Fall Produce Tips

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I can’t believe it’s a few weeks into the Fall season already…and I haven’t talked about Fall produce yet!!  Considering I’m obsessed with pumpkins, apples, pears and butternut squash, it’s surprising I haven’t brought up the topic of these wonderful Fall fruits and veggies!  Just shows how busy I’ve been.  Yup super busy over here!  Busy doing FALL STUFF!  Like spending a weekend in Charlottesville with my friends picking apples, drinking apple cider (and hard cider) plus hiking.  And then spending a weekend at home touring fall festivals and indulging in one too many caramel apples.  Plus, this Friday night, my friends are coming over for a pumpkin party.  Yes… we are all obsessed with Fall and pumpkins and decided it’d be smart to get together to drink pumpkin beer, carve pumpkins and eat tons of pumpkin laced food.  Have you figured out I’m obsessed?  Good.  That’s how we (and definitely me!) roll!

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Fall is awesome and you should totally take advantage of all the wonderful produce that it brings with it.  However, unlike Summer, Fall produce is not as delicate – more hearty – and needs to be stored much differently than say, delicate raspberries or blackberries.  Here are a few good tips for picking out some prime produce and storing them at home!

  • Apples – when selecting your apples, choose fruits that have a firm skin and flesh and no bruises or cuts.  Make sure you choose the correct type of apple for the dish you’re preparing – see this post for the best and worst baking/cooking apples.  Store apples in a cool dark place or in a bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge.  The apples will stay fresh for several weeks.
  • Arugula – when selecting arugula – either in bulk or in bags – look for bright green leaves without any holes or yellowing.  If purchasing arugula in bulk or with the roots, gently wrap the ends in a moist paper towel and place in a plastic bag in the fridge – this will usually keep for about 3 days.  Or keep in the original container and consume before the expiration date.  When purchasing arugula with the roots intact it extends the shelf life.
  • Broccoli Rabe – this bitter green should be dark green in color with no yellowing.  And the small buds should be tightly closed and firm.  Store broccoli rabe in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer for up to 5 days.  Once blanched, this veggie can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  • Brussel Sprouts – Look for bright green sprouts without yellowing or any holes in them.  If the outer leaves are somewhat wilted, that’s OK – the inside will be fresh.  Store these mini cabbage like veggies in an open container in your fridge for 1 week.  If they are on the stalk, you can remove them from the stalk and place in the open container.  The outside leaves may wilt, but the inside stays nice and fresh!
  • Swiss Chard – Swiss chard is a dark green leafy veggie that comes in an array of colors.  Look for firm stems and leaves with no yellowing/browning or wilting.  If left uncovered in the fridge, swiss chard will wilt fast.  Store it in a large plastic baggie and press out most of the air.  It’ll stay good for up to 1 week.
  • Parsnips – Try to buy small or medium parsnips – the larger they are, the tougher they get and their core becomes very bitter.  Parnsips, similar to carrots, should be stored in a dark cool place.  You can also place them in a plastic baggie and keep them in the crisper drawer of your fridge.  They should last up to 2 weeks like this.
  • Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes) – Choose ‘chokes that are firm and smooth without any blemishes or sprouts on them.  Sunchokes can bruise easily, so be gentle.  Store them in a cool, dark place away from light.  They can last anywhere from 1-3 weeks.  Use before they get soft or their skins become wrinkly.
  • Persimmons – choose persimmons that are shiny, firm and plump!  If they have some yellow patches, they are still unripe.  If you buy a few persimmons that are unripe, store on the kitchen counter until they fully ripen – then eat immediately or store in the fridge for about 2-3 days.

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1 Comment

  1. emily (a nutritionist eats)

    October 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    Great guide, I’m so excited to roast some squash!!

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