October Seasonal Produce to Try
Eating with the seasons is not only great for your body and the planet; it’s also a terrific tool for the budget-conscious home cook. As the weather begins to cool down, it’s a pretty good indicator that it’s time to shop for fall produce. If you live in the U.S., Canada, or elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, October in particular is known for a variety of delicious seasonal produce.
Knowing what fruits and vegetables are in season in October can help you with your clean eating meal planning, while staying in budget. Here we’ll tease your tastebuds with some October seasonal produce, and share recipes to help you successfully eat with the seasons.
October seasonal produce means juicy fall fruits. Here’s a list of the fruit to look for this month.
Apples are crisp, juicy, and packed with both vitamin C and fiber. Apples are in season from late July to early November, so October is prime time for picking, juicing, and cooking! You can even try visiting a local orchard for some DIY apple picking and family-friendly fun. Easily incorporated into any meal, we especially love them for breakfast like in this apple pie chia pudding.
Blackberries bring antioxidants, manganese, and vitamin K to your diet, all while exuding a beautiful color. In North America, blackberry season lasts from August to mid-October, so try to grab these delicious berries towards the beginning of fall. This chicken and brie sandwich with blackberry compote is just one fun way to incorporate them into your meal.
A more delicate fruit, figs pack both taste and texture into a small package. Whether added into a salad or turned into a compote to pair with meat, figs are the perfect compliment. You’ll find figs in season from August through October, with a plethora of varieties to choose from. Eaten as a side or a main dish, couscous with figs and arugula is just one example of how figs can delight your tastebuds.
Velvety and juicy, pears are a wonderful fall fruit. Pears are in season from August through October and come in many varieties, though Bartlett pears are the most commonly known. Cinnamon baked pears are just one way you can turn pears into an aromatic dessert to top off any meal.
The pomegranate is a unique fruit that when broken open reveals jewel toned seeds called arils. In the Northern Hemisphere, pomegranate season is typically the end of September through November. Enjoy this October seasonal produce in overnight muesli with pomegranate and almonds, or use as a salad topping for a burst of texture and sweetness.
This delightful fruit was named after New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi. Fuzzy and brown on the outside and bright green or yellow on the inside. This fruit can be eaten with or without the skin and the tiny seeds add a little crunch. October and November are peak harvest season for the kiwi. Fresh kiwi with coconut milk yogurt is a great snack that can be incorporated into any healthy diet.
Honeydew is a green melon that is best eaten once the flesh is soft and juicy. Honeydew is in season between June and October. This avocado and honeydew gazpacho is a refreshing way to add this fruit into a soup.
October seasonal produce also means root vegetables, squashes, and cruciferous vegetables. Here are some of our favorites to try that are at their peak in October.
Artichokes may look prickly, but this vegetable becomes tender and flavorful once cooked. Artichokes actually have two peak seasons –the first which runs from March to June, and a second which runs from September to October. Artichokes are incredibly versatile, and can be prepared by boiling, steaming, or even grilling! While they’re commonly thought of as a side dish, artichokes stand alone as a savory appetizer in this recipe for pan-fried artichokes with lemon and anchovy on toast.
Beets are a gorgeous root vegetable that are loaded with fiber, and they taste sweet and earthy when juiced, roasted, or even pickled! You’ll find beets in season between July and October, making them a perfect addition to a fresh summer salad or a savory fall bake. Mix things up by making beets at breakfast with this beet, leek and sweet potato hash with eggs.
While orange carrots are the most common, carrots come in a rainbow of colors. They are highly versatile and can be enjoyed raw, cooked, or roasted to bring out their sweetness. Carrots tend to be in season year-round, but their peak season is mid-September to mid-December. This one-pot wine-braised chicken thighs and potatoes recipe is perfect for those cool fall evenings, and convenient for meal prep.
Another fall root vegetable, parsnips are in season from September through early spring. Parsnips look similar to carrots, but their flavor is more complex. The uniquely sweet and earthy flavor of parsnips make them great fit for roasting or as a mash or puree. For a flavorful meal that will warm your core, try this roasted parsnip and apple soup with hazelnut-rosemary oil and a roll.
Rutabagas are a cross between turnips and cabbage. It’s an ideal vegetable for braising and the greens are delicious when cooked as well. Harvest season for rutabagas is October to November. Slow cooker Moroccan chicken & root vegetable stew is a warming meal with rich fall flavors.
With "sweet" in its very name, how could you expect anything else? This root vegetable can be described as nutty or buttery, and its tendency to caramelize when roasted makes it an enticing swap for the standard potato. Peak season for sweet potatoes is late October through December, making them perfect for casseroles or as a holiday side dish. Stuffed sweet potatoes with slow cooked pulled pork is one of our favorite batch meals for fall.
Brussels sprouts look like tiny cabbages and can be roasted or sautéed for maximum flavor. Brussels sprouts can be purchased by the pound or by the stalk at some specialty markets, and are available at their peak from September to mid-February. We recommend trying this gluten-free pasta with Brussels sprouts, lemon and ricotta for a citrusy twist.
Cabbage is crunchy when fresh and sweet when cooked, which is why it is used everywhere from coleslaw, to chow mein, to sauerkraut. Cabbage is a great source of vitamin C and dietary fiber, and is in prime season from October through February. While cabbage is commonly found in lunch or dinner recipes, get creative at breakfast time with this bacon, cabbage & shiitake scramble.
Broccoli most resembles small trees with its stalk and flowering crown, and it's a favorite raw for crudité or sauteed in a stir-fry.Broccoli is in season from October through April, which means there is plenty of time to try this honey mustard chicken salad with broccoli and apple.
Rich and sweet, butternut squash satisfies on its own or as a side dish. You can roast it, bake it, puree it for a soup, or even stuff it with quinoa or your filling of choice! Butternut squash adds a creaminess to every dish and is in season from August through October. If you’re looking to spice up dinnertime, Thai chicken and butternut squash curry packs a ton of flavor with minimal prep time.
Acorn squash has a flavor profile that’s milder than butternut squash, but still sweet and nutty. Perfect as a side dish or stuffed as a main dish, acorn squash is most often baked in the oven. Acorn squash is in season from August through October. This recipe for acorn squash stuffed with veggie sausage, spinach and tomatoes makes a hearty main dish.
Most commonly thought of for pumpkin pie, pumpkins add creaminess and a unique flavor to fall dishes. It’s a low-calorie food that’s dense with nutrients. Pumpkins are in season from September to December. These pumpkin cashew pudding cups are a healthy and satisfying snack or dessert.
Warm up and get into the fall spirit by incorporating October seasonal produce into your meals. Not only does eating with the seasons offer health benefits, you’ll also find that buying seasonal produce is also the most affordable choice. By cooking with fruits and vegetables that are in season in October, you’ll have produce at its peak ripeness and quality – which means great flavor!
Looking for a little help incorporating seasonal produce into your meals? PlateJoy offers assistance with everything from vegetarian meal plans to keto meal planning. We also offer personalized grocery lists and recipes to ensure eating healthy doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor.