8 Underappreciated Fall Produce Items — and What to Do with Them

By: Emily Lee

Guy Fieri's Roasted Acorn Squash with Mushrooms, Peppers and Goat Cheese from Backyard Bites: Braised Short Ribs as seen on Food Network's Guy's Big Bite

Photo by: Alice Gao ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Alice Gao, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

When it comes to fall produce, pumpkins, apples and butternut squash tend to hog the spotlight. Although these in-season items deserve high praise, there’s a whole family of autumnal fruits and vegetables out there — most of which go largely unexplored.

Expand your palate by swapping pears for apples in your next baking venture, or try substituting acorn squash for butternut squash if you’ve exhausted the latter. Most importantly, never let a tough husk or gnarled root intimidate you; juicy pomegranate seeds can be used to enhance everything from muffins to salads once you break through the firm outer shell, and hearty root vegetables produce out-of-this-world comfort food when used in casseroles and veggie mashes.

Next time you’re looking for a break from pumpkin-spice-flavored foods or classic apple pie, turn to one of these underappreciated fall fruits or vegetables for a welcome change of pace.

Acorn Squash

We all know butternut squash as an icon of fall produce — but why not give acorn squash a try? When roasted, it takes on the same sweet, buttery quality as its more popular sister. Guy Fieri capitalizes on both the squash flesh and the seeds with this Roasted Acorn Squash with Mushrooms, Peppers and Goat Cheese (pictured at top), roasting them separately and then reuniting them in the finished dish.

Beets

Beets are available year round, but roasting them enhances their juicy-sweet quality, which we enjoy the most during the colder-weather months. Ina Garten puts together a simple yet elegant fall side dish by dressing these tender Roasted Beets in a sweet-tangy dressing made of raspberry vinegar and orange juice.

CELERY ROOT AND POTATO PUREEAnne BurrellSecrets Of A Restaurant Chef/The Secret To Short RibsFood NetworkIdaho Potatoes, Kosher Salt, Celery Root, Heavy Cream, Butter

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Matt Armendariz, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

Celery Root

Knobby celery root, when transformed into a smooth puree, is just the ingredient to enhance a basic potato mash. Passing the vegetables through a food mill will yield the perfect texture in this Celery Root and Potato Puree.

Pear

Ina’s Pear Clafouti is one way to switch up your fall dessert routine. A clafouti is a French country dessert that features a pancake-like batter over fruit (most often cherries). The batter will bake up just enough to hold but not cover the beautiful array of pears in your dish.

FoodNetwork_02_009.tif

FoodNetwork_02_009.tif

Photo by: Anna Williams Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin 917 751 2855

Anna Williams Prop Stylist: Marina Malchin 917 751 2855

Persimmons

Persimmons don’t receive half the attention they deserve. Their delicate, sweet orange flesh makes them ideal to use in jams, chutneys, sorbets, baked goods and other desserts. Exhibit A: these fragrant Persimmon Muffins. The muffins stay moist, thanks to the sweet pureed fruit that’s worked throughout the batter.

Pomegranate Sangria

Photo by: Tara Donne ©Tara Donne

Tara Donne, Tara Donne

Pomegranate

Sangria isn’t just for summer. Bobby Flay’s Pomegranate Sangria combines fruity red wine with pomegranate juice, oranges, apples and grapes for a fall take on classic sangria. The juicy-sweet seeds play well in savory dishes, too.

Roasted_Rutabaga_008.tif

Roasted_Rutabaga_008.tif

Diced roasted Rutabaga in a white bowl

©prop stylist: Marina Malchin Food stylist: Jamie Kimm

prop stylist: Marina Malchin Food stylist: Jamie Kimm

Rutabaga

If you’ve exhausted potatoes or sweet potatoes by now, try this Roasted Rutabaga. The starchy root vegetable takes on the same buttery, fork-tender quality as your favorite spuds when roasted on high heat.

1_gratin_v2-059.tif

1_gratin_v2-059.tif

Photo by: Gentl & Hyers

Gentl & Hyers

Turnips

You’ll surely forget potatoes for a little while once you’ve had this comforting Turnip Gratin with Almonds. The mild root vegetable makes an excellent canvas for warm fall spices like nutmeg and cinnamon, which sets it apart from traditional potato gratin.

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