Fall Fruit Guide
As the sun sets on summer fruit, the chill in the air opens up a whole new world of produce–crisp apples, tart cranberries and juicy pears are just a few of the fall fruits you can choose from this season. This handy guide tells you what each offers nutritionally and helps you choose the tastiest fall produce at the farmers' market.
Pictured Recipe: Instant Pot Apple Crisp
Sweet, tangy, juicy and flavorful, an apple is nature's perfect snack, especially when they're straight off the tree in the fall. Apples are great for snacking, but they are also versatile in the kitchen–they pair well with other fall fruits and vegetables for both sweet and savory dishes. Think: apple puree in butternut squash soup!
What You Get: A good source of soluble fiber and vitamin C, apples also have some phytochemicals that help prevent heart disease.
Shopping Tip: Choose richly colored, unbruised apples with smooth skin that feel firm and heavy in your hand.
Storage Tip: Store apples in the refrigerator. In general, firmer, juicier apples like Gala and Fuji will last longer than softer varieties like Golden Delicious.
Pictured Recipe: Cranberry Salad
Beautiful, healthful and festive cranberries are one of the jewels of fall. Cranberry sauce is a must-have for most of us on Thanksgiving, and they do look lovely strung around the tree around the holidays. A sprinkle of cranberries in a shaved Brussels sprouts salad or in a bundt cake, be sure to stock up on these delicious and healthy berries this holiday season and look for new ways to keep them in your diet year-round.
What You Get: A good source of vitamin C and fiber, cranberries are also an excellent source of several antioxidants that have been associated with cancer prevention.
Shopping Tip: Find fresh cranberries packaged in 12-ounce bags in the produce section.
Storage Tip: Cranberries freeze well and can be kept in your freezer in an airtight container, or the bag you bought them in, for months.
Pictured Recipe: Roasted Pears with Brie & Pistachios
Enjoying the perfect pear requires patience. Pears are one of the few fruits that don't benefit from ripening on the tree. In fact, pears left unpicked tend to rot from the inside out. The pear easily moves between the realms of sweet and savory. Try oven-roasted pears for a decadent dessert. Or roast wedges and puree them in a winter squash soup.
What You Get: An average medium pear has 100 calories and 6 grams of fiber, much of it the soluble kind that may help to lower blood cholesterol.
Shopping Tips: There are a variety of pears to choose from in most grocery stores and each variety has its season, though they're all available in the fall.
Most pears don't significantly change in color when ripe, so go by touch: ripe pears are soft when gently pressed near the stem.
Storage Tips: Let pears sit at room temperature, near other ripening fruit or in a brown bag with a ripe banana (which stimulates ripening).
Store ripe pears in the coldest part of the refrigerator to prevent overripening.
Pictured Recipe: Spinach, Asian Pear & Chicken Salad
Juicier than regular pears, Asian pears can add a bit more water to anything you eat them with. In a mixed green salad roasted with root vegetables, they can add sweetness to a dish without overpowering other flavors. They can be used in both sweet and savory dishes so if you're in the mood for a tart or you want your short ribs to really pop, put Asian pears on your grocery list.
What You Get: 1 Asian pear (275 g) has about 116 calories and packs 9 g dietary fiber and 7 percent of the daily value for potassium.
Shopping Tips: Because they can be pricey, you don't want to pick the wrong ones–search for ones that smell sweet–the more aromatic they are, the more flavorful they are.
Storage Tips: You can store Asian pears in the refrigerator for up to two months–if you can, keep them in the protective sleeves they're sold with so they don't get bruised.
Pictured Recipe: Savory Date & Pistachio Bites
Dates are the key ingredient in a lot of vegan and vegetarian desserts–they have the power to hold ingredients together while adding depth of flavor to healthier confections. But they're not just for desserts–they can be incorporated into savory side dishes in the fall and winter as well as snacks when you're craving something sweet.
What You Get: A serving of four dates delivers about 120 calories, 3 g fiber and 7 percent of the daily value for iron–which is important when you're considering plant-based diets.
Shopping Tips: What you'll find at the grocery store are dried dates, however, those are also fresh dates because they are left on the tree to dry to extend their shelf life. You want to look for shiny dates (wrinkles are ok) that don't have cracks which could be a sign that they're too dry.
Storage Tips: You can extend the life of dates by storing them in the refrigerator in an airtight container. They'll last about six months that way, but the sooner you eat them, the better they are.
Pictured Recipe: Grilled Figs with Honeyed Goat Cheese & Thyme
Technically, figs aren't a fruit, they're a flower (an inverted flower, to be precise), but they're eaten like fruit in midsummer and early fall. You can eat them grilled with sweet potatoes, in a tart as the start, as jam on a goat cheese crostini or on pizza with gorgonzola–there are lots of ways you can get creative with these edible flowers.
What You Get: One medium fig (50 g) contains about 37 calories along with vitamins A and K along with nutrients including calcium, potassium, magnesium and iron.
Shopping Tips: When you're looking at fresh figs, the skin should be smooth without any cuts or broken skin. Skip firm figs or soft figs–they should have a slight give when they're gently squeezed.
Storage Tips: When you bring home your figs, store them in the fridge immediately and have a plan for using them. They'll only last about two days in the refrigerator before they start to deteriorate.
Pictured Recipe: Farro Salad with Cranberries & Persimmons
Persimmons are unique with flavors and textures that blend squash with apples. Delicious in salads, grilled or stuffed, there's a lot that this ochre fruit has to offer.
What You Get: For a small to medium-sized persimmon, you get 118 calories, 6 g of fiber along with calcium, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium.
Shopping Tips: Look for persimmons that are shiny and firm but yields with a gentle squeeze.
Storage Tips: Persimmons can be left on the counter at room temperature if they're not quite ripe. When they're ripe, store them in the refrigerator where they'll last about two days.
Pictured Recipe: Winter Greens Salad with Pomegranate & Kumquats
The pomegranate may look hard to tackle, but cut into one and you'll reveal its many jewel-like seeds. Add a beautiful pop of color to any dish with a sprinkling of the edible seeds or enjoy them unadorned.
What You Get: Full of fiber, vitamin C and potassium, pomegranates are high in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that has been linked with reduced risk of heart disease and some cancers.
Shopping Tip: Look for pomegranates that feel heavy for their size, indicating particularly juicy fruit.
Storage Tips: Store pomegranates at room temperature for up to 3 weeks or refrigerate for up to 2 months.
Pomegranate seeds and juice can be frozen for up to 6 months.