Fall Flavors: The Best Ingredients for this Upcoming Season
Spring, summer, fall, and winter each offer their unique array of distinct seasonal flavors. And with Fall right around the corner, you should know which flavors and ingredients showcase the season’s best recipes. At last the air is crisp, the leaves are falling, and the cooler temperatures are bringing a wide variety of seasonal ingredients to play around with. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s finally time to get back into the kitchen. All the forms of cooking that you have so dearly missed because of the hot, humid, and sticky summer weather – braising, baking, creating stews and sauces – are back once again. So make the most of the best fall flavors and produce and be an informed shopper when you are at the market planning your perfect autumn menu.
The apple is THE ingredient of fall. The crisp and sweet fruit comes in many different shapes, styles, and sizes, allowing you to mix and match the different flavors and textures to create your perfect recipe. Apples are some of the most popular ingredients in the world, with over 2,500 types in North America and over 7,500 types in the world. Each kind serves a unique purpose; for example, the granny smith is most delicious when eaten raw while the McIntosh family is best utilized when making applesauce. The opportunities with apples are endless, and it is up to you to decide which apple-full path to venture down.
As a member of the cabbage family, this relatively new American import has taken the country by storm. Introduced into the U.S. in the early 1900s, this mild-flavored plant is now cultivated all over California. The tender Brussels sprout can be roasted, fried, or steamed, and no matter what your method of cooking is, you are guaranteed to have a sweet and juicy side dish. That is, however, if you adhere to the number one Brussels sprout preparation rule: overcook em’. In fact, it is only when they are overcooked will they release their renowned sulfur aroma and have you and your family begging for more.
Directly related to broccoli, kale, and the wonderful Brussels sprout, Cauliflower is among the most sought after ingredients during the fall months. Whether you choose to eat it raw or cooked, its mild and natural flavor will send you right back to the farmers’ market to pick up some more. The vegetable comes in a variety of colors – the familiar white, yellow, purple, or green – and is delicious when paired with pasta, marinated in a salad, or fried and bathed in your favorite marinade.
A member of the Allium family, Garlic is one of the most important ingredients to have in your kitchen. You can use it as a seasoning for basically anything, from savory Chinese styled dishes to tasty Italian delicacies. The plant can be crushed, chopped, pressed, or puréed, and whichever style you prefer will undoubtedly release its powerful aroma and essential oils that will enhance your recipe.
Fun fact: the sweet potato is not related to the potato. This starchy, orange-fleshed root vegetable is extremely popular in the United States, and can be prepared in a number of different ways. Their sweetness makes them an easy choice to include in a desert –sweet potato pie, for instance – but if you choose to roast, purée, or bake them, you can’t go wrong.
Autumn is a very special time of the year in the kitchen, so be sure to utilize these ingredients to take your dishes to the next level!