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