Please welcome Simon from Spade Fork Spoon to the blog today! He’s a gardening expert here to talk about 7 fruits and vegetables to eat this season!
Autumn is without doubt my favorite season. It starts in September with the last hoorah of summer, and makes its way through to the cold of November. It’s also the time of year on the vegetable garden when many of the crops which have grown throughout summer come to fruition. Harvest festivals across the country celebrate this bounty and we should do so in our kitchens.
Here are 7 Fruits and Vegetables to Eat this Fall:
Apples – For the average gardener, an apple tree is a must. Short of a bit of pruning in February and thinning of fruits in June, they look after themselves and reward you with a bounty of fruit. With their varying flavors, both sharp and sweet, apples are perfect for both sweet and savory dishes.
[Try making your own Apple Butter or Apple Cider this fall.]
Beetroot – Earthy and sweet in taste, beetroot is a great vegetable for this time of year. It works brilliantly in early September salads, but can also be used in hearty, wintery, meals later in the season. Once sown (as late as July), the roots swell and can be left in the ground throughout the winter. This year we have grown two varieties: the classic ruby red Boltardy and the striped Italian version, Chioggia. You can enjoy roasted beetroot with a little thyme and olive oil, made into a chocolate and beetroot cake, or in an autumnal slaw.
[Here are 30+ Ways to Eat Beets!]
Squashes – After the inevitable glut of zucchinis (also known as courgettes), come the winter squashes which can be kept growing until just before the first frost, and then stored for use beyond the end of autumn. This year we’ve grown Crown Prince, Chioggia di Marina and Butternut squashes and the plants are still spreading across the garden, covering everything with their wandering tendrils. Pumpkin and squashes are a staple at this time of year, giving dishes a silky, sweet and nutty flavor. They are a godsend when making soup during the colder months of October and November, and respond brilliantly to being combined with spicy and fiery flavors, as well as the classic combination of squash and sage.
[Make Autumn Soup this season.]
Swiss Chard – Chard is a must in the vegetable garden. It is hardy, and will survive the winter, even if sown in September. It’s also versatile, being at home in salads and is also used in curries, pasta dishes and as a spinach alternative. Its flavor is earthy and iron rich, making it perfect for autumn.
[Here’s a delicious recipe for Italian Swiss Chard “Spaghetti”]
Cabbage – Autumn is the time when cabbages come to the fore, whether the round cabbages like Savoy, or the other brassicas like Cavolo Nero, they bring an iron-rich accompaniment to any autumnal meal. Started off earlier in the summer, they have matured to a reasonable size by now, although there is always the inevitable damage from the army of brassica-loving pests. I tend to cover my cabbages with netting from the get go, trying to prevent the Cabbage White butterfly from laying eggs which hatch out into rampant cabbage eaters. When the crop does survive, many brassicas can be eaten on a cut and come again basis, taking the leaves you require and allowing the plant to sprout more before returning for another harvest. Served steamed with butter and black pepper, there is no simpler, or tasty, vegetable.
[Here’s a unique and tasty Cabbage recipe.]
Pears – Along with apples, this is the fruit of the season. Pears are trickier to get to harvest, as they seem to need day perfect picking to ensure the ripest fruit. When ready, a pear can be cupped in the hand, twisted a little, and it should come off in your hand. I tend to pick them and allow them to ripen to perfection on the window sill. A juicy, soft, pear is one of life’s delights; the juice running down your chin as you devour the textured flesh. However, they are brilliant cooked too, especially when teamed with almonds in such a classic dish as pear frangipane tart.
[This is a delicious way to eat Pears.]
Jerusalem Artichokes – Neither from Jerusalem, or an artichoke, the Jerusalem artichoke is the swollen tubers of a relative of the sunflower. As a crop in the garden, they are the easiest of all to grow. Plant the tubers in spring, leave to grow over the summer, where their sunflower ancestry rewards you with tall plants with small yellow flowers, then harvest in the autumn. Jerusalem artichokes can be used in the same way as potatoes, roasted, mashed, chipped. I like to serve them as a puree, flavored with thyme. It makes a great alternative to the ubiquitous mashed potato.
Simon is a husband, a stay-at-home dad, and the author of the website, Spade Fork Spoon. After 15 years of teaching, Simon decided to start a blog to document his journey from the classroom to the allotment (vegetable garden). Simon shares stories about his family’s new lifestyle over at Spade Fork Spoon.