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The 10 Healthiest Fruits and Veggies That are In Season Right Now for Your Fall Table (Plus 4 Delicious Autumn Recipes!)


If you walk into your local grocery store, you’ll have at your fingertips an array of fruits and veggies -- some in season and some not. While the variety that modern agriculture offers us is impressive, there are some major benefits to choosing those that are naturally ripe and ready at this time of year, and better still from picking them up at your local farmer’s market instead of your supermarket.

farmer's market

As the weather turns crisp, there’s still time to head to your favorite farmer’s market to pick up some fall favorites.

In-season produce, particularly that you buy from a local grower, will be the freshest around. In fact, when produce is picked out of season it is often picked immature so it won’t spoil in transit. This can degrade the nutrients in your food as well as affect the quality and taste.

Choosing in-season produce from a local grower also means you’re not contributing to the pollution that is caused by transporting produce over thousands of miles. And, perhaps most importantly, buying in season gets you back in touch with the way things used to be, when people feasted on the flavors of the season, flavors that were bounded by the natural cyclical cycle of the Earth’s four seasons.

Now that autumn is upon us in the United States, there’s plenty to feast on and celebrate the season. And the fruits and veggies that follow are among the healthiest for you and your family, too.

1. Artichokes

Artichokes are an excellent source of fiber, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium, but it is their phytonutrient content that really makes them shine.


A study published in the July 2006 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that artichokes ranked fourth in antioxidant content out of over 100 tested foods.

Artichokes were found to contain more antioxidants per serving than blueberries, raspberries, spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes and a host of other fruits and vegetables (only blackberries, walnuts and strawberries had more).

The phytonutrients (compounds in plants that have antioxidant properties) in artichokes are known to:

  • Help prevent cancer

  • Help slow the signs of aging

  • Keep your heart healthy

  • Boost your immune system

  • Lower your cholesterol


2. Beets

Beets are high in sugar (they have the highest sugar content of all vegetables), but they're low in calories and rich in powerful nutrients.

Betacyanin, the compound that gives beets their color, has potent cancer-fighting properties and they contain fiber that may help reduce the risk of heart disease.

brussels sprouts

3. Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts are a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables (along with broccoli, kale, turnips, Bok choy, cauliflower and more), which are widely known for their potent cancer-fighting compounds, which help detoxify carcinogens in the body and may prevent healthy cells from morphing into cancerous ones.

There are at least a dozen compounds in Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables that have peaked scientists' interest, including sulforaphane, which triggers the liver to produce enzymes that detoxify cancer-causing chemicals, inhibits chemically-induced breast cancers in animal studies, and induces colon cancer cells to commit suicide, according to The World's Healthiest Foods.

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4. Pomegranates

Pomegranates, and their juice, are a rich source of antioxidants. Pomegranate juice may contain close to three times the antioxidants as green tea or red wine! They may also protect your heart.

A study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that pomegranate juice combats hardening of the arteries and related diseases like heart attacks and strokes. It seems to limit the genetic tendency toward hardening of the arteries.

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5. Squash

Squash (and other orange fruits and veggies) contain naturally occurring pigments called carotenoids. Carotenoids, which include beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and more, are powerful antioxidants that help protect your body from damaging free radicals. Further, they:

  • May help to prevent cancer

  • Play a role in anti-aging

  • Enhance the function of your immune system

  • Promote proper cell communication, which may help prevent cancer

  • Help support your reproductive system


6. Leeks

Leeks are in the same family as garlic and onions, and have many of the same healthy benefits. They've been found to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol while raising good (HDL) cholesterol, fight against cancer, including prostate and colon cancers, and stabilize blood sugar levels.


7. Pears

Pears contain antioxidants that help protect the body from free radical damage, help promote heart and colon health, and protect against macular degeneration. Interestingly, they're also thought of as a hypoallergenic fruit (one that's not likely to cause an allergic reaction) and are often recommended as the first fruit to give to infants.


8. Pumpkins

Pumpkins belong to the winter squash family, along with seasonal favorites like butternut squash, acorn squash, hubbard squash and turban squash.

They're rich in a variety of nutrients including vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin C, potassium, fiber, manganese, folate, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin B6, niacin-vitamin B3 and pantothenic acid.

All of these nutrients pack a major nutritional punch, which is why pumpkin offers the following health benefits:

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  • Anti-cancer type effects, such as an ability to prevent cell mutations

  • Helps to reduce symptoms of a condition called benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH, in men

  • Reduces your risk of lung cancer because it contains beta-cryptoxanthin, an orange-red carotenoid that promotes lung health

Out of the numerous pumpkin varieties, the sugar pumpkin (aka pie pumpkin) has the most flesh and the sweetest taste, making it the ideal variety for cooking.

Pumpkin can be used like any other squash -- baked, boiled, roasted, mashed, or added to soups and stews.


9. Apples

Apples are a traditional fall favorite, and one of the healthiest, too. They're loaded with powerful antioxidants, including quercetin, catechin, phloridzin and chlorogenic acid, protect against breast and colon cancers, prevent kidney stones, and help to lower bad cholesterol while raising the good kind. Studies have also found that eating at least two apples a week reduces the risk of asthma and type 2 diabetes, and promotes lung health.


10. Mushrooms

Neither vegetable nor fruit, the mushroom is a fungus -- an organism that grows without seeds, leaves, flower or even roots. About 50 species of the 38,000 in all are medicinal varieties. These nutritional powerhouses have been found to:

  • Protect heart health

  • Lower the risk of cancer

  • Boost immune function

  • Reduce high cholesterol

  • Fight off viruses, bacteria and fungi

  • Reduce inflammation

  • Combat allergies

  • Help balance blood sugar levels

  • Support the body's detoxification mechanisms

  • Help fight blood clots

And Now for the Recipes!

Get into the full flavor of the season with these healthy and delicious recipes perfect for your fall table!

Spicy Pumpkin Bisque


  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried ground small red chilies such as Piquins

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine

  • 1 16-ounce can pumpkin puree

  • 4 cups chicken stock

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

  • 1 cup half-and-half or light cream

  • 1/4 cup dry sherry

  • grated nutmeg


  1. Sauté the onion and garlic in the butter until they are soft and transparent.

  2. Add the pumpkin, stock, Chile pepper, ground pepper, allspice, sugar, and sherry.

  3. Bring to a boil and cover.

  4. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes.

  5. Place the mixture in a blender and puree until smooth.

  6. Return the soup to the pot, add the half-and-half, and simmer until heated.

  7. Garnish with the nutmeg and serve either hot or cold.

Recipe from

Roasted Beets


  • 12 beets, peeled and halved or quartered

  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 4 scallions


  1. Preheat oven to 425° F.

  2. Place the beets on a large baking pan and toss with the oil, salt and pepper.

  3. Transfer to the oven and roast until tender and browned, about 1-1/2 hours.

  4. Add the butter and garnish with the scallions.

Recipe from

Leek Tart


  • One pre-baked 10-inch tart shell

  • 6 medium leeks, sliced in 1/4-inch rounds

  • 1/2 cup of heavy cream

  • 7 oz goat cheese, crumbled

  • 2 tablespoons of butter

  • 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a suitably sized frying pan with a lid, saute the leeks in the butter until wilted.

  2. Add the balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper; then cover and cook on low heat for 30 minutes or until the leeks are tender.

  3. Remove the lid and increase heat to medium-high; then add the heavy cream and cook, stirring, until cream is absorbed (takes around 1 minute).

  4. Remove the pan from heat and allow to cool slightly.

  5. Spread the goats cheese evenly over the bottom of the tart shell.

  6. Spoon the leek mixture over the cheese.

  7. Bake at 350∞F (175∞C) until heated through and browned on top.

Recipe from

Old-Fashioned Apple Bread


  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine

  • 1 cup brown sugar

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 2 cups peeled and diced apples, moistened with lemon juice

  • 1/3 cup chopped nuts

  • 1/2 cup chopped raisins or dates

  • 2 cups flour

  • 2 tsp. baking powder

  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk


  1. Cream together butter and sugar.

  2. Add beaten egg.

  3. Stir in fruit and nuts.

  4. Sift together dry ingredients and add alternately with milk.

  5. Place in a loaf pan; let stand for 10 minutes.

  6. Bake at 350 degrees F until cooked, about 1 hour.

  7. Serve plain or buttered.

Recipe from

Recommended Reading

Winter Squash: Four Major Reasons Why You May Want to Eat More of This Autumn Favorite

Pumpkins Aren't Just for Scary Faces: Pumpkin Nutrition, Uses, Recipe ... and Some Interesting Lore


The World's Healthiest Foods: Brussels Sprouts

National Geographic News

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