Fresh is Best: Cooking with Seasonal Produce

We’ll tell you which fruits and veggies are in season right now, where to find seasonal produce in your state, and how to incorporate them into mouth-water recipes.

Scientific research—not to mention common sense—taught us that eating a nutrient-dense, plant-based diet helps us look and feel better from the inside-out. It’s how we nourish our brains, optimize digestion and keep the other complicated systems of the human body running smoothly.

To get the best nutritional bang for your buck, choose fresh fruit and veggies from the farmer’s market or produce department over their canned counterparts. If you really want to up your health game, reach for the seasonal produce.

It’s normal to see the same types of fruits and veggies lining supermarket shelves 365 days a year, but that doesn’t mean the quality is the same year-round. Seasonal produce is fresher, tastier and more nutritious.

It’s also more cost-efficient since the rules of supply and demand dictate that the more abundant the produce, the lower the prices. Buying seasonal produce sourced from nearby farms boosts the local economy, which means you’re not only helping yourself, you’re helping your community.

Where can I find seasonal produce in my state?

Seasonalfoodguide.org is the most comprehensive national database of seasonal produce available in the U.S. You can search by state or month to learn where and when local produce in peak season is in your area. You can also search by produce item to find out where and when your favorite fruits and veggies are at their ripest.

You can then scroll through the various produce items that appeal to you. There will likely be a few that you don’t recognize or haven’t heard of before. Once you click on a specific fruit, veggie or herb that catches your eye, you’ll learn:

• Nutritional profiles and random fun facts
• Months in which it’s at its peak freshness
• How to store it for optimal freshness
• Tips for cooking, cleaning and consuming it
• Lots of recipes to keep meals interesting

(Trust us, you will be smitten with this website.)

Which fruits and veggies are in season right now?

There are far too many to list! Fall is known for its rich, hearty vegetables and plump, juicy fruits that fill the belly and prep our bodies for the cold winter ahead. It’s soup season for a reason, you know.

Here are some popular seasonal produce options for fall:
• Pumpkin, squash, and sweet potatoes
• Swiss chard, butter lettuce
• Apples, pears and grapes
• Plums, pomegranates and pineapples
• Broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts
• Mushrooms and jalapeno peppers

How about some fun fall recipes to try at home?

You got it. We like this recipe for Moroccan Vegetable Stew, courtesy of Parkinson’s disease nutrition specialist Kathrynne Holden at Nutritionucanlivewith.com.

Want a few more recipes? Visit the briangrant.org website to learn how to make:
• Thai Green Curry Spaghetti Squash
• Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili
• Lentil and Root Vegetable Soup

Kathryn Jones