Categories
Active Aging

Fall Flavours: Cooking With the Season’s Bounty

With spring and summer on their way out, it’s time to start looking ahead to fall, and one of the best parts of this time of year is cooking with all the great seasonal fruits and vegetables that thrive in these cooler months.

If you’re unsure what’s in season in fall or don’t know what to do with the piles of produce-lining grocery store shelves, look no further. Here’s a handy list of some common fruits and vegetables, plus ideas to help you make the most of the season’s bounty.

Apples

Apples are a quintessential fall food. Not only are they a traditional gift for the teacher on the first day back at school, but they also can be cooked into some fall favourites like apple pie or apple crisp or made into a delicious hot cider to warm you up on cool nights.

Blackberries

Berries are like nature’s candy and are a sweet treat you can enjoy without the guilt. Blackberries are delicious on their own if you like a little tartness or can be baked into a cobbler and served with whipped cream for extra decadence.

Broccoli 

You may have shied away from broccoli in your younger years, but this iron-packed veggie is great roasted in olive oil or air-fried. Or, if you’d rather cover up the flavour while still getting your vitamin K, make it into broccoli cheese soup.

Cantaloupe and honeydew melons

These last bits of summer flavour mature right as the seasons start to change, making them the perfect snack for those last few hot days. There’s nothing like a cool slice of cantaloupe on a hot late-summer afternoon to cool you down.

Carrots

Carrots are a super versatile veggie with lots of health benefits, including reducing cancer risk and boosting heart and eye health. You can munch them raw with a little dip, slice and roast them, or julienne them into a salad or stir fry.

Cauliflower 

Cauliflower is having a serious moment right now as health-conscious eaters everywhere swap it out for all kinds of carbs, from pizza crust to rice. For an impressive vegetarian main dish, roast it whole or slice it into “steaks,” brush with olive oil and spices, and throw it on the grill.

Corn

Sweet corn is a fall favourite for many and can be made easily on the grill alongside any main dish. For a Mexican twist, try making elote by grilling the corn, then spreading on mayonnaise and sprinkling with cotija cheese and cayenne pepper.

Photo: Brzozowska via gettyimages.com

Eggplant

Eggplant, also called aubergines, are famous for being included in the Italian favourite eggplant parmesan. This is a delicious way to serve them, but they can also be cubed and roasted in olive oil, mixed with pasta, or even sliced and grilled to be served up in Greek gyros.

Garlic

This flavorful favourite should be a kitchen staple. Saute it with onion on low heat to add flavour to pretty much anything. Or, cut the top off, drizzle it with oil, and roast the whole thing for delicious roasted garlic you can use in a variety of recipes.

Peppers

Peppers are another versatile vegetable that you can add to many different cuisines. Slice them into fajitas or stir fry, or dice them and add to your first chili of the year. Or, just slice and eat them. Red bell peppers are the sweetest and make a delicious snack on their own.

Pumpkins

Of course, you can carve pumpkins into a festive jack-o-lantern a little later in the fall, but you can also find a roasting or sugar pumpkin and use it to make your own pie filling. Plus, you can roast the seeds for an extra treat. 

Squash

Another quintessential fall favourite, squash comes in many varieties that are good for many different things. Zucchini can be sliced and fried, while butternut squash can be boiled and pureed for a delicious soup. Or, if you’re going the low-carb route, roast a spaghetti squash and swap out its strands for spaghetti topped with marinara.

Just because the summer growing season is coming to an end doesn’t mean that you have to stop eating fresh fruits and vegetables. With a little creativity, you can whip up delicious, fresh dishes that provide a health boost to boot!

Categories
The Entertainer

4 Ways to Use Local Zucchini this Fall

Many think that the best of the local growing season hits in the summer, but really fall has just as much to offer. Local produce not only tastes better but also supports Canadian growers and reduces our carbon footprint.

While the season brings an abundance of local root vegetables and apples, zucchinis are a surprising star of fall. The nutrient-rich vegetable is in season right now and is a fan favourite for many reasons.

Zucchini contains a significant number of vitamins, zero fats and is high in both fibre and water. There are many ways to incorporate the veggie into your diet; here are just a few:

Bring the best side dish.
This time of year is always filled with gatherings of friends and families, and it is easy to impress with this side dish. Garlic-butter sautéed zucchini is easy, quick and will have everyone asking for your recipe. Cut the zucchini to your liking and pan-fry or sauté with butter, preferred seasoning and a tablespoon of minced garlic. Get creative with seasoning and other veggies. Add tomatoes when you sauté for extra flavour or make it cheesy by grating parmesan over it before serving.

No-guilt snacking.
Oven-baked zucchini chips are a great way to snack in a healthy way. You begin by cutting the zucchini into thin slices and mixing a blend of parmesan, salt, pepper and any additional seasoning. Then dip each slice into an egg wash, then into the mixture. Once coated, place the slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 375°F (190°C) until they look crispy brown, flipping them so both sides are evenly baked. Use these as your midnight snack or make as an appetizer paired with pesto, marinara or tzatziki.

Noodles + zucchini = zoodles.
Replace your pasta with local zucchini, using either a spiralizer, vegetable peeler or knife, or shred with a grater to get your desired shape and texture. Once you cut the zucchini, it’s as easy as sautéing in a pan with oil and seasoning for two to five minutes. Then, serve with
President’s Choice sweet basil pasta sauce and your choice of toppings.

Healthy on-the-go breakfast.
Try zucchini granola bites that don’t require any cooking and have limited ingredients. Start by mixing oats, almonds, cinnamon and chia seeds with the almond butter until well combined. All that’s left is to add dried, shredded zucchini, then roll the mixture into balls and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes. This recipe is quick, easy and perfect for on-the-go breakfast, school lunches and snacks.