When you walk into a modern grocery store, you see all kinds of produce year-round. It’s easy to forget that each fruit or vegetable has its own growing season. When you buy produce in season, you typically get a better price because it doesn’t have to be shipped in or grown under special circumstances. You also get a chance to taste the fruit or veggie the way it was meant to be eaten: fresh and full of nutrients and good flavor.
You can teach your kids a little about the natural growing seasons and get some nutritious snacks in the bargain if you make a point of buying produce in-season whenever possible. Here are some fruits and vegetables to look for in your grocery store this fall:
- Apples. This delicious fruit is such a staple in most supermarkets that it’s hard to remember it’s a fall fruit. If you’ve never explored the many flavors and textures that come from different varieties of apples, you’re in for a treat. Just snack on them, or you can also look up recipes for everything from apple sauce to apple crisp.
- Cranberries. This tart fruit is part of many a Thanksgiving meal. It’s typically harvested in the fall. You’re not going to want to eat it by itself, but you’ll love it sweetened and added to a salad or made into a sauce.
- Pomegranates. This particular fruit is a little strange to look at, but it’s tasty and fun to eat. It is in season beginning in October, so you should see some in your grocery store now.
- Grapes. Although grapes start to ripen in the summer, they’re still in season into the fall. Sweet and juicy, they are an excellent substitute for sugary treats.
- Figs. Speaking of sweet fruits, figs have a second season in the late fall after ripening once already in the summer. These fruits are so sweet it’s almost like eating candy. You should be seeing them in stores soon if they’re not already available.
- Broccoli. This vegetable is so common that you forget it has a season. It can be grown year-round under the right conditions, but for the best flavor you want broccoli harvested during cooler weather. It’s sweeter and doesn’t have as much of the bitter bite that broccoli harvested earlier can have.
- Spinach. Depending on where you’re at, spinach may be just coming into season or just finishing its season. Either way, it’s a healthy addition to salads or as a cooked side.
- Sweet potatoes. Sometimes wrongly called yams, sweet potatoes are becoming a popular substitute for the old stand-by russet. They can be mashed, fried or baked for a yummy alternative to the white potato.
- Winter squash. Technically, winter squash is a category involving quite a few subspecies of squash that grow through the summer and are usually ready for harvest in September and October. All kinds of winter squash are typically cooked, mashed, and used in a variety of recipes for soups, stews or baked goods.
- Pumpkin. A pumpkin is a type of winter squash, but it deserves its own entry on the list. Pumpkins are not just great for pies. Their seeds can be roasted for a tasty treat, and their flesh can be cooked just like any other squash. When you’re done with the insides, you can carve a scary face or other creative design on the outside for Halloween.
The next time you’re in the grocery store, take a look at the produce section and try out some in-season fruits and veggies. They’re a great bargain, and they’ve never tasted better.