Along with cooler weather, fall brings trips to cider mills for fresh-pressed cider, tasty donuts, and maybe a bag or two of juicy apples. Apples may not be as available this year compared to past years due to the unusual weather that hit the northern states in spring. And this may translate to higher prices for apples and apple products.
If the price of apples turns out to be a bit pricey, there are plenty of other healthy options for the fall and winter season. And the available choices will add important nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, to the daily fare.
- Clementines, those cute little mandarin oranges that come in mesh bags or small wooden crates, should be arriving soon. These citrus fruits are easy to peel, making the clementine a perfect snack or lunch bag addition. Other citrus fruits such as navel oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit, will also be available during the cooler months.
- Cranberries should be showing up soon in produce aisles. Because cranberries are quite tart, combine them with sweeter fruit, such as apricots, raisins, oranges, and pears. Quick breads and muffins made with whole wheat flour are nutritious ways to add cranberries to the menu. And recipes are right on the bag. Or, make a cranberry sauce to add color and flavor to fish and chicken. An easy way to store the berries for future use is to toss the bag right into the freezer. The berries will keep for one year.
- Grapes are another fruit choice in the cooler months and an easy addition to the lunch box. Keep a bowl of cleaned grapes in the fridge for easy snacking. Grapes and cheese make good partners on the appetizer plate, too. (Be cautious serving to very young children as grapes may present a choking hazard.)
- Kiwis, or Chinese gooseberries, are those fuzzy little bundles that have the juicy, sweet, green centers. These fruits can be cut in half width-wise and scooped out with a spoon. Or, rub off the fuzz and eat out-of-hand, peel and all. Super easy and full of fiber. Kiwis are also tasty with other fruit chopped in a fruit salsa and served with baked cinnamon pita chips. Note: kiwis will ripen at room temperature, so keep a few in a bowl on the counter for convenient access.
- Pears are available now, and the price is attractive, too. These fruits come in various sizes and colors and are great in fruit salads or green salads. Pears will brown, so toss with a small amount of orange or other citrus juice. Pears also ripen best at room temperature. Add a few to the kiwis for a kitchen table centerpiece. Visit the Food Network for additional ideas such as poached pears, pear crisp, and pear salad.
- Pomegranates, those large, reddish fruits that when sliced open reveal small, bright, red seeds, are only available during October and November. Try them soon. The seeds can serve as a garnish, eaten as a fruit, or pressed for juice. Check out EatingWell for tempting recipes.
Fall offers many healthy treats. Enjoy one today.