Now that fall season is officially underway, a common misconception is that local farms here in the northeast are winding down for the year. This is definitely not the case! Fall is an abundant season filled with beautifully diverse produce! I recently had the chance to sit down with Elizabeth Swope, Assistant Farm Manager at Goodwill at Homefields Farm, the oldest CSA in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. We had a chat about the produce of the fall season and Elizabeth shared some of her favorite ways to prepare the vegetables of fall.
Keep reading for a sneak peek of the types of recipes you can expect from The Five Ingredient Foodie blog this fall season!
Pumpkins & Winter Squash
Unless you live under a rock, it is pretty obvious that pumpkin is in season in the fall, hence seeing pumpkin spice-flavored EVERYTHING this time of year. Similarly, winter squash are also in season, including: butternut, acorn, kabocha, spaghetti, hubbard, and red kuri varieties. In most cases, pumpkin and winter squash varieties can be interchanged in recipes. For example, if you have a recipe that calls for pumpkin, you can substitute butternut squash. Another great benefit is that they store really well! Unlike the delicate vegetables of summer, keep a pumpkin dry and out of the sun and it will store for as long as a month or two! Do the same with a butternut squash and it might keep as long as 9 months!
Elizabeth professes to be obsessed with pumpkin soup! She shared her absolute favorite pumpkin soup recipe with me, Thai Pumpkin Soup, which features pumpkin, coconut milk, ginger, and cilantro (which is also back in season). I will be adapting it to five ingredients later this week! Keep an eye out for the recipe in a few days!
Root vegetables are also abundant in the fall season. The term “root vegetables” includes turnips, radishes, parsnips, carrots, rutabagas, sweet potatoes, beets, kohlrabi, etc. Elizabeth’s really likes watermelon radishes. They are sweet and, like a watermelon, are green on the outside and pink on the inside. She also enjoys sweet, white turnips, or what she calls “dessert turnips” and recommends slicing both radishes and turnips into matchstick shapes for a veggie tray.
A great way to prepare root vegetable is by roasting them. Trim and chop any root vegetables (just one variety or a few different ones mixed together) into 1 ½ inch pieces, toss them in a little oil, salt, & pepper and roast them in the oven at 400 degrees until fork tender (probably about 45 minutes). If you want to get a little fancy, you can even add onion and garlic, balsamic vinegar, or rosemary and thyme. But they are delicious on their own, too. Roasting them causes the natural sugars in the vegetables to break down and caramelize, resulting in sweet delicious goodness!
Fall is also a great time for greens including lettuce, kale, arugula, chard, cabbage, asian greens, collards, etc. Many of the heartier greens will continue to grow all through the season; right up until the frost comes! Greens are great for salads, added to a stir fry, or mixed into a soup or stew. You can even use the cabbage to make your own kimchi (I’m working on a five ingredient kimchi recipe)!
Elizabeth recommends making an arugula salad with goat cheese, Asian pear, walnuts, and white balsamic vinegar. I’ve made something similar to this with kale and it was delicious, so I’m sure with peppery arugula it would be even better!
Broccoli & Cauliflower
Broccoli and cauliflower are my personal favorites of the fall season! You can toss them in a little oil, salt, and pepper and roast them in the oven or steam them on the stovetop. Just promise me that you won’t boil them in water! When you boil vegetables, most of the nutrients get left behind in the water and they tend to lose their texture. What a waste!
A great way to make broccoli is to sauté it in a pan. I like it toss in a few pine nuts to give it a nice nutty flavor. And one of my absolute favorite recipes for cauliflower is roasted curried cauliflower. I’ll be sharing this recipe as soon as I get my first head of cauliflower from the CSA for the season! I promise!
This list is not comprehensive. There are definitely other vegetables in season in the fall that I haven’t mentioned here. But as you can see, your local farms are definitely not anywhere close to ready to close up for the season. In fact, according to Elizabeth, they only end the season mid-November because it gets too cold for the workers to harvest the vegetables, not because there isn’t anything left to pick!
What is your favorite fall recipe? Share it in the comments below!