It’s no surprise that at different times of the year, certain foods are at their best. As we leave the days of summer and its sumptuous foods behind us, it’s time to look towards a new season, and thankfully, autumn’s glorious food offering is every bit as tantalizing. Autumn boasts a wealth of fruit and vegetables which are rich in disease-fighting phytochemicals and so here, we take a look at 10 foods to fall for this autumn.
While these root veggies might look similar to carrots, they offer a delicately sweet flavour, and so perfect for those with sweet tooth cravings (and great for kids too!). Although they contain less vitamin A than carrots, they make up for this in their wealth of fibre, vitamin C, calcium and iron. Their versatility means they can be steamed, boiled, roasted or sautéed and in most recipes, they can replace carrots, potatoes or sweet potatoes. Autumn is the perfect time for making pots of soup and parsnips will add a lovely sweetness, pairing perfectly with other vegetables.
Sweet potatoes are having a real moment in the foodie world and it isn’t surprising why. You will be forgiven for thinking they’re part of the potato family, when in fact they are a storage root, rather than tubers. Rich in beta-carotene, (vitamin A), each serving contains four times the recommended daily allowance. In fact, they’re so rich that in comparison, you’d have to eat 23 portions of broccoli to consume the same quantity of vitamin A! As a low glycemic food, sweet potatoes are highly recommended for diabetics as they slowly release carbohydrates which helps maintain steady blood sugar levels. Again, they can easily be baked, grilled or steamed and can easily replace potatoes in recipes.
More than simply just a Halloween decoration, pumpkins are mighty in their antioxidant properties, as well as beta-carotene, vitamin C and folate. Pumpkins are delicious chopped and oven baked as the perfect side dish or serve as a delicious ingredient in a warming soup. Don’t forget to use their seeds too! These are a fantastic source of protein, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Roast in a hot oven for approximately 45 minutes and keep them handy as a perfect snack throughout the day.
A ripe autumnal berry, cranberries are low in fat and play a key role in reducing the risk of urinary tract infections, gum disease, ulcers, heart disease and cancer. They also boast anthocyanins, a healthy heart antioxidant. A small percentage of their crop is sold fresh each autumn, with the rest produced as juice, dried or as cranberry sauce. A little tart, they complement other fruits such as apples and pears perfectly, and make a welcome addition to baked delicacies, such muffins.
Butternut squash is loaded with vitamin A and is recognized for its sweet, creamy flavour. With a dry flesh, it is best steamed or baked, while its firm texture makes it ideal for a curry. Peeling squash can be a bit of a chore, so we say… don’t do it! Simply leave the skin on, chop and bake it in the over to enjoy its delicious goodness.
Turnips, or swedes, as commonly known in Ireland and Scotland, are cruciferous vegetables, shown to protect against cancer. They have a white flesh and tough outer skin that ranges from yellow to purple and are more bitter than potatoes. Turnips work particularly well boiled, mashed or roasted and can be easily incorporated into recipes where you’d normally use potatoes. They’re a great source of vitamin C and fibre.
Although enjoyed all year round, apples are at at their best during the autumn months. Rich in flavonoids, a potent antioxidant, studies have shown that enjoying a diet rich in these can lower the risk of heart disease, heart attacks and some cancers. Their versatility means they can be eaten both uncooked and baked, serving as a featured ingredient in many recipes.
High in fibre, and just as versatile as apples, pears can be enjoyed baked, poached or raw and eaten as part of a healthy diet, helping to reduce blood cholesterol levels. Why not try them served in low-fat pancakes, as a guilt-free treat?!
Clementines or mandarin oranges are bitter orange hybrids. Rich in vitamin C, they’re great for keeping skin healthy, particularly during the colder months when it can become dry. Seedless and with loose skin, clementines are a great snack for those on-the-go days. They also make for a great addition to chicken dishes for a tropical twist!
Don’t neglect the fig! With more fibre content than any other dried or fresh fruit and an excellent non-dairy source of calcium, figs are a welcome addition to any diet. When pureed, they can be used as both a sweetener and fat substitute in a wealth of baked goods.
Information checked & correct on 16th May 2018.