Monday, October 14, 2013
It's the most magical time of the year for me!! It's AUTUMN!! There is some great produce that is harvested this time of year that inspires us to create some amazing fall favorites.This time of year makes you want to bundle up under a blanket, with a nice cup of spiced cider and jump in the leaves. Lots of chefs have tried to incorporate this feeling into dishes that can remind you of the season.
One of the foods that are ready this time of year are ROOT VEGETABLES. Squash, potatoes, rutabagas, carrots, radishes, and turnips are perfect this time of year. There are so many ways to prepare these delicious and nutritious foods that you can have a different dish every night for the rest of the year. Vitamin A, B6, Beta-Carotene, Potassium, and better Iron absorption are some of the health benefits and vitamins that you could obtain from eating these vegetables.
APPLES are another great produce that is harvested in the fall months. We see a lot of pies, and apple butter this time of year because the crisp autumn air makes you want a warm & nutty apple crisp or apple cobbler topped with homemade ice cream. I know that we see apples all year long, but they are best between September and November months. Picking the firmest, brightest, colored apples without any blemishes, ensures that the produce you've chosen, is the best out of the bunch.
Although available all year long, MUSHROOMS are also harvested in the fall/winter months. Their peak months are from September through January and can range from many different varietals. Choose the mushrooms individually for evenness in your cooking, but also for consistency with texture, color, and broken or smelly stems. Dark and soft spots are mushrooms to avoid and soggy, sticky film on the outside usually tells when the mushrooms are not good. Firm tops and secure stems are a sign of good produce.
PEARS and QUINCES are two more fruits that are ripe when it's fall. Aside from it's cousin the quince cannot be eaten in it's raw state, but when prepared like apples or pears, they have the texture consistency of a pear, but the slight sweetness of an apple. Quince season is only from October-December, but uncooked, they leave an amazing scent that lingers throughout your house for days. Pear season is from September-January and you can select excellent pears by using the tip of your finger, applying slight pressure at the top, near the stem, if it gives a little and is not as firm, it's good.
Produce at any time of year is great for growing young children or adults who continue to want to live a healthy lifestyle. Different seasons gives way to different produce selection because of either climate in the region or elements that only mother nature can explain, but this time of year you want to get all of the fresh produce you can before the prices reflect the selection. Enjoy each and every TASTY BITE this and every season!!
-Chef Tara L. Browning
P.S.- I've provided a link below for some TASTY eats to your favorite Autumn produce!!! ENJOY!!!