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Local Fall Super Foods

Published on 1st September 2016
Fall fruits and vegetables are hitting their peak in the garden and are abundant at local farmers markets and grocery stores. Here’s the scoop on how to choose them, some ideas for delicious meals to make with them and reasons why they are good for more than just your taste buds.

APPLES

Ohio happens to be one of the top ten apple producing states in the US! According to the US Apple Association there are more than 100 apple varieties grown commercially in America. Some you know and love and others are unfamiliar. This fall, be adventurous and try some of these unique varieties from your local orchard. Apples are satisfying eaten raw right from the tree or are delicious baked into a special sweet treat. They should always be refrigerated for storage.

Some Local Varieties 

September - Burgundy, Jonamac, Gala, Elstar, Ozark Gold, Honeycrisp, McIntosh, Macoun, Cortland

October - Jonathan, Empire, Jonagold, Melrose, Red & Yellow Delicious, Ida Red, Holiday, Mutsu Crispin, Winesap, Blushing Golden, Rome, Fuji, Gold Rush

Visit Eddy Fruit Farm in Chesterland to pick these and other varieties. Go to www.eddyfruitfarm.com for more details on apple flavors, colors and uses. 

Health Benefits

Packed with antioxidants, apples play an essential role in reducing risks of disease.

Apples can help lower bad cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure.

They are among the best sources of soluble fiber and help you feel full longer.

Ohio Harvest Season

August through October (Prime Picking September 1 through October 25th)

Recipe - Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

https://runningwithskissors.com/2015/01/04/apple-cinnamon-oatmeal/

WINTER SQUASH

Winter Squash come in an array of colors, shapes and sizes. Hard skin and seeds distinguish them from their soft skinned cousins, the summer squash (like zucchini). They are abundant in Northeast Ohio during fall months.  

Choose squash that seem heavy for their size, it contains more edible flesh. Do not refrigerate uncooked. Store in a cool, dark location for 30 to 180 days. All winter squash must be cooked. They can be steamed, baked or boiled. It’s best to cut them in half, remove the seeds and bake them.

Some Local Varieties 

Acorn - Green, gold and white. Deeply fluted lengthwise, diameter about 6 to 8 inches. Mild, fine textured, pale orange yellow flesh. 1 to 3 pounds. Perfect for stuffing.

Butternut - Cylindrical top rests on bulblike bottom. Smooth, thin, pinkish tan rind covers sweet, orange flesh, 2 to 5 pounds. Great for roasting or for soups and stews.

Spaghetti - Watermelon shaped with yellow or orange skin and flesh. Weight 1 to 10 pounds. Commonly roasted and then easily separates with fork into spaghetti like strands.

Visit Snake Hill Farm at North Union Farm Markets in Shaker Square and Chagrin Falls for even more unique varieties of winter squash and many other fall vegetables. www.snakehillfarm.com 

Health Benefits

No single food provides a greater percentage of antioxidant rich carotenoids than winter squash to help your body fight off disease.

Winter squash provide a good source of vitamins A and C and a significant source of potassium.

 Squash seeds can be roasted just like pumpkin seeds and offer healthy fats.

Ohio Harvest Season

Mid August through Mid November

Recipe - Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing

https://runningwithskissors.com/2015/12/31/roasted-acorn-squash-with-wild-rice-stuffing/

GRAPES

Some regions of Northeast Ohio are prime for grape growing both for wine making and also for eating. Concord grapes are the most popular table grape variety grown here and are at their peak in the fall months. 

Look for firm grapes that are plump and fragrant. They should be fairly firm, but not rock hard. Store unwashed grapes in a bag in the crisper of your refrigerator. Grapes are delicious as a quick snack on the go or added to salads. Concord Grapes are well known for making into jellies.

Local Varieties

Concord

Deep blue to purple or almost black with a dusty bloom. Round grapes encased in thick skin that slips off when eaten. Medium sweetness with slightly tart finish. 

Health Benefits

Grapes contain powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols which may slow or prevent many types of cancer.

Phytonutrients found in grapes are now believed to play a role in longevity. 

Strong anti-inflammatory benefits

Good source of vitamins C and K

Ohio Harvest Season

Mid August through Mid October (Most Active September 10 to September 20)

SWEET CORN

Sweet corn has gotten a bad rap in recent years. But, corn is a vegetable that delivers many beneficial nutrients. And contrary to popular belief, most sweet corn available at your grocery store or farm market, especially in the fall, is not GMO. Field corn, which is harvested later than sweet corn and is processed into oil, high-fructose corn syrup is the corn that is typically genetically modified.  

The key to the freshest tasting corn is to buy any variety with the husks still intact. Look for plump kernels and green husks. Refrigerate it in a plastic bag or crisper drawer for up to 7 days, but for the freshest taste eat as soon as possible as the corns sugar begins to convert to starch as soon as it is harvested. Corn is delicious boiled for 5 to 7 minutes or roasted on the grill. No butter, salt or pepper required.

Local Varieties

Common (Yellow) - Plump bright yellow kernels, tightly packed on cob. Juicy, tender and very sweet.

White - Creamy white kernels that are often slightly smaller than the yellow variety. Very tender and very sweet. 

Visit Szalay’s Farm & Market in Peninsula for fresh picked sweet corn, an outdoor weekend eatery and corn maze. www.szalaysfarm.com 

Health Benefits

Corn contains certain B vitamins and vitamin C as well as magnesium and potassium

Yellow corn is a good source of two antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein which are good for eye health. 

One cup of corn provides about 4 grams of protein. 

Ohio Harvest Season

July through Mid October 

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