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Oct 10, 2013 05:38 PM

Seasonal eating - what's in season this fall?

I've been really into eating with the season the past year or so not only as a way to eat the freshest produce but also as some forced variety throughout the year. Since I'm new to this I have a general sense of seasonal produce variety but it's often difficult with a grocery store that ships in nearly anything all year long. I thought it'd be nice to share with each other our favorite seasonal fall produce. What's in season this fall?

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  1. My farm share just started having delicata squash which I just love along with beets which I roast in big batches. They had a great recipe for beet risotto I am dying to try.

    Of course here in New England we get our fair share of dark leafy greens all fall. I made a wonderful frittata with rainbow chard and kale recently. This weekend I am hoping to make a batch of Portuguese kale soup.

    Over the next few weeks we will started getting other winter squashes and I am looking forward to butternut squash soup and roasted acorn squash.

    We also have been getting gorgeous new potatoes and soon there will be sweet ones. There will also be turnips and parsnips. I know you are low carb but I love me some root veggies. :)

    39 Replies
    1. re: foodieX2

      Dark leafy greens - they are on my list of foods to explore. I'm a spinach fan but haven't really had many of the others. With a Southern grandmother, collards are a long time favorite. I tried kale last week, and this week I think I'll be checking out Swiss Chard.

      Squash - I also have limited experience with squash so looking forward to recipes this fall for all of the different varieties. I saw a butternut squash parmesan sauce a few days ago that looked quite good.

      1. re: fldhkybnva

        The dark greens are so versatile! Great sautéed on their own or with baby bellas and onions. Made into chips, shredded and added to almost any soup or added to meat balls or meatloaf. Of course in quiche or any baked egg dish. Are you a smoothie fan? I make one with kale, fresh ginger, carrots along with frozen blackberries and peaches.

        Almost any winter squash is great roasted with just a little olive oil and S&P. If you have a link to the sauce I would love it.

        1. re: foodieX2

          I love mushrooms and onions and they are my go to for many meals so it sounds like the dark greens will fit right in, of course I'll add bacon too.

          Here's the link for the butternut squash recipe http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/.... I know it's hard, but any words you would use to describe the taste of butternut squash?

          1. re: fldhkybnva

            Thanks for the recipe! Looks yummy.

            Hmmmm, describe the flavor? They are somewhat neutral yet slightly earthy and sweet. Have you ever had a roasted carrot where it gets all caramelized? The taste, not texture, of roasted butternut squash is somewhat similar. They lend themselves to both sweet dishes like creamy soups with nutmeg and cinnamon but also savory. I recently made a great pizza with onions, kale, fontina and roasted butternut squash.

            1. re: foodieX2

              I see. I think I've strayed away from squash because I don't tend to like sweet caramelized flavors :) Perhaps the addition of Parmesan will cut the sweetness and make it work for me :)

              1. re: fldhkybnva

                That may be why I stay away from them. Savory always.

                1. re: fldhkybnva

                  Absolutely. You can easily steam them instead of roasting to keep the flavor less sweet

                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                    Do you like pumpkin in savory dishes? Many "pumpkin" items are really a blend of winter squashes including butternut. Its wonderful in a curried cream soup.

                    Here's an idea for you and your new delivery,
                    Frittata with Caramelized Garlic, Butternut Squash & Aleppo: http://www.aliyaleekong.com/frittata-...

                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                      I haven't tried much pumpkin, don't think mom ever used it. We were a sweet potato family. Thanks for the recipe, frittatas are a frequent occurrence and I'm always looking for new ideas. I imagine kale and chard would also work well too.

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        I find butternut squash to have a somewhat similar flavor to sweet potatoes - in fact, I often sub it in recipes calling for sweet potatoes to reduce the carb content. I prefer it in savory preparations where its sweetness offsets the savoryness of things like cheese, curry, chile, sausage, etc.

                    2. re: fldhkybnva

                      I feel exactly the same way. I like, don't love, butternut squash and would never consider baking with sweet topping. I love acorn squash and tend to use it in soups, with hot sausage, greens, mushrooms, carrots, onions, garlic, etc.

                      If I end up with extra butternut, I cube it and freeze to use in muffins or to add to my dogs' dinner.

                      1. re: tcamp

                        Oh great, so maybe I should try acorn squash to start?

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          In a file somewhere I have a recipe for acorn squash stuff with sausage and 'other things.' IIRC, inch thick slices of squash with the meat are roasted. When I get back home (a week or so) I'll look it up. But you get the idea.

                      2. re: fldhkybnva

                        If you want them less sweet steam them instead of roasting.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          Butternut and Poblano peppers - genius combo that takes you out of sweet into 'totally savory".... cream, parm/smoked cheese, lentils or rice are good add's for thinking about a gratin of squash and peppers. Wonderful for Thanksgvikkah!

                  2. re: fldhkybnva

                    I've shared this kale salad 'recipe' before but will toss it in again. The video pretty much tells ya what to do. If you need any clarification, just holler. I make it regularly year round.


                    1. re: c oliver

                      Well, that looks mighty delicious! I imagine it would work with other greens as well?

                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                        Any greens you're willing to eat raw. But yeah.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Interesting recipe and video. Thanks. Kale has such a unique flavor and sturdy leaves that I am going to disagree that other greens will work. I think a massaged kale salad is better than lightly dressed so I think this is what the chef was doing when he mixed all the ingredients with his hands. The flavor of the dressing coats the leaves and does a little tenderizing.

                          What everyone should know about hardy greens like kale and chard is that their flavor changes after they get touched by frost. I really like chard flavor then. Beet greens seem to be tasty all season but we prefer golden beets. With golden beets, both the root and the leaves have a lighter, more delicate flavor.

                          1. re: dfrostnh

                            "Massaged" kale totally changes the texture even the color. One time I started massaging too early and it got too limp.

                    2. re: fldhkybnva

                      I was never a big fan of rainbow chard -- that beet-like flavor always bothers me -- until I combined it with ricotta for both ravioli and torta filling. When you get the combination just right they create a new flavor that is addictive. As for kale, combined with a mirepoix, garlic and white beans it is a perfect winter dish -- especially topped with roasted chicken legs.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          It is a variety of Swiss chard with different colored stems.

                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                            If you look at Gretchen S's post on WFD 249 from today, her first pic is Bright Lights (rainbow) chard.

                        2. re: fldhkybnva

                          I don't think Delicata squash are good keepers so buy them and eat them soon. We just microwave, split, remove seeds and serve with butter.

                          I'm not a fan of butternut squash which I think can be very watery and sometimes tasteless. I prefer buttercup but am now growing kabocha. The green ones look like buttercups but don't have the light grey button. Usually I have a good crop of Confection (seed from Johnny's) which I like because it is sweet, dry and a good keeper. Perhaps these good keeping squashes have harder skins making them more difficult to peel and thus unpopular. If it's really tough, I microwave for 8 minutes to soften the skin so I can cut. It's great in curries and as a substitute for sweet potatoes. The skin is edible. We get thin slices in our favorite Asian restaurant tempura. Delicata skin is also edible. If you buy from a farmers market, I would ask how long the squash has been cured. The buttercups and kabochas need some curing time. Here in NH mine are still curing but it's been a couple of weeks so should be good eating now. Flavor changes a little bit during storage.

                          1. re: dfrostnh

                            I find buttercup and kabocha to be too dry - the texture is odd and starchy when roasted. I may have had less than stellar specimens, though, and I admit I only tried each once before going back to butternut.

                            1. re: biondanonima

                              It's the dryness we like although occasionally I have added a little cooking liquid. Different tastes! That's why we need a variety of squashes.

                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                I love acorn squash, except for the peeling part. I use it in soups and also roasted, with a sausage stuffing.

                                I like acorn's firmer texture, when compared to butternut.

                                1. re: tcamp

                                  Can I roast and freeze it? How long will it sit in the pantry? It's a winter squash so I imagine a few weeks is OK? The plan was to stuff it or use it as a sauce.

                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                    I have had no problems letting winter squash sit around for a few weeks. Cool storage place, if possible.

                                  2. re: tcamp

                                    I like acorn too, although as you mentioned, it's a pain to peel unless you want to cook it whole. That's why I usually default to butternut.

                                    1. re: tcamp

                                      If you can get it cut in half, a potato peeler usually works on winter squash.

                                      1. re: tcamp

                                        Funny - I find acorn watery compared to butternut; but usually am using an acorn as a 'split' squash, stuffed with something for a fast dinner - tidy - squash with 1/2 for each person.

                                        I find the butternut holds it's shape, and has more flavor if I need a squash cooked, then to use in a risotto, roasted veg, medley, etc.

                                        Funny the different perceptions we all get from these squashes! I think some of it may not be us - but cellar time, freshness, industrial squash or farm market that affects.

                                    2. re: dfrostnh

                                      I was always given to believe that buttercup and kabocha are the same thing. Looking on Wikipedia reveals a slight distinction but IME supermarkets use the names interchangeably. I have not noticed a difference other than the little cap on the buttercup, though I really haven't tried to compare. I certainly don't find a difference in taste or texture.

                                      1. re: greygarious

                                        I find kabocha to be drier and slightly sweeter than buttercup but it all depends. The keeping quality of Confection (seed from Johnny's) is excellent whereas my inlaws grew buttercup and had trouble keeping them past Thanksgiving. The little cap is a good identifier. the supermarkets in my area have sticky labels identifying kabocha squash. Had two squashes out of the garden this week and my husband thought one was sweeter than the other. Could have been the recipe (one was a southwestern squash soup, the second was used just plain mashed for dinner). There's a lot of variables including how soon you cook after harvesting. The moisture content changes. sometimes we have found Confection to be too dry.

                                    3. re: fldhkybnva

                                      I love Swiss chard; I chopped and froze most of my CSA kale for later use (sausage and kale soup).

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        The Swiss chard I had last week was great, it will definitely be a regular buy. Do you blanch your greens before freezing?

                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          No blanching, as I will eventually use them in soup or sauté them anyway. I tuck them into a Ziploc vacuum-seal bag, suck the air out, and toss the bag(s) in the freezer. I've got several gallon size bags, and even more smaller quart size bags. The smaller ones can be used for sautéing for omelets, quiches, or a small batch of soup.

                                  3. Kale, chard, cabbages (red, chinese, regular,) beets, snow peas, sugar snap peas, fennel. green beans and lettuces have all just gone into my garden for fall harvest. Eggplants still produce into the fall. Apples galore, then citrus, artichokes, brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cranberries, kohlrabi, leeks and onions are mostly harvested in the fall, persimmons!!!

                                    1. Pears, carrots, (farmers market carrots are like no other!), parsnips, celeriac, (aka celery root), beets, collard greens and what others have already mentioned.
                                      I blanch the collar greens quickly and remove the stem, then use the leaf instead of a tortill for wraps often.
                                      I make massaged kale salad constantly- i like it better the next day, this link is similar to what i make but often i sub less oil or swap the oil for ripe avocado. Gets very soft and flavorful.

                                      2 Replies
                                        1. re: Ttrockwood

                                          Celeriac is a good mention since it's not seen very often. I won't dig my parsnips until spring when they have been sweetened by winter cold ... except I planted too late this year and might not have any next spring.

                                          I have seen yellow ground cherries which have a unique flavor. They grew prolificly for me last year but chipmunks got the harvest. A forager friend made jam from autumn olive berries and I'm discovering there are more edible berries than we know but you need to grow them yourself.

                                        2. I don't think anyone has mentioned sweet potatoes yet!

                                          1. potatoes, onions, leeks, cabbage, Brussels, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, collards. Winter squashes such as butternut, kaboucha, spaghetti, turban & calabaza.

                                            I have mixed winter greens in the garden...a mix of kale, mustards, turnips, rape, arugula. Also planted are kohlrabi, spinach, iceberg & romaine lettuces.

                                            Seasonal fruits to be found are pears, apples, grapes, figs, citruses