Eating in-season produce supports local agriculture and helps keep food costs lower. And during the fall harvest season it’s also incredibly yummy. Here’s a guide to some of the nutritional powerhouses that are in season, and some easy and simple ideas for how to prepare them.
Squash provides vitamins A and C, folate, omega 3 fatty acids, and loads of fiber. It’s also one of the sweeter and more versatile vegetables.
Spaghetti squash is a fun squash to play with. Pierce the outer skin several times with a sharp knife and microwave on high for 5 minutes; turn and microwave another 4, and then (if necessary) microwave a minute at a time, until soft when you press it. Then carefully (due to heat and steam) cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the squash ‘noodles’ with a fork.
You can treat these just like pasta and top with your favourite tomato-based sauce.
Alternatively, you can make a spaghetti squash bake. Follow the instructions above but then pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (175 degrees Celsius). While the oven pre-heating,toss squash noodles with:
• 1 can (796 ml) diced tomatoes
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning mix (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried basil and salt and pepper to taste).
Place in a greased casserole dish.
Cauliflower is going through a renaissance as a vegetable of choice. This vitamin C and vitamin K bearing powerhouse also contains folate. Roasting it brings out its nutty flavour.
To roast, preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Cut florets off two heads of cauliflower. Place florets in 13″ x 9″ baking dish with aluminum foil and pan, stem side down. Pour 3/4 cup water in bottom of pan. Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over cauliflower; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon dried oregano and salt and pepper to taste. Cover dish with aluminum foil; bake for 30 min or until stems are soft.
With the peels, you can’t really pack more vitamin A into a vegetable than sweet potato contains – twice the daily recommended minimum. It also contains vitamins C and B6 and is a source of potassium. Roast instead of regular potato, or alongside it. This recipe for maple-mashed sweet potato doesn’t include the peels but is still vitamin-packed:
• 5 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
• 2 tablespoons maple syrup
• 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
• 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
Pomegranate juice is a trendy miracle cure. Although we won’t claim they prevent all disease, pomegranates do contain high levels of cancer-fighting antioxidants, along with vitamins A and C. The juice is certainly expensive, though, and during pomegranate season there’s no need to avoid the full fruit, which includes more fiber.
Fun pomegranate fact: each pomegranate contains about 840 seeds, and it is surrounding these seeds that you find the flesh and juice.