As the weather gets chillier, the produce gets heartier. Autumn’s amazing fruits and vegetables are hitting their peak season right now and Marcus wants to make sure you experience fall’s bounty of super-foods available at your local farmers markets or grocery stores.
The aisle are full of apples, figs, pears, persimmons, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and winter squash. There are a variety of ways to prepare fall's harvest; however, getting seeds out of persimmon or getting squash soft and delectable can get confusing. In this season’s produce guide, here's a look at how to choose, store, and prepare this season’s crops.
Apples. From sweet to tart, apples can be eaten raw or baked and added to sweet or savory dishes. Add them to salads, eat with cheddar and blue cheese, or roast with cinnamon. Just be sure to eat the skin--it contains a healthy dose of flavonoids. Look for bright colored, hard, and blemish free outsides. Store on top of the counter, or if they start to get soft, put them in the refrigerator.
Butternut Squash. This bell shaped squash is the quintessential fall vegetable. It’s sweet when roasted and works great pureed in soups, mashed as a side, or cubed in au gratin. Look for blemish free, tan skins, and hard textures. Keep it on your window seal or on top of your counter until you are ready to roast or boil it.
Brussel Sprouts. These mini cabbages have a bad-rap, but don’t let their rumored taste keep you from enjoying them. Try brussel sprouts roasted with apples, cranberries, or bacon. The best way to prepare them is to roast for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. This will give these little guys a sweet caramelized flavor. Look for tightly wrapped green leaves, and store them in your crisper drawer.
Celeriac Root. This gnarly white root taste delicious mashed with boiled potatoes, butter, milk, salt and pepper. Look for a firm medium sized root. Celeriac root retains for about two weeks as long as you keep it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Cauliflower. A cousin to broccoli and cabbage, cauliflower can be found in green, orange, and purple. This slightly nutty flavored vegetable is delicious boiled with white wine, garlic, bay leaf, and all spice, roasted for 15 minutes, then served with a blue cheese cream. Look for uniformly colored florets with few blemishes. This versatile vegetable keeps well in the refrigerator.
Sweet Potatoes. Don’t reserve this root vegetable just for Thanksgiving, More nutritionally dense than its white counterparts it is delicious julienned then baked, mashed, or added to a variety of casserole dishes. Look for blemish free skins, and store on a counter top.
Pears. The sweet and juicy taste of a pear only gets better when cooked. Try them baked or poached for a quick dessert. For a savory recipe of this dish boil pears with potatoes and onions, add spices, then puree for into a smooth soup. Look for blemish free skins. Store pears on the counter until they become soft, then put them in the fridge.