We've gotten our first frost already in Vermont so it's definitely fall. This week when I picked up fresh produce from my community-supported agriculture (CSA) share, my booty was full of beets, carrots, winter squash and onions. You can definitely tell what season it is from each week's pick-up. I rushed home to make my favorite soup: curried carrot (see recipe below). Its bright orange color brightens any dreary fall day, and it freezes beautifully so I always make an enormous batch for nights I don't feel like cooking.
An e-mail from a friend in Georgia, detailing her perfect late-summer meal, got me wondering what's in season around the country.
Here's a taste of what is in season around the rest of the U.S.:
South: Pecans, collard greens, melon and okra.
Recipe to try: Collard greens are one of my favorites-a super-nutritious yet mild-tasting dark leafy green. In this recipe for BBQ Baked Beans & Sausage, a hint of molasses balances the slight bitterness of collards.
Mid-Atlantic: Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, pumpkins and turnips.
Recipe to try: Brussels Sprouts with Walnut-Lemon Vinaigrette-the light, nutty lemon vinaigrette really sets off the Brussels sprouts.
Southwest: Sweet potatoes, spinach, cucumbers, peppers and grapes.
Recipe to try: Chicken Cutlets with Grape-Shallot Sauce-this quick sauté pairs wine and grapes in a luscious sauce for pan-seared chicken breasts. If you've never used grapes in a sauce before, try it-you won't be disappointed.
Midwest: Pears, kohlrabi, cabbage and leeks.
Recipe to try: Pear Butter is delicious and simple to make-and it freezes for up to 6 months. Peel and core 4 ripe but firm Bartlett pears (about 1-1 1/4 pounds) and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place in a heavy medium saucepan with 3/4 cup pear nectar; bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the pears are very tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Cooking time will vary depending on the ripeness of the pears. Mash the pears with a potato masher. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the puree has cooked down to a thick mass (somewhat thicker than applesauce), 20 to 30 minutes. Stir almost constantly toward the end of cooking. Scrape the pear butter into a bowl or storage container and let cool.
West: Pomegranates, artichokes, persimmons, tomatoes and cranberries.
Recipe to try: Cranberries add a particularly pleasing tartness and color to Gingered Cranberry-Pear Cobbler. Fresh ginger, lemon and vanilla brighten up the pears, while reduced-fat sour cream adds flavor to the biscuit-dough crust.
Northeast: Beets, carrots, winter squash and onions.
Recipe to try: Curried Carrot Soup. If you like a bit of heat, use hot Madras curry powder in this recipe.
Curried Carrot Soup
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 teaspoons curry powder
8 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 medium stalks celery, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
5 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Cook oil and curry powder in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in carrots, celery and onion; toss to coat in oil. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes. Stir in broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are very tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat; let stand 10 minutes. Lay a paper towel over the surface of the soup to blot away the oil that has risen to the top. Discard the paper towel.
2. Working in batches of no more than 2 cups at a time, transfer the soup to a blender and puree (use caution when pureeing hot liquids). Return the pureed soup to the pan, place over medium heat and heat through. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Makes 6 servings, 1 1/3 cups each.
Per serving: 133 calories; 8 g fat (1 g sat, 4 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 3 g fiber; 389 mg sodium; 383 mg potassium. Nutrition bonus: Vitamin A (280% daily value), Vitamin C (15% dv).
By Carolyn Malcoun
When associate editor Carolyn Malcoun came to Vermont to attend New England Culinary Institute, she knew she didn't want to work in a restaurant but knew that she wanted to do something in the food industry. Luckily she discovered EatingWell, where she's able to combine her love of food and writing.
Related Links from EatingWell:
Go veg for a day-World Vegetarian Day is October 1. Find great recipes to try in our Vegetarian Recipes Collection.
- Find healthy recipes for the fruits and vegetables in season now at EatingWell's Healthy Food Guide.
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