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fall and winter produce

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It’s that time of year when you notice a turnover of product in the bins at your local Farmer’s Market or preferred grocery store. You go over to the fruit section to grab raspberries and apricots and they’ve been replaced with all sorts of apples and pears. The mini seedless watermelons have disappeared. Lots of root vegetables and stalky greens are showing up. The fall harvest is in full swing, so it’s time to adjust your menus accordingly. Hopefully, you’re still making many of your meals from home, both because the COVID-19 pandemic is still a risk, so it’s safer to eat at home, and because research has found that eating home-cooked meals correlates with better dietary quality and lower rates of obesity.

If you are already making an effort to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet, then you probably want to get the most nutrients out of that produce as you can. Research has found that produce contains the highest amount of nutrients just after the harvest. The longer you wait after the harvest to eat it, the more the nutrient density drops. You’ll likely notice that out-of-season produce just doesn’t taste great, either. Tomatoes for example, which are a sun-thriving food, start to lose flavor and become watery in the fall. This is the time for fruits and vegetables that thrive in cool weather, and even underground. In this list, we’re focusing on fall fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber. A diet high in fiber can lead to better digestion, and there is a strong connection between our guts and our minds, so your moods and focus will thank you for this.

 

fall and winter produce

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Pumpkin

Maybe you should plan a trip to the pumpkin patch, not just for the Instagram photos, but also for the food itself. One cup of the stuff has three grams of fiber with very little sugar, carbs, or calories, and tons of vitamins. And it’s so easy to incorporate into so many recipes, like pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin mash, or even a simple roasted pumpkin.

fall and winter produce

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Pomegranate

The beautiful red seeds of this fruit contain around 11 grams of fiber per one fruit. It’s also loaded with antioxidants and has immunity-boosting Vitamins C and E to help you get through cold and flu (and now COVID) season. Just cut a fruit in half and eat the seeds with a spoon, or sprinkle them over some plain yogurt or into your oatmeal.

fall and winter produce

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Apples

Apples are a great fruit because they have so many varieties, and some might say the fall ones are the best. This is the season of the McIntosh, Honeycrisp, Gold Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith, and many more, and one medium apple has around 4.5 grams of fiber. Schedule your trip to the apple farm and use your fruit to make pies, baked apples, homemade apple sauce, or to simply have something to snack on with nut butter and cheese.

fall and winter produce

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Beets

This gorgeous red vegetable contains around four grams of fiber per cup, not to mention tons of antioxidants and vitamins, iron, and potassium. You can roast them with other fall vegetables, or boil them, chill them, and have them with an arugula and goat cheese salad (arugula is also a fall vegetable). If you enjoy picking foods, you can also pickle these for a probiotic boost.

fall and winter produce

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Cabbage

Cabbage is the base to so many hearty fall and winter dishes. Vegetable casserole, vegetable soup, stir-fry with cabbage, cabbage rolls, braised cabbage, and the list goes on. One medium head of cabbage has 18 grams of fiber. It’s also 92 percent water, and water plus fiber make for a healthy digestive system.

fall and winter produce

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Pears

Like apples, you’ll notice new varieties of pears appearing during the fall – and lots of them. There are Bartletts, Orcas, Boscos, Highlands, and a few others. Pears are rich in fiber, boasting around six grams of fiber per one medium fruit. For a healthy dessert, you can simply bake them and drizzle them with honey and dried cranberries. They also make a delicious marinade for dark meats, including chicken and steak.

fall and winter produce

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Celery

We may think of celery as a summer fruit because it’s so crisp and cool, but it actually has one of its best harvests in the fall. Celery contains five grams of fiber in one cup, making it an excellent snack. Of course, it’s also great cooked and added to stews, as well as roasted meat dishes. Or you can add it to a Waldorf salad, puree it into a soup, or make a celery gratin as a healthy alternative to a cheesy potato one.

fall and winter produce

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Chard

Big, bushy bundles of chard should be showing up now – both the Rainbow and Swiss varieties. This gorgeous green is a very healthy choice. One head fulfills nearly your entire day’s requirement for Vitamin C, and is also loaded with iron, calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin E. One cooked cup has about four grams of fiber, and it tastes great when simply sautéed with olive oil, onions, shallots, a little bit of lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

fall and winter produce

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Figs

Figs are often seen as a summer fruit, but they have a second harvest in the fall. Depending on the variety, three to five figs can contain five grams of fiber. They’re so sweet that they’re often called nature’s candy. But they actually make a wonderful marinade for pork and can be added to chicken skewers, as well as added raw to an arugula salad with goat cheese and nuts.

fall and winter produce

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Persimmons

If you have a friend with a persimmon tree right now, she’s probably struggling to give her fruit away fast enough: they grow quickly and abundantly during the fall. One fruit has around six grams of fiber, and there is so much you can do with this item. You can make savory stuffed persimmons, cook chunks and add them to pasta, make jam, add them to risotto for a little sweetness, and of course snack on them raw.

fall and winter produce

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Artichoke

This beautiful vegetable boasts seven grams of fiber in one medium artichoke. Have one as an appetizer and you’ve nearly met your fiber needs for that meal. It tastes delicious simply boiled and slightly charred with olive oil and lemon juice. Or you can add the hearts to many recipes like pasta dishes, salads, and casseroles, as well as puree them into their own simple hearty soup.

fall and winter produce

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Kale

Kale is another vegetable one might associate with the summer, but the cool months actually make this veggie grow sweeter so give it a try now, as you may enjoy it more than you did in July. A cup of the raw, chopped stuff contains 2.5 grams of fiber, so when you cook it down, one cup should have at least twice as much. Fall is the time to have it warm. You can add it to minestrone soup, sautee it with garlic, or add it to cheesy dips.

fall and winter produce

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Parsnips

This lovely root vegetable looks like a giant white carrot and has seven grams of fiber in one cup. It’s slightly sweet and tastes delicious roasted with carrots, potatoes, and garlic. When thinly sliced and seasoned, parsnips also make yummy “chips.” Or, you can cut them the long way and turn them into a healthy alternative to French fries.

fall and winter produce

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Daikon radishes

During the summer you see the small, round, red radishes. Those will disappear now and in their place will arrive Daikon radishes – these are the long white ones that look almost like white carrots with no lines. You’ll get five grams of fiber in just one stalk. You’ll often find these thinly sliced and added to Asian fusion recipes because they add a nice, light crispy texture. But this is another excellent vegetable for pickling.

fall and winter produce

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Acorn squash

You’ll notice plenty of squash popping up at the market now, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Acorn squash, however, has some of the highest-fiber content, with one baked cup containing nine grams of fiber. Cut it in half and roast it with butter and brown sugar. Boil it and puree it to make a soup. Cube it, bake it, chill it, and add it to salads. It’s a very versatile food.

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