Fall Vegetables

While all the summer gardens filled with tomatoes, peppers and melons have stopped giving off their yields, fall has a whole new glorious growing season that features its own unique flavors and appeals.

A few of the top fall vegetables include Belgian endives, onions, brussel sprouts, cabbage, celery root (also known as celeriac) a variety of gourds. All of these foods hit their peak during the autumn growing season and can be served as a side dish or hold their own as a star within an entrée.

Belgian endives are a heavy nutritional powerhouse, complete with Vitamin A and C and fiber. This excellent source of vitamins is also low in calories, with less than 10 calories per cup. The peak-growing season for endives starts in November and runs through the entire winter. This leafy vegetable is often served steamed, in a salad or as a vessel for dips and other creamy salads.

Onions are a year-round familiar bulb but the actual peak growing season for onions in the fall and runs all winter long. This kitchen staple is known for thickening sauces, soups and stews and for adding flavor to salsas but when served at its peak, onions actually act as food standout all on their own. During fall, onions can often be sliced fresh and simply sautéed for a perfect topping to a cut of beef or baked potato.

At a farmers market, brussel sprouts are daunting stalk-like items that are touted for their cancer fighting properties. These fall vegetables are best cooked whole or braised in half with a little olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt. During this time of year, they can be commonly be found on a restaurant’s seasonal menu either steamed or sautéed.

Because of the year-round availability of cabbage, diners often forget the growing season of this common piece of greenery. Yet cabbage comes to peak towards the end of fall thanks to the cooler evening temperatures. According to Top Chef season 3 winner, Hung Huynh, a savory meal of scallops, savory cabbage and butternut squash is the ideal way to taste the vibrant flavors of fall.

A less commonly known fall vegetable is celery root or celeriac. This vegetable reaches its peak towards the end of October and has shown to provide a variety of health benefits ranging from lowering blood pressure to reducing stoke. This fall vegetable is often seen served in restaurants sliced and added on top of salads but it can also be boiled and used as an additive for stews, stocks and soups.

The pumpkin often acts as the first physical appearance of fall. This symbol of fall gourds notifies many that the autumn produce season has arrived. This standard item appears to do just about everything. It can be used in a soup, roasted and served as a side and even the seeds can be seasoned and toasted for a tasty topping or snack. From sweet to savory, pumpkins are easy to use fall vegetables that are readily accessible and hearty. And while the pumpkin is the most easily recognizable gourd, they are just the gateway to its cousins including the acorn squash, butternut squash and spaghetti squash.

About the Author

Bobby Fitzgerald

Bobby Fitzgerald is a 20 year restaurant veteran and passionate foodie. He grew up in Washington, D.C. and began working at the legendary Dancing Crab as a teenager. After studying culinary arts and food management at Johnson & Wales University, Bobby was a chef in Napa Valley and spent six years with Houston's Restaurants opening restaurants in five U.S. cities. In 1999 he started his company which today has locations in four states under The White Chocolate Grill and Cinzetti's Italian Market brands, serving 25,000 meals a week in from-scratch kitchens. All-the-while Bobby has dined in more restaurants then most food critics and creating fresh recipe ideas is a big part of his life. Bobby lives in Scottsdale, Arizona with his wife and three children and serves on the Board of Directors of The Arizona Restaurant Association as well as the Phoenix-Metro American Cancer Society. His current projects include Restaurants Against Cancer where Bobby is rallying the restaurant community to support camps for kids with cancer by donating the food and supplies needed to run the camps.  Bobby is the author of "The Customer First Manager" available at Amazon.com.

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