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Fall Vegetable Guide

How to select the best vegetables this fall season.
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Mushrooms

These days, the produce aisle routinely offers white button mushrooms, portobellos (also spelled "portobella"), their younger sibling cremini (also sold as "baby bellas"), oyster and shiitake mushrooms. Exotic varieties like morels and chanterelles make their appearance when foragers are lucky enough to find them in the wild.

What You Get: All mushrooms contain nutrients like potassium, copper, niacin and selenium. Research suggests that white button mushrooms seem to have as many antioxidant properties as (and in some cases more than) other mushrooms.

Shopping Tip: Fresh mushrooms should be firm, with a fresh, smooth appearance.

Storage Tips: Keep mushrooms in their original container up to a week in the refrigerator. Once opened, mushrooms should be stored in a porous paper bag to prolong their shelf life. Do not store fresh mushrooms in airtight containers, which will cause condensation and speed up spoilage.

Never freeze fresh mushrooms.

Potatoes

Endlessly versatile, potatoes come in all sizes and textures. Stuff baked russets with vegetables and cheese for an easy crowd-pleasing supper or mash them with nonfat milk and garlic for a simple side. Turn boiled red-skinned potatoes into a creamy potato salad. Small, long, flavorful potatoes called fingerlings make an elegant side when simply steamed and tossed with fresh herbs.

What You Get: Rich in carbohydrate, vitamin C and potassium, the potato often gets a bad rap. However, potatoes offer some fiber, especially when eaten with the skin on, and have a place in a healthful eating plan.

Shopping Tips: Potatoes are classified by the texture of their flesh:

Waxy potatoes, such as red skins and fingerlings, have moist, dense flesh and keep their shape when cooked, so choose them for salads and soups.

Floury potatoes (also called baking potatoes), such as russets, have drier, starchier flesh, perfect for baking and mashing.

All-purpose potatoes, such as white and Yukon Gold potatoes, are in between waxy and floury potatoes, so they function well in most applications.

Look for firm potatoes that are free of soft spots. Avoid potatoes that have begun to sprout—they have been stored too long.

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