From freshly picked apples to squash-galore, fall produce is abundant right now.
Food Rescue Coordinator, Dara, spotlights just a handful of fall favorites they’ve seen on their truck so far this season. Plus, storage tips and cooking tricks for you!
Cranberries are one of those foods I always find myself drawn to in late fall and winter farmers’ markets. I did a little research, and it turns out most cranberries are harvested mid- to late-fall. But since they store so well, they tend to make their way into winter produce selections. My favorite way to make the most out of them is to turn them into a simple syrup for cocktails and mocktails alike, saving a portion of the boiled cranberries for garnish.
Cyndi, a volunteer for the Brookline Food Pantry, was so excited to see these on the stalk the day we received them. She says, “People love it when we get these, and they last so much longer this way.” Cyndi’s favorite way to prepare brussels sprouts is to roast and dress them with a vinaigrette of sherry, maple syrup, and shallots. While researching for this writing, I learned that the best brussels sprouts are the ones that have gone through at least one frost while growing. Their reaction to the frost makes them sweeter with a deeper flavor.
I get a ton of apples on the road on most Fridays, and Joe, the chef at Friday Night Supper Program, is routinely excited for them. Joe says they give most of the apples away in to-go bags, but they cook with them too. They love to bake apple pies, add them to braises, and use them to top salads.
I am the laziest chef I know, which makes butternut squash a favorite of mine for the winter. I like to halve them, scoop out the seeds and pulp, drizzle with olive oil and a little bit of honey or agave, and roast them slowly enough and long enough to cook all the way through. When it’s done, I add cheese (goat is a go-to for me), and I’ve got a delicious self-contained side dish!
On the opposite end of the laziness spectrum, Stacy from Women’s Lunch Place (WLP) gave me an excellent recommendation for butternut squash. She says, “As the resident vegetarian in the kitchen at WLP, I am at times given creative license to make the vegetarian dish of the day. My favorite Thanksgiving vegetarian meal that I came up with was a stuffed and trussed butternut squash. I made the stuffing with a delicious blend of grains and wild rice, caramelized leeks and onions, diced carrots, and fresh cranberries mixed with the scooped-out squash flesh. It was delicious, fun, and very rewarding to create a dish that fills the bellies of our unhoused population on Thanksgiving day.”
I’ve been bringing celery back to life in glasses of water for years. This year, I learned you could do the same with carrots! Remove the greens, peel them if you’d like, and chop them into portions small enough to submerge fully in a container of water. I like to add carrots to truly anything and everything. They’re great cooked and blended in hot sauce, small diced into bean dishes, medium diced to add sweetness to fried breakfast potatoes, sliced to add to stir-fry, and shredded into tomato-based pasta sauces for a more complex flavor.
I used to be a white-onions-only shopper, but I’ve fully converted to red onions in the last year or so. Contrary to what I said about my lazy cooking style earlier, I’ve been experimenting with different scraps for vegetable stocks over the years, so my onion tip for you is this: flavor aside – which is fine! – include red onion scraps in your veggie stock. The color will be darker, making it a great veggie substitute for recipes that call for beef broth.
Spotlight: Local Farms
Seasonal Spoonfuls (Summer): A guide to seasonal cooking from the Lovin’ Spoonfuls team
Seasonal Spoonfuls (Winter): A guide to seasonal cooking from the Lovin’ Spoonfuls team