Fall Vegetables
Diet & Nutrition
Heart Health

Fall Fruit and Vegetable Guide

With fall come brisk days, turning leaves – and a bounty of tempting, seasonal fruits and vegetables. Here, the experts from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offer tips on what fruits and veggies are best right now, and how to pick the best in the market:

F R U I T S

APPLES

According to the HHS, apples are “nature’s perfect snack.” Whether they’re sweet or tart, they’re great for baking as well as eating. The benefits of apples (besides the exercise you get if you pick them yourself!) is that they’re high in vitamin C and soluble fiber. They may also have a role in preventing heart disease. The HHS experts recommend choosing richly colored, firm, unbruised apples.

  • Store them in the refrigerator, and keep in mind that firmer apples like Gala and Fuji will last longer than a softer variety like Golden Delicious.

CRANBERRIES

Not only are they nutritious – they’re festive. They’re a must-have at Thanksgiving, and look great on a garland looped around a Christmas tree, the HHS experts say. Try to keep them in your diet all year round!

  • Like apples, cranberries are a good source of vitamin C and fiber. They also have several antioxidants, the HHS experts say, that have been linked to cancer prevention. Get them fresh in 12-ounce bags. They also freeze well and can be kept for a few months, the experts say, in either an airtight container or the bag you bought them in.

PEARS

A great fruit, but one that requires patience. Unlike apples, pears don’t do well ripening on the tree. Instead, they are picked before they are mature. They also undergo post-harvest cold storage to continue the ripening process. (Editor’s note: According to experts from Oregon State University, there’s a “relatively narrow window” between a pear being too hard and too soft.)
Every kind of pear is available in the fall, according to the HHS experts. Besides snacking on them, you can have oven-roasted or poached pears. Each medium pear, the HHS experts say, has about 100 calories and 6 grams of fiber.

  • Let pears sit at room temperature. Put them near other ripening fruit, the HHS experts say, or in a brown bag with a ripe banana. That stimulates ripening). Most pears won’t change color when they’re ripe; instead, evaluate them with touch. Pears are ready when they can be gently pressed near the stem.

POMEGRANATES

This red, round fruit can look rather forbidding, but once you cut one open, the HHS experts say, you’ll see dozens of juicy, edible seeds. The pomegranate, which averages about 70 calories is high in potassium, fiber and vitamin C. It’s also high in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that’s been with reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers.

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