A new season of Earthy delights is upon us, Delectable Ones.
Follow me as I forage the fields and the trees
for the most delectable and devilishly Autumnal treats...
FABULOUS FALL VEGGIES:
Much of this edible poetry is available year-round, however, the cooler air produces sweeter, less bitter, tastier versions, so indulge!
- ARTICHOKES - Fall produces a smaller, second go round on these delicacies. Squeeze the leaves! They will give a little squeak when super-fresh!
- ARUGULA - choose firm, bright leaves, no yellowing or spots. The larger leaves are more peppery tasting.
- BEETS - Look for fresh, firm veggies with bright greens attached. You can cook the greens too!
- BELGIAN ENDIVE - These are mostly forced to grow in artificial conditions, but fall is their natural harvest time.
- BROCCOLI - select one that is dark green with stiff stalks and tight florets. Any signs of yellowing, a rubbery feel, or white stems means you should skip it.
- BRUSSELS SPROUTS - When you see these on the stalk, grab them! They last much longer than the cut ones do.
- CABBAGE - Make sure the head is tight and compact, with good color and no wilting.
- CARROTS - Look for ones that are firm and bright. No wilting or sprouting, please. A dark coloring at the top indicates that they are old.
- CELERIAC - You want smooth skin and as few ridges as possible.
- CELERY - Grab those straight, rigid stalks. Ahem. Steer clear of the limp ones.
- CHARD - Choose dark green leaves with bright stems, avoiding dried or browning ones.
- CHICORIES - Look for a creamy white color, with pale yellow tips.
- EGGPLANT (AUBERGINES) - The skin should be smooth and shiny, and they should be a bit heavy for their size, with no tan patches.
- ESCAROLE - Choose fresh, bright greens with no wilting or browning.
- FENNEL - Look for a very white bulb. The smaller ones roast best if you are cooking them, and the leaves can be used for flavoring or tea!
- GARLIC - Grab the ones with clean bulbs in a uniform color. Beware brown areas.
- GREEN BEANS - You need bright, plump beans that snap. No limp ones.
- HERBS - Thyme, Rosemary, and Sage are all in peak season right now-grab them!
- HORSERADISH - Pick firm roots with fresh-looking cut ends. Avoid softness.
- JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES - Choose clean looking tubers with minimal bumps, no sprouting or soft spots.
- KALE - Look for deep green leaves that are springy and don’t show signs of wilting or discoloring, plus a stem that isn’t dry. Remember: The smaller the leaves, the more mild the flavor.
- LEMONGRASS - Fresh-looking, fragrant stalks with tight bulbs. The tips may be slightly dry, which is ok.
- LETTUCE - As always, choose healthy, vibrant leaves!
- MUSHROOMS (WILD) - Look for a smooth texture, dry but not dried out.
- OKRA - Pick ones that are firm and smooth...and fuzzy!
- PARSNIPS - Fresh, firm veggies with bright greens attached, please!
- PEPPERS - Buy naturally shiny, unwrinkled, firm, and blemish free, regardless of color.
- POTATOES - Look for smooth ones, with few eyes and no blemishes (they can be toxic.) And no green patches or sprouting.
- PUMPKINS - Small "pie pumpkins" are most delish when they still have 1-2 inches of healthy stem attached. Avoid blemishes and soft spots, but lopsided is fine!
- RADICCHIO - Actually a chicory, the leaves should be unblemished, but the cut end can be browning slightly.
- RADISHES - Take home smooth, bright ones with green tops. Avoid black spots, brown or white scars, and yellow or limp tops.
- RAPINI (BROCCOLI RAABE) - Pick firm ones with thin stems and small florets, and no visible flowers.
- RUTABEGAS - Look for firm, smaller ones, with a purple cast to the skin. Scratch the flesh. It should be yellow beneath.
- SPINACH - Pick deep or bright green, unwilted leaves.
- SWEET POTATOES - Grab the firm ones with no sign of decay. If baking, a uniform shape will ensure even cooking.
- TOMATILLOS - The husks should been green! If the husk is papery or dry, the tomatillo is past it's prime.
- TURNIPS - Select smaller to average sized ones, as the larger are woody. Baby turnips are super sweet, but don't yet have the purple color.
- WINTER SQUASH/ZUCCHINI - Look for ones that are heavy and solid, without soft spots, have matte skin, and still has a stem.
FOXY FALL FRUITS:
- APPLES - Look for one that is not only firm, but has naturally shiny and bright skin. No waxiness!
- CRANBERRIES - Choose firm, shiny, plump ones...no shriveling!
- FIGS - They should be soft, not mushy, but never hard. Check for a firm stem, as wigglyness is a sign of mushyness. Steer clear of any white fuzzy mold.
- GRAPES - Green ones should have a slightly translucent, yellowish tone, and a frosty "bloom." Red and black ones should have a rich tone. All should be plump, with no leaking or wiggly stems.
- PEARS - Choose fruits with smooth skin, and are free of bruises. I personally prefer ones that give when you squeeze them, otherwise they take forever to ripen.
- QUINCES - Pick ones that are firm and relatively smooth, free of bruises or blemishes.
- PERSIMMONS - Take home the glossy, firm, plump ones that still have their leaf attached.
- POMEGRANATES - Select ones that are round, plump, and heavy for their size.
And don't forget all the sumptuous Autumn flowers! Chrysanthemums, in every stunning shade, are highly protective, magickal blooms. Besides planting them in the ground, I like to wrap small bouquets with twine or ribbon, and hang them in each window. I also love to adorn a chandelier or curvy lamp base with them when they are fresh and bendy...eventually they will dry beautifully, and stay with your for many, many months to come.
Happy harvesting, Tasty Ones!
Love bites to you,
all through the year...