Just because summer has ended doesn’t mean all the fresh vegetables are gone until next year. Fortunately, there are plenty of fall vegetables to enjoy.
One big benefit of many of the traditional vegetables we associate with the autumn season is their nutritional value. They contain a whole encyclopedia of vitamins and nutrients. And they're usually low in calories.
Whether you planted a backyard garden, a cinder block garden, or you just stocked up at the grocery store, it's important to know how to prepare veggies that grow in your fall vegetable garden. Here are some of my family's favorite fall vegetables and a few ways to prepare them. Give them a try this season.
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Favorite Fall Vegetables
Acorn squash offers several important nutrients including Vitamin C. The squash gets it's name because the shape resembles an acorn - it is just much larger.
Look for one without any spots or cracks. Choose an acorn squash that appears dull in color, and feels heavy.
Prepare your acorn squash easily by baking it in the oven. Simply preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Next, cut the acorn in half and remove the insides. Drizzle some olive oil on the flesh, season with salt and pepper, and bake in a greased casserole dish for 45 minutes or until tender.
If your garden plans included several acorn squashes, preserve your extra vegetables by freezing them. Since these squash are one of my favorite fall vegetables, we enjoy baked acorn squash later in the autumn or even as a side dish for cozyy winter meals.
Brussels sprouts get a bad rap because they smell weird. However, they offer us Vitamin C and K, among other nutrients.
If your fall garden included brussels sprouts, you're in luck. I haven't yet found a way to keep them alive in my northern garden. Yet they do go on sale here in the autumn, so we buy them to freeze for later.
Brussels sprouts belong to the cruciferous vegetable family. My kids think they look like tiny green cabbages. One big bonus is that they're very easy to prepare when time is short.
Simply cut enough Brussel sprouts for your meal in half. Lay them on a buttered or oiled saucepan (pot).
Next, sprinkle them with balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar, melted butter, organic coconut oil, or even olive oil. and lay them in a saucepan prepared with melted butter or olive oil.
Cook them for 12 to 15 minutes while covered and over medium-low heat. When they are done they should be tender and will have a rich nutty and buttery flavor.
And another great fall vegetable from the squash family!
Orange-colored butternut squash has a pear-like shape. It has been gaining in popularity recently because it's nutritious, filling, and low calorie. The mild flavor makes it a good low-carb substitute for wheat pasta.
Just like acorn squash, pick ones without bruises and blemishes, and that feel heavier then they look. Butternut squash is a good source of B-complex vitamins and Vitamin A.
Now, we love butternut squash, so this year my daughter and I planted five squash seeds in our garden. She was thrilled when those seeds sprouted with our 20+ hours of daylight this summer. It appeared that butternut squash were among the easiest vegetables for the kids to grow. However, we didn't get any fruit.
It appears we have a pollination problem. So I told her that next year we will plant flowers around the butternut squash in the garden. And you know what? She does not want to wait. She wants to try growing squash in containers indoors.
Last winter we grew beans indoors using seeds that came in our homeschool science kit. We have had good luck growing herbs indoors, starting tomatoes from seeds indoors, and even growing peppers. Looks like we will give butternut squash a try too.
We enjoy butternut squash in our soups, stews, and chili recipes. Sometimes we simply cube it, drizzle maple syrup over it, and bake in the oven.
A post about favorite fall vegetables wouldn't feel complete without mentioning pumpkin.
During the fall, just about anything and everything is pumpkin-flavored. Yet there's something special about real pumpkin. Especially if you grew it yourself.
When picking the best pumpkin, look for ones that are rich and even in color. Keep an eye out for strong stems and avoid green or tan colored spots.
Bake your pumpkin in the oven. Turn it into pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins and purees for pies. Try roasting the seeds in the oven for a crunch snack.
Finally, don't forget sweet potatoes. This seasonal favorite vegetable is easy to grow, inexpensive to buy, filling, yet healthy.
Try growing sweet potatoes from slips in your garden. And if you're heading to the farmer's market, look for deep-colored small to medium-sized sweet potatoes. They should be firm and smooth to the touch. Bake your sweet potatoes as-is, or mash them up and use them in casseroles or pies.
Fall offers families a great opportunity to hunker down to home-cooked meals from your garden. Take the opportunity to try new recipes and create new ones using your home grown bounty.
What fall vegetables does your family enjoy most? Let us know in the comments below!