In all honesty, September always gives me mixed emotions. Let’s face it; it’s a strange month. We’re all too focused on savoring every last bit of that familiar summer breeze before we part ways, until next year. Yet, at the same time, we’re pinning all things “pumpkin spice” on Pinterest, and already shopping for Halloween decorations.
Luckily, this means that the produce at your local supermarket is going to be simply fabulous. As summer ends, and fall begins, our produce departments reflect the best of both worlds. Let this list of 10 fruits and veggies guide your next grocery shopping trip. Produce that’s in season is going to offer the freshest taste, the most health benefits, and the best deals. Perfect. I mean really—what more could you ask for?
- Blackberries: These deep purple beauties are going to give you a kick of vitamin C, fiber, and flavor. Where I live, blackberry bushes grow wild like weeds. I blame the birds. It’s fine by me, though, because they’re great on their own or as smoothie additions, and I make a mean blackberry cobbler. I’m willing to bet they’d make a killer jam, too.
- Eggplant: Ah, another deep purple beauty. Eating eggplant will give you your B vitamins (B1, B3, and B6) and fiber fix. I was actually just gifted an eggplant from someone’s garden. I’m planning on simply roasting it with olive oil, salt, and pepper for a great salad addition. I’ve made vegan, gluten-free eggplant parmesan a couple of times, too. Sounds impossible, huh? Personally, Chinese/Japanese (if there is a difference, I’m unaware of it) eggplant is my favorite. I’m growing it in the garden because of its tender, thin skin. Sautéed or in a stir-fry works best.
- Garlic: The selenium and allicin in garlic can help your liver, which detoxifies your body. Trust me, I know. My mom grows this stuff and has told me all about its health properties. I was actually right by Gilroy, California, “The Garlic Capital of the World” not too long ago, and the garlic fries were insanely good. Plus, who doesn’t like garlic? (Don’t you dare say Dracula.)
- Green Beans: These are full of vitamins (A, C, and K), folic acid, and, of course, fiber. Truthfully, I grew up on canned green beans (anyone else?). Recently, I began preparing fresh ones. I absolutely love them braised tenderly in vegan butter, veggie broth, onion, and bell pepper. Also, crisp green beans with Thai curry make a perfect combination.
- Pears: These sweet fruits are bursting with the usual suspects—vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Again, I grew up on the, um, “canned” variety.
- Peppers: If you opt for some hot peppers, that capsaicin will surely get your metabolism goin’. I always have jalapenos and chipotles (the smoked counterpart) on hand for a little kick. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with different peppers, and making fresh salsas. Spice up your life!
- Plums/Pluots: These juicy, deliciously sweet gems contain vitamins A and C, calcium, and lots of antioxidants. Both plums and pluots (you guessed it—plum, apricot hybrids) grow in my orchard. Lucky me. I’d love to give you a few recommendations on what to do with these fruits, but simply eat them as is. Yes, they’re that good.
- Tomatillos: I know I’m beginning to sound a bit redundant, but this odd produce is also rich in vitamins A and C. Truthfully, I’m not entirely sure what these things even are. They’re like really firm green tomatoes that are naturally wrapped in a papery skin. One thing I do know is that roasting them and bringing them to the peppers party will undoubtedly result in an amazing salsa.
- Tomatoes: Aside from vitamin C, tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant. Surprisingly, cooked tomatoes are better for you (and much tastier) than raw ones due to the increased concentration of lycopene. Roasted tomatoes are shockingly good additions to any salad or pasta dish.
- Zucchini/Summer Squash: I promise this is the last time; these veggies pack a punch of vitamin C. Also, they’re extremely easy to grow. My family has been begging people to take home some of our excess squash all summer long. I love them sliced super thinly and sautéed, grilled on the barbecue, and roasted in the oven. Plus, zucchini is versatile! Nothing beats a loaf of sweet zucchini bread. Try making it in a jar!