Medically Reviewed by Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on September 09, 2020

Autumn Harvest

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Cranberries and gourds have had a nice run, but it’s time for them to share the spotlight with some other fall fruits and veggies. You may have to look outside your local grocery store for a few of them, but they’re worth the trip off the beaten path. 

Persimmons

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These tree fruits came to California via China and Japan in the 19th century. Most are best eaten when they’re still crispy. But one kind called hachiya, grown mostly in Japan, is meant to be eaten only after the flesh gets soft as jelly.

Fennel

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You can use the leaves as an herb -- the aroma and taste are like licorice without the sweetness. And you can roast the roots, or “bulbs,” with other root vegetables -- turnips, carrots, rutabaga, parsnips -- for a perfect fall side dish.

Endive

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Though often yellow, white, or purple in color, it’s one of the great variety of peppery salad “greens” harvested in the fall. That’s when they begin to soften and sweeten. Slightly bitter, with a refreshing crunch, one kind of endive has leaves that are perfect to use as edible serving spoons for appetizers.

Huckleberries

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They look like blueberries, but they're rarer and sweeter. The most sought-after ones grow in the moist environment of the Pacific Northwest. If you’re picking them yourself, remember they’re also a favorite of bears.

Quince

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This fruit is often used in jellies and jams, including membrillo, a very thick jam the Spanish eat with cheese. Quinces are related to apples and pears but better able to survive extremes of temperature and drought.

Brussels Sprouts

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Also known as “the vegetable you used to hate,” Brussels sprouts got a makeover when American chefs started roasting them to a delicious crisp with olive oil or pan-frying them with caramelized onions. Now they have a new taste and a new stylish image to match.

Rutabaga

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This sweet, nutty root vegetable is best harvested in the fall and is great to bake together with fennel and turnips for a delicious fall and winter side dish.

Japanese Sweet Potatoes

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Also known as oriental potatoes, these have a yellow-white flesh and purple skin, unlike their more traditional bright-orange cousins. They’re also sweet, but they have a unique flavor and are packed with healthy vitamins and nutrients. In Japan, they’re used to make liquor as well.

Jujube

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This unusual fruit grows on trees and may be eaten fresh, in early fall, just as it turns from green to brown. It also dries on the tree without any outside help. The result is a hardier form of the fruit that lasts much longer and has a flavor similar to dates, though not as sweet.

Pomegranates

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The beautiful ruby red seeds of this fruit are delicious on their own, on top of a salad, or mixed with yogurt. They’re also used in Persian cooking to make sauces, syrups, and spectacular savory stews.

Asian Pear

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Firm and crisp like an apple, this fruit has a pleasant, sweet flavor. It’s delicious on its own or with some yogurt and is a great addition to salads as well. With careful handling, it can have a long shelf life.

Grapes

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The traditional fall harvest of grapes is cause for celebration for winemakers across the globe. But, of course, grapes are good to eat fresh as well -- on their own or added to dishes. Along with walnuts, they can liven up traditional chicken salad.

Pumpkin

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More than a Halloween decoration, this gourd can be healthy and delicious. And not just in pie, either -- it can be pureed for soup, roasted for a side dish, and even made into a milkshake.

Shallots

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Like leeks, onions, and garlic, shallots are praised for their mild, sweet flavor, especially when cooked. Try them in recipes in place of onions, or raw in salads and marinades.

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