The change of seasons brings a bounty of vegetables to try, including butternut squash, artichokes, sweet potatoes and eggplant. All of these veggies are healthy, delicious and perfect for the transition into autumn and beyond.
You’ll find butternut squash in abundance during the fall and winter seasons. This nutritious squash is grown in the summer and harvested in the early fall. You’ll see butternut squash start to show up in your grocery stores as early as August, and because they have a long shelf life due to their hard exterior skin, you’ll be able to find them well into the winter months. The great thing about butternut squash is that its mild flavor lends itself to be used in savory as well as in sweet dishes. The flesh of this squash is full of vitamins A and C while the butternut squash seeds are actually packed with protein, which makes them great for roasting and eating as a snack or using as a garnish. This is a versatile ingredient that may be prepared in a variety of ways.
Artichokes have a second round of harvesting in the fall, so this is the perfect time to try this interesting flower-like vegetable that rewards you with a delicious taste. Artichokes are considered a superfood because they rank high in antioxidants and fiber. Marinated artichoke hearts are a delicacy, to be sure, but if you haven’t cooked with artichokes before, they might seem to be a daunting ingredient. Once you learn how to trim the leaves and prepare it, though, you’ll absolutely want to experiment with different ways to use it in your cooking. Fresh artichokes may be steamed, boiled, grilled, or even fried and served as an appetizer or a side dish.
Eggplant’s harvesting season is also late summer into fall, and although the oblong purple eggplant is the most common variety, you may also see white eggplant or a variegated variety that has a purple- and white-striped outer skin. Greek, Italian and Middle Eastern cuisine use this vegetable prominently. Not only is it delicious when cooked, spiced and paired with other ingredients, eggplant is also a good source of dietary fiber, as well as vitamins B1 and B6, manganese, niacin, potassium, and folate. Whether you grill it, roast it, bread it, fry it or bake it, you’ll enjoy this veggie’s unique texture and flavor.
Considered a superfood, sweet potatoes are high in vitamins A, C, and B6. They also contain potassium, manganese, copper and biotin — and they taste great, too! Although they are generally available year-round, their harvesting season is fall and winter, with varieties ranging from mildly sweet to very sweet. No matter the variety, these potatoes are a favorite to cook with and often can be substituted for pumpkin. They work well in savory as well as sweet dishes.
Look for ways to incorporate these autumnal foods into your diet this season. As you try different recipes, you may just find your new favorite fall vegetable.