The air is becoming crisp, the leaves have begun turning an array of golden hues, and boots and scarves will soon be replacing flip-flops and sunscreen as the accessories of the moment. That only means one thing: fall is upon us! And along with a drop in temperatures and an increase in clothing layers comes scrumptious fall produce. Stock your kitchen—or cornucopia—with the following fall food superstars:
Apples: The fall harvest abounds with fresh, crisp apples. One of the great things about apples is that after they are washed, they’re ready to be eaten. Plus, apples are so versatile. Munch on them as a snack between meals, chop them up and throw them into a salad or bowl of oatmeal, bake them into a classic pie, or do all the above!
Pumpkins: They’re not just for carving! This tasty member of the squash family packs a hefty punch of beta carotene and potassium. Try a pumpkin risotto or warm up with this vegan pumpkin chili. Fresh pumpkins are delish, but you can still reap the nutritional benefits (and yummy-ness) with canned pumpkin, which is quick and affordable and can be found at almost any supermarket this time of year. You can even get your pooch into the fall spirit with homemade Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats.
Beets: Whether they’re bright purple, golden orange, or the red-and-white striped Chioggia variety, beets are loaded with folic acid, which can help prevent heart disease and certain types of cancer. Roast the beets (learn how here) and store them in the fridge to toss with salads, such as this Roasted Beet, Avocado, and Watercress Salad. Bonus—the beet greens can be eaten (used in a similar way as spinach) and are a good source of calcium and chlorophyll. Try sautéing the greens with a little olive oil and garlic.
Sweet Potatoes: A fixture on Thanksgiving tables across the country, this root vegetable is actually a distant relative of the traditional potato. Sweet potatoes are a rich source of vitamins A and C, dietary fiber, and antioxidants. Check out this Orange-Scented Sweet Potato and Fruit Gratin for an elegant side dish, or make sweet potato fries anytime as a healthier alternative to regular fries.
The following article was written by PETA Celebrity Marketing Coordinator Lauren Gordon and originally appeared on PETA.org.