Tips & Recipes
Our guide to what's in season for fall…with recipes that provide fresh menu solutions.
An impressive 11 of the 20 trends highlighted in the National Restaurant Association's 2013 "What's Hot?" Chef Survey revolve around local, farms, nutrition, health and produce—clearly, chefs are paying close attention to fresh produce. The number of farmers' markets has exploded from 4,385 five years ago to 7,175 in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Clearly, consumers are paying closer attention, too. Highlighting the season's best does not require a chalkboard menu, changing daily to reflect what's pulled from the earth that morning. It does require that chefs pay attention to what's in season, highlighting that fresh produce on their menu in creative, delicious ways.
Get Your Menu Ready for Fall
Fall produce benefits from summer's long, hot growing season. Root vegetables,
like celery root, parsnips and sweet potatoes, get pulled from the soil,
gracing plates with their sweet earthiness. Chicories assert themselves,
with bold, crisp flavors, as chefs hand over their salads to Belgian endives,
escarole, radicchio. Apples, cranberries and pumpkin herald the festive side of fall,
inviting warm pies, holiday stuffings and comforting bread puddings, to name a few.
What's in Season? Fall Edition (September 21-December 21)
fast facts—it takes approximately 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider; it takes around 2 pounds of apples to make a 9-inch pie
culinary tips—dip peeled apples in lemon juice or lightly salted water to prevent browning; for an alternative to maple syrup, thicken heated apple juice and a splash of lemon juice with cornstarch
nutritional profile—good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C
fast facts—named after where they were originally cultivated back in the 16th century, the Belgian city of Brussels
culinary tips—slice them thinly and serve raw in a salad for added texture and flavor; quarter them, drizzle with oil and balsamic vinegar, then roast them
nutritional profile—source of dietary fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin K; good source of thiamin and source of iron
fast facts—also known as celeriac or knob celery
culinary tips—try a classic French preparation: céleri rémoulade—peeled and grated, then tossed in a dressing made with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper; use the stalks to garnish Bloody Marys
nutritional profile—very good source of vitamin C and phosphorus; good source of dietary fiber and vitamin B6
fast facts—the cranberry is one of three fruits native to North America…the other two? Blueberry and Concord grape
culinary tips—add cooked-down cranberries to barbecue sauce for late-summer ribs
nutritional profile—very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C and thiamin; good source of vitamin E and vitamin K
fast facts—flies aren't keen on fennel, so powdered fennel is often used to keep flies away in kennels and stables
culinary tips—add fennel to mirepoix for its subtle undertone of anise
nutritional profile—very good source of dietary fiber, vitamin C and folate; good source of niacin, calcium and iron
fast facts—one medium grapefruit will give you 2/3 of a cup of fresh-squeezed juice
culinary tips—for menu interest, look for cocktail grapefruits, which are a cross between a mandarin and a pummelo
nutritional profile—very good source of vitamin C; good source of dietary fiber, vitamin A and potassium
fast facts—also known as sunchokes; native to North America
culinary tips—cook as you would potatoes—roast, steam, boil, etc.; slice very thinly and serve raw in a salad
nutritional profile—significant amounts of a number of nutrients, including phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, Vitamin C and folate
fast facts—frost actually is a good thing for kale, producing sweeter leaves
culinary tips—marinate kale to break down the rigid cell structures
nutritional profile—very good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6 and calcium; good source of dietary fiber, protein, folate and iron
fast facts—store them for two weeks to let their sweet flavors develop
culinary tips—thinly slice, then deep fry for parsnip chips, a fun alternative to croutons
nutritional profile—source of fibre, Vitamin C and folate; good source of calcium and potassium
fast facts—one pomegranate yields ½ cup of juice and ¾ cup pomegranate arils (seeds)
culinary tips—cook down pomegranate juice into molasses, then brush on poultry for a colorful, thick glaze
nutritional profile—source of Vitamin A and potassium
fast facts—pumpkins are 90% water; pumpkins are fruit
culinary tips—for baking, look for Cinderella, Pink Banana Squash or Sugar Pie pumpkins
nutritional profile—source of dietary fibre, Vitamin A and Vitamin C
fast facts—sweet potatoes are not potatoes—potatoes are tubers and sweet potatoes are part of the morning glory family.
culinary tips—use sweet potatoes instead of potatoes in hash browns
nutritional profile—source of Vitamin A and Vitamin C
fast facts—winter squash are harvested in the fall, but because of their thick skins, can last through the winter
culinary tips—look for Blue Hokkaido; with its gray-blue skin and bright orange flesh, it offers dramatic plate presentation for stuffed squash
nutritional profile—source of dietary fibre, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6; good source of Vitamin K, potassium and folate
Fun Trivia for Curious Culinary Minds
The world's largest apple peel was created by Kathy Wafler Madison on October 16,
1976, in Rochester, New York. It was 172 feet, 4 inches long.
(She was 16 years old at the time and grew up to be a sales manager for an apple tree nursery.)
The Germans have a much nicer name for Brussels sprouts—"rose cabbages."6
According to cranberryfarmers, honeybees are often used to pollinate cranberry crops. Indeed, their role in this task is even more invaluable than their role in the production of honey.
In colonial times, pumpkin was used as an ingredient for the crust of pies—not the filling.