Now that it is the first days of September our focus tends to turn towards the autumn or fall season. This is a time of year that brings a sense of renewal and growth with activities like back to school, a sense of wanting to start something new, changing paths, a slowing down, etc. While autumn can bring about all these feelings and emotions, we are still in a place of late summer in most places, slowly transitioning to autumn. This means we have access to many late summer foods and early autumn foods.
A reminder of what is in season for summer are things like tomatoes, zucchini, corn, beans, cherries, peaches, blueberries, chard, squash, and various edible flowers to just name a few. Chances are you still have some of these growing in your garden or you can find them at your local farmers market. Soon you will see a shift in what’s growing and what’s available as the cool season sets in. We can expect to see an assortment of root vegetables, pumpkins, squash, leeks, kale, chard, mushrooms, apples, plums, beets, radishes, elderberries, and more!
I wanted to touch on a few of these autumn seasonal foods to inspire you to make the most of the season with delicious from scratch food.
Chard is one of my favorite garden greens, technically it can grow from spring throughout summer and into fall. (Even longer with season extension help from row covers or cold frames.) It is a biennial and can grow splendidly giving you many harvests and later flowering in its second year. Some say it tastes like dirt due to its mineral/earthy taste, a lot like beet greens, probably because they are in the same plant family. I find that chard tastes a little salty, which is fabulous when strips of it are added into a soup during the final moments of cooking.The stems remind me of celery. A few flavors that chard pairs well with are: chickpeas, potatoes, beans, pasta, eggs, garlic, onions and so much more. I love chard so much I have a blog post dedicated to it. You can find the post here: Garden Greens: Chard I cover its nutritional benefits, growing tips and more foods that pair well with it.
Apples seem to go hand in hand with autumn, just think about walking through a pumpkin patch with a warm apple cider. The two just belong together! I love apple season because you can make a super delicious apple crisp or baked apples or dehydrated apples or apple sauce or, or, or, the list can go on and on. I think my fondness for apples comes from my childhood and the green apple tree we had in the back yard. I remember the apples being so tart they made your cheeks pucker. The make fabulous snacks to take with you wherever you go. Some flavors that pair well with apples are: cinnamon, cranberries, maple syrup, ginger, lemon, sweet potatoes, vanilla and winter squashes, plus so much more. Your best bet to find apples would be your farmers market unless you have a tree in your yard or a friendly neighbor with a tree.
Mushrooms are still in season as we approach autumn. Here in Colorado we have the perfect environment for mushrooms to grow with our high altitude and forests. Porcini mushrooms are abundant here for foraging. (Always learn from a trusted guide and use safe and ethical foraging practices.) You can also find a vast array of mushrooms at your local farmers market. Autumn is the perfect time to add more mushrooms into your meal rotation. They add so much depth and flavor to a dish with their earthy and meaty flavor. Did you know mushrooms can make their own vitamin D? Just lay them in the sun with the undersides of the caps/tops facing up. Generally speaking mushrooms pair well with the flavors of: chives, garlic, marjoram, potatoes, shallots, many herbs and nuts, plus a whole lot more. I love adding mushrooms to a stir fry with onions, shallots, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, ginger and a bit of tamari and lemon juice with brown rice noodles. Absolutely delicious and super quick to make! There are so many kinds of mushrooms to choose from , it’s hard to pick a favorite. I like to use cremini mushrooms for an amazing mushroom gravy I make very Thanksgiving that I learned during my time in the Rouxbe Plant-Based Professional certification. Whatever mushroom you choose, know you are packing in wonderful nutrients and flavor into your dish.
I have covered just a few foods that are in season during autumn, there are many more foods you can find either in your garden or the farmers market that offer delicious choices for you to eat seasonally. I hope this inspires you to cook the flavors of the season and enjoy this time of renewal, change and slowing down. Now is the time to focus on root vegetables, squash, pumpkin, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, chard, mushrooms and more!
If you need help with cooking from scratch, I offer online cooking classes either 1:1 or in a group. You can find out more here: Cooking Classes