What are the most popular fall foods in the USA and how to cook them?

Fall is finally here! The leaves are changing colors, pumpkins are popping out everywhere, and soon Halloween will be upon us. If you love pumpkin pie or apple cider donuts, then you’ll want to start preparing now.

Pumpkin has long been associated with autumn, thanks to its orange color. Pumpkin also contains vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, zinc, and magnesium. In addition, pumpkin seeds contain omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and antioxidants.

There are several ways to prepare pumpkins. Some recipes call for roasting the whole thing, while others suggest baking it. Either way, these dishes are delicious and nutritious.

Other foods that can be prepared during fall include apples, nuts, mushrooms, corn on the cob, squash (summer), tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts. How do all of these foods fit together? Read on as we cover some great food ideas for your kitchen this season.

most popular fall foods

The Most Popular Fall Foods

1) Apples

Apples are one of the most common fruits consumed in America. They’re easy to find year-round and relatively inexpensive, making them a staple in many grocery stores. Apples come in both red and green varieties, but they always taste best when they’ve ripened naturally.

Ripe apples have soft yellow flesh surrounded by an almost transparent sheen called “bloom.” You should choose apples without bruises or cuts. Store apples in a cool place like the refrigerator until ready to use. When cooking, first peel and quarter the fruit. Then core and slice the pieces before adding them to sauces, pies, salads, or casseroles.

2) Berries

Raspberries and blueberries are two of the most common berries grown in North America. However, there are many others you may not have heard about. Strawberries, blackberries, boysenberries, loganberries, gooseberries, and elderberries are all high in antioxidants and low in calories. All berries should be washed thoroughly prior to eating.

Ripe strawberries should be avoided as they tend to get mushy when ripe. Berries can be enjoyed fresh or frozen. Many delivery companies used to provide both types in their dishes. Using such a service will bring minimum time and maximum pleasure for the entire family. If freezing, place unwashed berries in single layers between paper towels and keep in a freezer bag until needed. Thaw frozen berries in the refrigerator overnight. Serve berries plain or top with yogurt and granola.

3) Peaches

Peaches are another favorite American fruit. They are usually available from July through September, depending on where you live. Choose peaches that feel heavy for their size. Avoid any that look bruised or spotted. Place ripe peaches in the microwave for about 30 seconds per side or bake at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes.

After cooling, remove the skin and chop the peach. You may need to process the peaches briefly in a blender to make sure there aren’t any large chunks left. Serve fresh or frozen peaches right away. For more information on peaches, read our full guide to peaches.

4) Pumpkins

A perfect example of what happens when nature cooperates with man, is pumpkins grow in abundance during early fall. While some people eat just the meaty interior, they’re actually much more than that.

The entire vegetable is edible. Pumpkins are members of the gourd family and come in different sizes. The three main varieties include small, medium, and large. Small ones weigh around 2 pounds and measure 7 inches wide. Medium pumpkins can reach 4 lbs. and are 12 inches in diameter. And large pumpkins hold 8 to 10 lbs. and are 18 inches in diameter.

5) Pears

Like apples, pears are an affordable fruit that can last throughout the winter. They’re often used in desserts, especially baked goods such as cakes, muffins, cookies, and bread. But pears work well in savory dishes too. Select firm pears that feel heavy for their weight. Peel pears using a paring knife rather than a vegetable peeler.

Core pears and slice them into wedges or cubes. To enhance flavor, add sugar and cinnamon to the pan. Cook lightly until tender, then transfer to a serving dish. Add pear slices to salads, soups, and even pizza toppings. You can also freeze pears if desired.

6) Nuts

Nuts are nutritious snacks to enjoy during the autumn season. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, and peanuts are among the most popular types. Many nuts contain healthy fats which help lower cholesterol levels. Some nuts also contain vitamin E which helps support heart health.

Roasting brings out their flavors while maintaining their nutritional value. In fact, roasting is often regarded as a way to increase nuttiness. It’s recommended to buy raw nuts since salting reduces the amount of nutrients present. Roast whole nuts on a baking sheet in a 350-degree F oven for 20 minutes. Let them cool completely before removing them and storing them in airtight containers.

7) Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are popular all across the United States, particularly in the South. They are known for their rich orange color and sweet flavor. Sweet potato recipes are quite varied including everything from mashes and fries to candies and pies. If your sweet potatoes are larger, cut them up into bite-sized pieces. Otherwise, leave them in their intact state.

Microwave sweet potatoes for 5 minutes per side or bake them at 375 degrees F for 45 minutes. Once cooked, let them cool slightly before eating. If possible, serve them warm rather than cold. This will allow them to retain their moisture content so that they’ll be easier to digest. Try roasting the sweet potatoes with other root vegetables like carrots or parsnips to create new combinations.

8) Cranberry Sauce

Cranberries are one of America’s favorite fruits. They’re available year-round but peak around holidays such as Thanksgiving. Most commercial cranberry sauce has added sugar and preservatives. Instead, make your own by combining equal parts chopped dried cranberries and chopped apples.

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cranberries and simmer for 10 minutes until cranberries begin to pop open. Drain any excess liquid. Transfer cranberries to a food processor and process until smooth. Return cranberry mixture to pan and stir in grated apple. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer cranberry sauce uncovered for 15 minutes. Keep it chilled until ready to use.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the most popular fall foods include apples, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, turkey, cornbread stuffing, and pecan pie. There are many more, but these are some of the best-loved ones. Cooking delicious and nutritious meals shouldn’t be difficult if you know what ingredients to look for!

This is a contributed article on the most popular fall foods. If you are interested in having your article published on Jesse Lane Wellness.com please email info@jesselanewellness.com. Photo by Blair Fraser on Unsplash

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