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10 Fresh Veggies and Fruits to Pick Up at the Farmers Market This October

10 Ripe-Right-Now October Fruits and Veggies

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October brings with it the late fall bounty, which includes a wide spectrum of orange vegetables. These orange-hued beauties are brimming with the antioxidant beta-carotene, which help protect the cells—lots of people don’t get enough of this vitamin, which also helps build healthy skin, bones, and eyes.

You’ll also find green vegetables in the mix, which provide vitamin C, potassium, and lutein (an antioxidant that helps with eye health). As we move towards the colder weather, you’ll see even more hearty green veggies coming into season. Now’s the time to drop by your local market, pick up these mouthwatering fruits and veggies, and get cooking!

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Butternut Squash

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This popular squash has a long neck and round base. The outside skin is a tan color, with a bright orange flesh in the inside. Butternut is much sweeter than winter squash, like acorn. Just puree into a soup, use in stew, top over a green salad, or add to mac and cheese.

Shopping tip: Choose butternut squash that is heavy for its size with no cracks or soft spots. Store in a cool, dry place for up to several months. (Psst... This Butternut Squash Soup is delish.)

Photo: Corbis Images

October Apples

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Some of the varieties available in October include Ginger Gold, Rome, and Crispin. Ginger Gold is an Eastern apple that is greenish-gold in color with a sweet-tart flavor, perfect for snacking and to add to salads. Rome apples are mildly tart and are primarily used for cooking, like in sauces, pies, and baked goods. Crispin apples are green-yellow in color with a sweet flavor. They’re wonderful to snack on or to bake into pies.

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Sugar Pumpkin

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Those huge Jack-o'-Lantern pumpkins are good for carving but aren’t known for their flavor. Your best bet is to pick up a few sugar pumpkins at your local farmers market—these smaller-sized pumpkins are what you make pumpkin puree from. Fresh pumpkins are brimming with fiber and antioxidant vitamins A and E. They also contain minerals like iron and potassium and the plant chemical lutein, which helps reduce the risk of vision loss as you age (known as macular degeneration). (Try one of these 10 Delicious Ways to Cook with Pumpkin.)

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Brussels Sprouts

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Brussels sprouts are part of the cruciferous vegetable family (AKA cabbage family), which has been shown to help prevent cancer. If you head to the farmers market, you can see how these babies grow on a single two- or three-foot stalk (it’s pretty cool!). Sauté in olive oil with a touch of salt, roast or grill. They taste fantastic with rich meats like ham or duck.

Swiss Chard

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This leafy green is part of the beet family, but it doesn’t produce an edible bulb. It has crinkly leaves and a shiny silver stalk, all which are edible.

One cup of cooked Swiss chard provides 35 calories, 4 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein. It has over 700-percent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin K and over 200 times of vitamin A. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C, iron, potassium, and magnesium—plus, it contains the plant chemical lutein. Talk about a nutrient-packed veggie!

Sweet Potatoes

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Fun fact: These tubers are not part of the same family as potatoes, rather they’re in the same plant family as the morning glory flower. They're not the same as yams, either, which are starchier and not as sweet.

One medium baked sweet potato contains about 105 calories, 24 grams of carbohydrates, and 4 grams of fiber. It also has over 400 percent of the recommended daily dose of the antioxidant beta-carotene and is a good source of vitamin C and potassium. (Use 'em in one of these 10 Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes.)

Oregano

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Although you probably have a jar in your spice rack, it’s quite different than the pungent green fresh herb that’s now available at the farmers market. This relative of mint has oval-shaped leaves and a mild piney flavor. Fresh oregano is brimming with fiber, vitamins K and B6, niacin, and folate. It's also filled with antioxidants, including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

Storage tip: Store fresh oregano wrapped in a plastic bag in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to five days.

Photo: Corbis Images

Celery

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This veggie belongs to the same family as fennel, parsley, and carrots. It was first cultivated in the Mediterranean region around 3,000 years ago. It's a good source of vitamin A and contains lesser amounts of vitamin C, thiamin, and riboflavin. You can also eat the leaves, which are nutrient-packed and a great substitute for parsley.

Photo: Corbis Images

Pomegranate

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Most pomegranates available in October and November come from California’s San Joaquin Valley. You’re probably most familiar with the Wonderful variety, but other popular varieties include Grenada, Early Wonderful, and Early Foothill. The beautifully hued seeds are packed with vitamins like C and K, minerals like potassium, and phytochemicals called polyphenols, which have been linked to heart disease and cancer prevention. Slicing it takes a lot of practice, but is well worth it!

Photo: Corbis Images

Acorn Squash

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This round squash has a pointed end that resembles an acorn. The skin is dark green with a flavorful and nutty yellow flesh. They are amazing sliced into rings and drizzled with a touch of brown sugar and maple syrup, pureed into soup, roasted and sliced in cubes over a salad, or stuffed with a whole grain mixture (especially if it has raisins!).

Storage tip: Because the squash has a sturdy exterior, it can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to one month.

Photo: Corbis Images

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