When the days start to get shorter and the calendar turns to September, the days of summer salads are numbered.
Autumn and winter days don’t need to be lacking in fruits and vegetables – there is plenty of in-season produce to choose from. Because they are in season, they are easier to find and cheaper to buy.
Here’s 20 foods that you should be thinking about eating this autumn:
Apples make a great snack, but also a delicious addition to salads, baked goods, sauces, or stews.
Apples are rich in pectin, which is a soluble fiber that is linked with reduced cholesterol levels. They also contain antioxidants like quercetin, which helps to prevent heart disease and cancer.
Don’t peel your apples – the skin is a valuable source of fiber and nutrients.
Bananas have been on the favorite’s list for a long time, and for lots of good reasons.
They are full of potassium, which is linked with lowering blood pressure, as well as maintaining electrolyte and fluid balance in the body.
Bananas also make a good before-bed snack because they contain tryptophan, which helps encourage sleep.
Rich, red beetroot has an earthy yet sweet flavor, and teams well with several foods. Beetroot is rich in folate, manganese, potassium, and fiber.
Beetroot gets its vibrant red color from betacyanins, which are plant pigments that work as antioxidants.
Broccoli are full of nutrients that can benefit your health, such as vitamin C, beta carotene, folate, iron, and potassium. It’s also high in fiber and low in calories.
Eat the stems as well as the florets, as they are fiber-rich too.
5. Brussels Sprouts
If the smell of boiling Brussels sprouts makes you think of soggy, watery, and tasteless sprouts, then modern ways of cooking them may be a revelation to you.
Braise them in butter, sauté them with bacon and macadamia nuts, or shred sprouts finely and serve raw in a salad.
Brussels sprouts contain bioflavonoids and indoles, which could fight cancer by inhibiting the hormones that cause tumor growth.
Cabbages are full of antioxidants and vitamins, as well as being naturally low in calories. Serve cabbages raw in salads and in slaws, as well as cooked in soups, stews, and more.
Cabbages are cruciferous vegetables, like Brussels sprouts, and these veggies are known for protecting against lung, colon, ovarian, and breast cancers.
Cabbage is rich in vitamin C, but red cabbage contains more of it than the green ones.
7. Capsicums (red)
Capsicums are full of flavor, and very versatile. Slice them, roast them, stuff them and more, capsicums are rich in nutrients.
Red capsicums contain more vitamin C and beta-carotene than green ones, and they contain bioflavonoids and lutein which have several health benefits.
Carrots belong to the parsley family, and early versions were black, red, or purple until the Dutch developed modern orange ones in the 17th century.
Carrots are packed with carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver. Carrots also contain the largest amount of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. The brighter the color of the carrot, the higher the amount of beta-carotene it contains.
Carrots also contain a good amount of dietary fiber and potassium.
Cauliflowers also belong to the brassica family. They are full of fiber, low in calories, and make a good low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes.
Eggplants are also known as aubergine, and come in many different shades of purple, pale green, variegated, and white.
Eggplants are high in soluble fiber, which can help with controlling blood cholesterol levels. They contain vitamin B6 for healthy blood, and manganese, folate, and potassium as well as antioxidants.
Fennel has a distinctive sweet aniseed flavor whether it is fresh or cooked. It’s high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and folate, and is often used as an aid to digestion in India. The seeds are chewed at the end of a meal to help stop indigestion but also to freshen the breath.
Grapes are sweet as they contain more natural sugar than any other fruit, and they make a great addition to salads, desserts or as part of a cheese platter. You can also freeze picked grapes in airtight containers and serve as a snack.
Grapes go great with brie, blue cheese, hazelnuts, walnuts, pastry, chili, sweet potato, pork, chicken, and fish.
They are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and potassium.
13. Green Beans
These beans are often known as French beans or string beans, and they have an edible green pod which contains tender beans.
Trim the stem end off before cooking, and if you are boiling or steaming them for salads, give them an ice bath after cooking to stop the process and preserve the bright color.
Green beans are low in calories, full of fiber, and a good source of vitamin K, beta-carotene, folate, vitamin C, and potassium.
14. Kiwi Fruit
Kiwi fruits are fuzzy, small fruits but they pack a lot of flavor. They are one of the most nutrient-dense fruits you can get, and they contain way more vitamin C than the recommended daily intake.
Two kiwi fruit contain more fiber than a bowl of bran cereal, and it’s one of the few low-fat foods that contain vitamin E which helps lower cholesterol and boosts the immune system.
Limes come in two main varieties – Tahitian, with green skin, or Mexican, with yellow skin.
Limes of either color are high in vitamin C, and they also contain pectin which is a source of dietary fiber.
Mushrooms are a fungus, not a vegetable. They come in lots of varieties, and white agaricus mushrooms like white button and portabella mushrooms are sold all year round.
Oyster, shiitake, and Swiss brown mushrooms are at their best in autumn, but can usually be found at other times of the year.
Mushrooms are a good source of thiamin, vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, and zinc. They contain fiber and are low in saturated fat and cholesterol, as well as being low in sodium.
Fresh pears can be used in jams and jellies, and they are often combined with other fruits and berries.
Pears ripen at the room temperature, especially when they are placed near bananas.
Pears are non-acidic, so are a good choice for those who have sensitive stomachs, and they make a great breakfast fruit as they are a good energy source. Pear skins are rich in dietary fiber and potassium, and the juice is full of vitamin C.
Peas are legumes, and grow inside different pods. Peas are good eaten raw in salads, or cooked very quickly to retain the freshness in pasta, risottos, and stir-fries.
Sugar snap peas are sweet and crunchy, and you can eat the pod, which you can also do with snow peas. Peas contain protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin C.
Pumpkins often symbolize autumn, and are a type of winter squash. Pumpkins contain high levels of beta-carotene, as do all orange-fleshed fruits and vegetables. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A by our bodies, and this helps to prevent degenerative diseases.
20. Spinach and Silverbeet
Spinach is often used in European and Middle Eastern cooking, and it’s sometimes confused with silverbeet which is related to both beetroot and spinach.
Silverbeet takes longer to cook, but both vegetables are rich in fiber, vitamins A, K, C, and folate, along with phytochemicals, antioxidants, and minerals.