rice, stew, venison and duck as I have a lot of hunters in my family, I too love those cherries when they come in.

    1 Reply
    1. re: danionavenue

      No love for fresh Cranberries ? Homemade relish with citrus,cooked in Pork roast, etc.

    2. I love the seasonal varieties of apples, especially honeycrisp. I eat apples year round, but the extra options this time of year make the transition to fall slightly bearable.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mpjmph

        I love honeycrisp as well. I also love French butter pears, which only show up for a few weeks here.

      2. I'm in Ohio and as in NJ once the snow covers the ground there isn't a lot of "fresh/local" stuff to be had.

        So I look forward to stew, beef stew in particular. I LOVE big chunky carrots that have been simmering in the beef stew for hours until they are super soft and sweet. They are a winter treat for me.

        1. New apples and homemade apple pie and applesauce, Comice pears, satsuma oranges in December, new citrus in December-January. Homemade sukiyaki with matsutake mushrooms.

          1. I live in sunny southern CA (in fact, it's to be in the 90s tomorrow), and generally I miss the seasons terribly. However, that's offset when I can go to my back yard and cut satsumas to my heart's content. Nothing better than a satsuma still warm from the sun.

            2 Replies
            1. re: pine time

              LOL same here!

              I'm still picking bucket loads of San Marzano tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, beans, etc. from the garden! I can usually keep eveything going and growing through most of November, but after that it's time to move in the cold weather crops...not that it even really gets very cold here.

              1. re: pine time

                I live in Southern California too, and the one thing I can think of is the return of honeycrisp apples, I love them.
                As we have fresh produce year round, I mostly miss the summer stone fruits, especially fresh peaches.
                The other thing I can think of is the availability of frozen turkeys in the fall (ever try to buy a turkey in September?) not easy at the regular supermarket.

              2. I enjoy turning my oven on and getting an earthenware bowl warm enough to proof dough, and the smell of various things baking (just made banana bread as a case-in-point) but I look forward to being able to keep something simmering more than anything.

                Chili, vegetable-beef soup or stew, gumbo.. not much makes me happier than something burbling away on a back burner for a few hours.

                1. I'm stuck down here in Florida and we dont have seasons in Miami, so i would GLADLY trade you some of our heat for a few weeks of leaves changing color, chilly nights, and excuses to make some slow cooking recipes! if it gets below 70 degrees, im busting out so much pumpkin, apples, chili, brussel sprouts, sweet potatoes, and pecan pie that my friends will be planning a intervention to turn off my oven and slow cooker.

                  wow i really miss changing seasons.

                  1. More soups more often. I have a winter squash one that is just perfect for the butternut/acorn/pumpkin time of the year.

                    1. Unusual (non-supermarket) varieties of apples. Any stews, braises etc., that I can cook in myStaub or Le Creuset French ovens. Indeed, by August, I am longingly looking at my enameled cast iron pieces, thinking of bison and lamb stews, pot roasts, etc. Also, bread baking, as I don't do any baking that requires more than a toaster oven during the warm weather unless there is a compelling reason to turn on the big oven.

                      1. You can take the boy out of the Midwest, but you can't take the Midwest out of the boy, even in sunny SoCal. I can't go out in the woods and pick REAL persimmons, but I can make a creditable and delicious persimmon pudding from ripe Hachiyas. Not going out and shooting any rabbits, either (and the squirrels around here ain't worth eating), but I can sure braise a frozen bunny or two. Better yet, it will be chilling enough - in spots - to warrant such cool-weather delights as scalloped potatoes, chicken and dumplings …

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Will Owen

                          (and the squirrels around here ain't worth eating), yep, all you have are ground squirrels which I used to hate because the seemed to kill anything I planted! Some friends moved from CA to TX many years ago and their three young daughters remarked 'mommy, what's that squirrel doing in a TREE???' They were only familiar with ground squirrels!

                          1. re: Barbara76137

                            I assure you that my corner of California is well populated by many many many tree squirrels. My house is in an old walnut orchard. California is a very large state.

                            As Thanksgiving approaches, around here people start thinking about the start of Dungeness crab season.

                            1. re: 512window

                              Tree squirrels is what we have in Pasadena, too. Our whippet hunts them in our large back yard, using the same stalk-the-dash technique that cheetahs do. We're keeping a tally; she's gotten twelve so far, which works out to a bit over one a year. She does not however eat them. Thing is, Midwestern squirrels are about the same size as Midwestern rabbits, which is to say up to 1 1/2 pounds dressed. Three of those fricasseed will feed a family of five, including greedy kids.

                              For ground squirrels we have to go out into the boonies, preferably old ranches with lots of oak trees. If you're just out camping, they're loads of fun to watch.

                              1. re: Will Owen

                                I was sure they had not all migrated north....About 10 years ago I had a cat who liked to hunt squirrels and got about one a week. He ate every last bit.

                              2. re: 512window

                                It's incredible to watch a HAWK grasp a squirrel (or rabbit) and fly away with it. The first time I saw that, I just stood there in amazement.

                                1. re: Cheese Boy

                                  That is amazing. Even though I see this somewhat regularly now, it never fails to leave an impression on me, watching the raptors procure their own chow!

                                  1. re: nofunlatte

                                    We had a red-tail family take over our back upstairs deck for about a week, while they were teaching their kid to hunt. Aside from the huge entertainment factor - the deck is right outside my studio here - it was nice because the crows stopped coming by, and for another couple of weeks we were fresh out of squirrels. I never did see any of them actually catch anything, but we did have a lot more feathers than usual scattered in the back yard.

                          2. ROAST BEEF!!

                            I just don't find it palatable in the warm months, but it's getting colder and I'm dying to cook some.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Shazam

                              I'm not a huge fan of roast beef, but I will gladly do shots of au jus.

                            2. im looking forward to braised pork butt with roasted apples and saurkraut.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: charles_sills

                                mmmm... I've been waiting to try a new-to-me crock pot recipe with pork chops slow cooked over a bed of potatoes and sauerkraut. I made several pints of applesauce last weekend, will have to crack open a jar.

                                1. re: mpjmph

                                  Our Whole Foods market right now has a cooler display of three or four kinds of sausages and jars of fresh kraut. It's not QUITE the right weather for that - we're up to almost 100 today - but it's nice to think about. I've actually been thinking more about spareribs, the real ones that is, which I really prefer cooked with kraut rather than barbecued. Some of the best sauerkraut I've ever had is made here in LA County, by Krugermann's in Atwater Village. The founder is from a family that's been in the pickling business in Germany for generations, and brought his recipes and know-how when he emigrated. We'll go through at least four jars if it just stays cool enough long enough.

                              2. Autumn brings cool temps to my basement finally allowing me to air-dry sausage/capicolli/lonza (I can't do this all summer long).

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: porker

                                  Directions please, I will be on my way shortly, hehehhe

                                  1. re: JEN10

                                    Head east, take left at NYC. Its about 2200 miles, see you in a few days {;-/)

                                  2. re: porker

                                    You just reminded me!
                                    Coming soon is the time of year that my son makes his homemade beef jerky. We really haven't eaten commercial beef jerky in years.

                                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                                      Its been a long while since I made jerky. Used to be I'd head a couple hours north with buddies and hunt moose in the fall. Depending on different factors, the meat might be just gamey, or sometimes WHOA, that is GAMEY! No matter, light or heavy gamey, moose jerky always comes out fantastic. So much so that I prefer it to beef. Theres a guy at work who goes up weekends, but hasn't got one yet - I've been bugging him for a couple of weeks now to give me a roast to make jerky.

                                  3. Soup! Especially heartier soups like split pea and beef barley. I also make a rockin' French onion that I serve with a crouton and parm or gruyere on top. Great for dinner and breakfast!

                                        1. re: letsindulge

                                          Even though it's still in the high 80s here I made lamb shanks and braise lentils for dinner tonight. Can't wait around for cold weather here.

                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                            I'm planning on lamb shanks for tomorrows dinner. It's cold enough here in Michigan. Maybe some roasted acorn or butternut squash to go along. Mmmm

                                      1. Pecan pie, pumpkin and carrot muffins, cinnamon rolls, gingersnaps. This year I'm looking forward to making more soups.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: lilgi

                                          carrot cake! how could i have forgotten this one??

                                        2. Seasonal ice cream flavors @ the nearby homemade ice cream parlor. Right now I'm lovin' the Indian Puddin'

                                          1. At this time of year, the item I most appreciate are local apples. No more American or New Zealand imports for some months now.

                                            1. Living in the SF Bay Area, a store called the Berkely Bowl sells 15-20 different variety of grapes this time of year. Everything from the usual red, black, Thompson, Concord ... to various wine grapes such as merlot, chardonnay, cabernet, temprano, etc ... to lesser seen such as princess, kyoto, prefection and on and on and on.

                                              They also have a dozen different pears and at least 30 varieties of apples.

                                              There are all sorts of winter squash that start to appear.

                                              The pommegranites and persimmons are starting to show up.

                                              In December the many different types of citrus fruit will make their show. The first honey tangerines are being sold currently.

                                              1. Potato, ham and cheese soup.
                                                Bean soup with carrots.
                                                Lentil soup.
                                                Cioppino with warm crusty bread.

                                                Sour cream apple pie.
                                                Cider.
                                                Hot Cocoa.

                                                1. In New England, we look forward to bay scallop season in late fall and cold water shrimp later in the winter.

                                                  1. Here in TX I was joking today that we have two seasons: +100 degrees and ICE.

                                                    Can't say I've discovered any local seasonal ingredients that really excite me, but I'm looking forward to various chilis and homemade soups and anything out of the oven now that it is finally cooling off.

                                                    1. The Macoun apples have arrived! They are late this year in New England. Because of the heavy rains of Irene and since, the flavor is not as intense as I'd hoped for, but they still have that juicy crunch. They are the apple analog to Cosmo Kramer's Mackinaw peaches - only good for 2-3 weeks. Like their Macintosh relatives, they are not keepers. When stored, they rapidly go from crunchy to soft.

                                                      Winter squashes get star turns this time of year. Though they are available year-round, I rarely make curried squash and apple soup, which I love, during the milder months. Nor do I have refrigerator space to brine a large piece of meat, so I wait until it's cold enough to leave the brining container on the porch.

                                                      1. Sweet potato / yam cooked any way, this year I grew acorn squash, experiments to follow, lentil soup, split pea soup, stews, minestrone, chicken and dumplings, cornbread stuffing, cranberries (put some up already from a frozen stash), gnocchi, spinach and more spinach from the garden, along with chard, and kale, lasagna.

                                                        1. Next summer's watermelon, peaches and tomatoes:)

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: enbell

                                                            Agreed! We are down to our last few red tomatoes from our garden, and we didn't can nearly enough tomato sauce.
                                                            I have enough peach jam to last an eternity, though. It was quite a tasty crop here in Georgia this year.

                                                            1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                              I'll send you tomatoes in exchange for peaches

                                                          2. Hmmm...
                                                            Pot roast, hearty soups like veg beef, beef stew, chili, borsht, chicken pot pie.
                                                            Saturday Night Suppers like beans, franks, and brown bread.

                                                            1. "As the days grow short, some faces grow long. But not mine. Every autumn, when the wind turns cold and darkness comes early, I am suddenly happy. It's time to start making soup again. " ~Leslie Newman

                                                              1. I love the changing of the seasons. Fall means brussel sprouts (mmmmm). It means it's finally cool enough in my kitchen to make soups and stews. It means Thanksgiving and planning something special for Christmas.

                                                                Cold weather means hearty food with rich flavors. Real "stick to the ribs" stuff.

                                                                1. You had me at the mention of figs-after watching mine all summer, we had torrential rains right when they were ripening & they all turned to mush...now, I'm saving fig recipes for next year.

                                                                  I'm looking forward to fall foods-even if it hasn't cooled off a lot yet, I'm making venison chili, beans cooked in rib tip broth (smoked the ribs last weekend, cut the spares down to St. Louis cut, made stock w/ the tips, & spoon some over the puppies' food), biscuits & cornbread...

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: thistle5

                                                                    Was served an absolutely heavenly dessert last week at a local restaurant called Taste here in Albany- it was a fig panna cotta with sweetened pistachio butter...

                                                                  2. I'm in north Florida, and it looks like a couple more weeks until the satsumas from he tree in my yard are ready to pick. Otherwise, we seem to be in a little bit of a lull in terms of good produce other than apples from places further north. (My parents bring down lots of apples and cider made at the orchard when they do their fall visit from Michigan to here.)

                                                                    I'm looking forward to about January, when it seems like we can get decent strawberries and tomatoes again.

                                                                    1. Mmm... So much to look forward to! Split Pea & Ham soup, butternut squash soup, chili varieties out the wazoo... Ok, so ANY hearty soup will work. Being able to roast a turkey!! (Just did on Friday - YUM.) Using the oven more.

                                                                      I wish we had better options for local food here in Philly, so I'm relegated to winter squash and a few cool hearty veggies. Apples from a local orchard. Just picked a bushel and canned a lot of applesauce and apple butter!

                                                                      As for crock pot cooking - heck, that is a YEAR round tool! :)

                                                                      1. chanterelles

                                                                        mandarin oranges

                                                                        oysters

                                                                        sea urchin

                                                                        1. has anyone said brussel sprouts yet??

                                                                          theyre starting to go on sale and be really nice in stores around me and i cant get enough!!

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: mattstolz

                                                                            No but love brussel sprouts. Roasted or shredded are my favorite ways to prepare

                                                                            1. re: mattstolz

                                                                              You beat me too it...
                                                                              I love them!!!
                                                                              Roasted, Creamed, Shredded, in pasta w/ bacon and parm... what else? Sauteed...
                                                                              With Cauliflower.....

                                                                              1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                Trader Joe's in the LA area have had their on-the-stalk sprouts for about a month now. Yes, we love those things however I prepare them. Late Pa-in-law hated raw vegetables, by which he meant any he had to chew, and happily ate his own sprouts cooked well past the burnt-rubber-reeking stage; I fed him my bacon-braised ones, and he adored them. As Mrs. O has gone off meat I'll have to lose the bacon, but oil-braised works too. Alternatively, blanched and chilled, then split and cooked au gratin with a sharp cheese sauce is a big hit around here. We'll do that for TG Day. Oh, yes (thanks, scubadoo!), roasted are swell too. With beets and parsnips and stuff, yum!