Seasonal Ingredients: Fall


A quick afternoon post as I plan for the week!

Fall is most definitely here, flashing it’s vibrant red-and-rust colors all over my front lawn. This week, as I enjoyed a peaceful retreat in the mountains with my family, the house was filled with the warm smell of pie and hot mulled cider…and all those other great seasonal favorites that this cozy time of year carried with it.

It really got me thinking about how much I love living in New England. Most of the associations people have of this season come from here! Pumpkins, apples, cranberries…not to mention Thanksgiving… yea, you’re welcome!

In all serious, I wanted to set out and discover which other foods were seasonal to this area  besides those popularized by various Starbucks concoctions. I found this handy dandy tool that shows you which produce items are in season in your region in any given month.

Seasonal Ingredient Map US:  http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/seasonalcooking/farmtotable/seasonalingredientmap

Of course, if you are like me and live in Massachusetts there is a big gap in the growing season from about November to April because the ground is just plain frozen…but it really puts it in perspective the impact of place on the diet, and also sheds some light on the nature of the modern food system and the supermarket. If you live in a climate similar to mine, and you see bananas and oranges in mid-January…WALK AWAY! Chances are they are covered in pesticides, were picked a month ago, and required a lot of polluting fuel to arrive in your grocery basket.

For anyone who may be interested in seasonal  cooking (or is following my endeavors to keep my pantry as in-season as possible), here is a list of ingredients I will be trying to optimize from October-November while they are still fresh and (hopefully also) local. Again, these are from Massachusetts, so if you want to see what in season near you, click on the link above.  The list may just surprise you:

– apples (so many possibilities!)

– broccoli

– cabbage

– carrots

– celery

– cranberries

– eggplants

– lettuce

– peppers

– potatoes

– pumpkins (I love living here)

– radishes

– raspberries (didn’t know that! will have to stock up!)

– tomatoes

– turnips

– watermelon (another pleasant surprise)

– winter squash

Here also is an interesting article on the benefits of local seasonal eating, both on your health and the environment: http://food-hub.org/files/resources/Seasonal%20Foods%20A%20New%20Menu%20for%20Public%20health.pdf

Happy cooking! And more importantly, happy autumn!

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