The Flavor of
Is the aroma of autumn in your kitchen? This is one
of the best times of the year to increase the variety and amount of
fruits and vegetables in your meals and snacks. Buying fruits and
vegetables in season means they will be a better quality and less
Autumn specialties include apples, pears, grapes, winter squash,
cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and of course, pumpkin.
Apples, pears and grapes offer a natural and quick source of energy,
and they are fat, cholesterol & sodium free! Cauliflower, Brussels
sprouts and broccoli have “phytochemicals” that may decrease your
risk of cancer. Winter squash has more calories than summer squash,
but it also has more vitamins A, C and niacin too. Pumpkin is low in
fat, cholesterol and sodium free, a good source of fiber and vitamin
C and an excellent source of vitamin A.
- Look for firm squash and pumpkin that are heavy for their
size and have a hard, tough skin.
- Keep cut-up fresh veggies in single-serving bags for quick
- Store grapes in a plastic bag in a refrigerator drawer up to
1 week or freeze them for a refreshing snack.
- Squash and pumpkin seeds can be toasted.
When you’re picking out your pumpkins for Halloween, don’t just
think about carving that Jack O’ Lantern, think about eating the
very delicious and nutritious pumpkin puree and seeds! Look for
smaller sugar pumpkin varieties; these are the sweetest and best for
baking. Try the recipes below to fully enjoy pumpkin’s fall flavor.
You can use the the flesh or meat portion for pumpkin muffins,
pudding smoothies, cheesecake and more. Use the pumpkin seeds salty
snack, topping for soups and stews, in salads and as a topping for
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (also known as
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Separate the seeds of a carved
pumpkin from the stringy membrane and rinse the seeds to remove
remaining membrane. Place seeds on a paper towel to dry for 20
minutes. Spray a cooking sheet with nonstick cooking spray and place
the seeds in a single layer on a baking sheet. Lightly sprinkle with
salt. Bake for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Cool and enjoy.
Store extra seeds in an airtight container.
These are packed with iron, zinc and monounsaturated fats.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cut a small pumpkin in half, stem
to base. Remove seeds and stringy membrane. Cover each half with
foil. Bake foil side up, 1 hour, or until tender. Scrape meat from
halves and puree in a food processor or blender. Strain to remove
stringy pieces. Use in recipes or store in the freezer in freezer
Apples are another autumn favorite. One apple gives you about 20%
of your daily fiber needs! They are also fat, cholesterol and sodium
free. Choose apples that are firm, shiny and smooth-skinned with
intact stems. They should smell fresh, not musty. Keep them
refrigerated in a plastic bag away from foods with strong odors and
use within 3 weeks.
Top 10 Ways to Enjoy Apples
- As Is! Crunch into a delicious whole apple at snack
time, mealtime or anytime at all.
- As a side dish or on a sandwich. Try a raisin waldorf
- With peanut butter. This makes a delicious snack, but
watch the calories in the peanut butter!
- Dessert! Try making a crisp.
- Dip them. Carmel is always popular for apple dipping.
- Delicious Décor. Keep a bowl of the many different
colors of apples on your kitchen counter, dining table or in the
living room. Not only will it serve as a quick source for a
healthy snack but it’s also the perfect room accent.
- Bake’em! Remove the cores, leaving a ½ inch of the
bottom of the apples. Pour a small amount of brown sugar or
cinnamon and butter into the hole. Place the filled apples in an
8 x 8 inch square baking pan and add ¾ cup of water to the pan.
Bake at 375 F for 30 – 40 minutes until tender, not mushy.
- Toss’em into a Main Dish! Apples compliment chicken
dishes especially well.
- Grab the Kids for an Apple Tasting! Buy a variety of
apples and cut each into slices. Place each variety on its own
plate and tag. Have each child eat a slice of each variety of
apple and vote for her/his favorite.
- Applesauce … Your Way. Smooth or chunky? Low sugar or
sugar-free? With raisins or cranberries? Just spice it up and
make it your own.
Other Fall Favorites to Consider
Try these websites for more information on seasonal fruits and