With so many local fruits and vegetables at the peak of their flavour in October, celebrating the harvest comes naturally! Just in time for Thanksgiving, here’s our guide to choosing, cooking and storing all of the wonderful harvest produce available this fall.
What’s in season?
Fall is an amazing time for vegetables because late summer varieties like zucchini, eggplant, and corn are still available, while roasting vegetables like beets, carrots, turnips, potatoes, and parsnips are at the peak of their flavour. Leafy greens like choi, mustard greens, spinach, and kale are ready as a vibrant side to anyone’s table, and broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage are all as fresh as can be. And of course, it’s prime pumpkin and squash season.
You already know there are lots of good reasons to buy local - getting produce closer to home means less fuel needed to get your fruits and vegetables from the fields to you. It also means your veggies are fresher - so look for smooth, firm vegetables without any mushy spots.
Apples, pears and table grapes are all ripe now and available at stores and farm markets. Locally grown apples come in many varieties, including Salish and Spartan, apples that were developed right here in BC. And BC cranberries are available fresh this season! There are only a few weeks each year that you can find BC’s ruby red cranberries in the produce aisle -- but don’t worry, they’re also available frozen and canned so you can enjoy them year-round. Learn more about BC’s cranberry harvest here.
How best to store your produce?
Most fruits and vegetables can be stored in your refrigerator, but be sure to keep tomatoes and potatoes stored in a cool, dry place outside of your fridge. Apples can be stored in your crisper too - just bag them first, since they emit a gas called ethylene that encourages other produce to ripen. Leafy greens like lettuce should be washed well, dried, and stored in a plastic bag with a paper towel; and leafy herbs (like cilantro) can be stored upright in a glass of water in your fridge. With produce that has a delicate skin (think mushrooms or berries), make sure you wait to wash them till just before eating. And to learn more about the best places to store your fruits and vegetables, please check out this guide from Half Your Plate.
How to prepare your produce:
Ready to enjoy your harvest? Here are some of our favourite fall recipes to inspire you: