Fall is officially here and that usually means one thing: pumpkins. Yes, pumpkins are being picked and plucked from patches across the United States, but fall’s most famous orange veggie isn’t the only thing filling up farmer’s markets this season.
With such a large influx of freshly harvested fall favorites available everywhere from roadsides stands to grocery stores, we thought we’d help introduce you to the amazingly diverse range of flavor, texture, and scent options that you are sure to encounter this season.
Regardless of your cooking ability, these seasonal vegetables are too good to pass up and should make their way to your plate this fall whether you’ve cooked them up yourself or ordered them off the menu at your favorite local restaurant.
Interested in learning more? Check out the Interesting Facts and Growers Tips sections under each description to find out even more about the vegetables on our list.
Brussels Sprouts: Easy to cook and even easier to eat, Brussels sprouts are a mild-flavored vegetable that resembles a miniature cabbage and comes from the same brassica family of vegetables. They are one of the most versatile veggies on our list and can be sautéed, steamed, roasted, fried, par-boiled, or baked to your liking. The cold-loving Brussels sprout plants have thick stalks that grow vertically from the earth and reach their peak harvest season from September through March.
Interesting Fact: Opt for the sprouts that are still on the stalk because they will stay fresh longer than their pre-cut and boxed counterparts.
Growers Tip: As you’ve likely guessed, Brussels sprouts enjoy the brisk temperatures of fall. Start by planting seeds indoors in fertile soil in early Spring. Move them outside to your garden in mid to late May for optimal results.
We like this simple roasted Brussel sprouts recipe.
Butternut Squash: The Butternut squash is just one of many winter gourds that grow primarily in the fall and winter, however, the butternut variety is arguably the best tasting and most versatile of the bunch. This cream-colored and bell-shaped vegetable is not only super tasty but has an entire grocery list of health benefits including high antioxidant concentrations and plenty of vitamin B, C, and fiber to boot.
This healthy squash is a fall favorite for many reasons, but what separates it from the rest is a flavorful sweetness reminiscent of yams, and a smooth and subtle texture that emerges once prepared.
Interesting Fact: Peeling the skin off of Butternut squash is one of the most difficult tasks one can face in the kitchen. To save yourself time and sore muscles, simply poke holes in the squash with a fork, place in a microwave-safe container, and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Peeling has never been easier.
Growers Tip: When growing Butternut Squash, make sure you have enough space. This vining plant can produce vines that extend up to 15 feet long.
Make sure you try this Butternut Squash Enchilada Casserole from Making thyme for Health.
Sweet Potatoes: Have you ever had sweet potato fries or pie? If you answered yes, then you are likely well acquainted with the sweet and savory flavors of this fantastic fall tuber. The sweet potato is known for a natural sweetness reminiscent of vanilla, pumpkin, and butternut squash, and has a rough, starchy texture that breaks down into a creamy and fluffy puree that can be prepared for soups, pies, pancakes, and desserts. These copper and orange colored root vegetables can be sliced, diced, baked, roasted, fried, and even turned into noodles. The sweet potato is one of those rare vegetables that can be eaten for all three meals of the day.
Interesting Fact: Sweet potatoes should not be refrigerated. The cold temperatures can cause them to lose their color and will affect the flavor. Instead, store in a cool dry place for up to 7 days.
Growers Tip: It’s time to harvest your sweet potato crop when the leaves at the end of the vine begin to turn yellow. However, these tubers can safely stay in the ground as late as the first fall frost.
Have you tried this Sweet Potato Fettuccine in Gorgonzola Sauce recipe?
Kale: Kale is an amazing thing, that’s probably why they created a national day to celebrate it and why you can buy “Kale Yeah” t-shirts on the internet. These leafy greens were once relegated to the role of food decoration rather than actual food until the story broke that Kale is one of the greatest superfoods known to mankind.
There’s good reason, and science, as to why Kale was crowned Queen of the Greens and has become the symbol for healthy eating and living in health circles around the world. According to the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index, which rates the most nutritious whole foods on the planet, Kale is at the top of the nutrient density list. Its list of benefits includes the ability to lower cholesterol and your risk of developing 5 types of cancer, it detoxes the body, contains nearly a full vitamin and nutrient profile, and it contains 45 different antioxidant flavonoids.
Interesting Fact: Kale can survive in temperatures as low as 28 degrees Fahrenheit and the colder it gets outside, the sweeter Kale will be.
Growers Tip: Kale is the most grower-friendly crop on our list and can be grown during every season in most climates. Kale loves two things most of all, cool weather and moist soil, so make sure to keep the soil moist (not wet) for best results.
Check out this amazing Kale and Black Bean Burrito recipe from Cookie+Kate!
Onions: It’s true that onions are a year-round vegetable, but they are on this list because these juicy and globe-shaped veggies reach their peak during the early fall when they are harvested. Onions add an unmistakable sweetness and earthy baseline of flavor to anything they are added to. At their core, onions are a modest vegetable and are hardly ever the featured portion of a dish, making them the ultimate team player vegetable. However, they have a vital role in many of our favorite dishes. They are commonly used in dishes such as soups, sauces, stews, salads, sandwiches, stir-fry’s and more across almost every continent and culture throughout the world.
Interesting Fact: Spanish onions or “yellow onions” as they are sometimes referred to as having a more pungent onion flavor. Vidalia onions are true “sweet onions” and develop an overall sweeter and juicier flavor.
Growers Tip: The keys to a successful onion crop are simple, yet effective: sunlight and proper drainage will do the trick.
Bloomin’ Onions, anyone? Try this recipe from a Beautiful Mess!
Want to learn more about growing vegetables, but worried about the winter weather around the corner? Find out how to grow vegetables indoors with our Ultimate Guide To Indoor Vegetable Gardens!