There’s so much to love about autumn: cooler weather, fun outdoor activities, cozy clothing and, of course, amazing seasonal foods. To make the most of autumn, check out the vegetables and fruits in season at your local market. Squash, apples and pumpkin all make us feel like getting comfy in our favorite flannels.
Here are some of our favorite fall produce and what you can cook with these delicious ingredients.
From McIntosh and Granny Smith to Ida Reds and Cortlands, there are dozens of apple varieties, and their flavors range from extremely tart to super sweet. The majority of apples are at their peak in September and October, so get your basket ready and head to a local orchard. (Psst! Here’s why you should never, ever shake an apple tree.)
What to make: Once you’ve baked your favorite apple pie, try out some of our favorite easy apple recipes and these seasonal dishes:
Eggplants are mellow, spongy vegetables known for their glossy purple skin. They’re in season from late summer through fall, so you’ll see farm-fresh eggplants starting in late July or August through most of autumn.
What to make: Make eggplant the star of with these recipes. And check out these other highly-rated favorites:
This popular variety of orange squash isn’t just for carving! Pumpkins can be transformed into an array of baked goods, from pies to bread and muffins, and they’re great to cook with, too, thanks to their subtly sweet, nutty flavor. If you use fresh rather than canned, be sure to cook with sugar pumpkins, as carving pumpkins aren’t farmed for eating.
What to make: You don’t need to limit yourself to pie. Try these savory pumpkin recipes and some other of our go-to pumpkin recipes:
There’s so much to love about butternut squash. It has a tan outer skin, bright orange flesh, pumpkinlike seeds, and a lovely sweet, nutty flavor.
Here’s another festive orange vegetable to indulge in during fall. Sweet potatoes, whose peak season starts in October, look similar to normal spuds on the outside, but they’re bright orange (or copper-tan) inside, with a sweet, starchy taste.
What to make: Sweet potatoes are great in sweet dishes and savory recipes. Try some of both!
If you’re not familiar with this leafy green, Swiss chard is a nutrient-rich vegetable similar to spinach and can have colorful red, orange or yellow stems.
What to make: You can prep Swiss chard to put it in salads, soups and mains. Check it out:
Fresh figs are a luxury—their sweet honeyed flavor and soft texture can’t be matched by any other fruit! This incredibly sweet fruit is available mostly in the fall, making it the perfect autumn dessert.
What to make: Explore our collection of amazing fig recipes and try these top picks:
The sweet, juicy red seeds of a pomegranate are undeniably delicious, but this fruit can be a bit intimidating to peel. Once you learn how to open a pomegranate and separate the seeds from the membrane, though, you won’t be able to get enough of its nutrient-rich goodness.
What to make: Pomegranate seeds, known as arils, make a tasty snack on their own, but we also recommend all these recipes:
Acorn squash might not get the same publicity as pumpkins, but they’re every bit as delicious. Usually available starting in October, they have a green skin with distinct ridges, and sweet yellow-orange flesh.
Beets come into season in fall and are easy to find all winter long. They’re earthy and easy to prep—boil them, roast them and much more. Best of all, they keep for a long time so you can enjoy them all winter.
What to make: Find some of our favorite beet recipes right here. They’re surprisingly versatile.
In late fall, parsnips start to come into season. These root veggies walk the line visually and taste-wise between a carrot and a turnip. They are slightly sweet and a welcome addition to many fall dishes.
What to make: Use parsnips the way you would other root vegetables or in these recipes.
Finally, no fall produce roundup would be complete without cranberries, which are typically harvested starting in mid-September. These red berries are pretty sour if you eat them fresh, but they make an amazing ingredient in holiday desserts and side dishes.
What to make: Put your cranberries to good use this year with these recipes, then pucker up for a few more:
With all the different fall produce available in autumn, there’s no excuse to eat the same old weeknight meals. Try out a new recipe or two using fresh local produce. Who knows? You may discover a new family favorite!