Top 5 Fall Flavors
Fall happens to be my favorite season. I love everything about it from the crisp air, to the falling leaves, but my very favorite part of fall is all of the new flavors and recipes that come back into play as the season unfolds.
Possibly the first fruits of fall we notice are the apples. Here in Washington we have so many varieties of organic and locally grown apples at our fingertips that it can be hard to decide even which one to choose. I find it handy to have three familiar apples in my knowledge bank, each for its own purpose and then you will always know just what to pick up at your local market or roadside stand.
- Honeycrisp – These large beauties are my favorite apple for eating. They are perfect for dipping in freshly ground peanut butter but are also flavorful enough to enjoy on their own.
- Jonagold – These are my strong go-to cooking apples. My Grandmother swears by these for her apple pies and I would have to concur with her findings. They hold up well in baking and produce a very lovely flavor that blends well with the spices most commonly used in recipes.
- Gravenstein – I know there are a lot of opinions out there as to which apple is the best for saucing. If you already know of one that works for you that’s great. The one I love though is the Gravenstein. They tend to be a bit pricey, but they are by far worth their weight in gold. So if you are looking for an apple to sauce let this be your go-to.
I know fungus can be a tricky ingredient. Some people avoid it as a principle while others have an aversion to the texture. I find that mushrooms, like anything else, with the proper technique and the right ingredients can be extremely delectable.
Golden Chanterelles happen to be my favorite. They have a nice texture that they are able to hold through most any cooking process and they have a very mild almost fruity flavor all on their own without any help from other ingredients.
However your common button or grocery store variety mushroom can be very easily enjoyed as well. Though opt for the brown version, the cremini mushroom, which has a bit more flavor.
Squash in any form is how I like it, if you were to ask. Again I feel as if newcomers to squash can be easily overwhelmed by the variety and the choices that can be at hand. One of the reasons that squash is so great is simply because it can be stored in your cold garage or outside shed very easily if they can remain dry. This gives you the opportunity to stock up when you find your favorite type or when it’s on sale.
My three favorite types, all for their own reason-
- Butternut– This squash cut into chunks is perfect for roasting. It is as simple as tossing it with olive oil and kosher salt and popping it into the oven at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes and you’ve got yourself a crowd pleasing side dish the is also very healthy and packed with nutrients.
- Acorn– Everyone’s Grandma loves this dish. However the recipes out there for acorn squash have evolved. Our family loves to treat it like you would a twice baked potato. Pre-bake them and mix the innards with some meat, rice and cheese and you have yourself a one dish meal that is sure to fill everyone’s stomach.
- Delicata– Some are claiming that Delicata is now the frontrunner over the Butternut. I think they both have their place in the world of cooking. The Delicata however has a bit of a richer flavor than Butternut and where they really win is they are extremely easy to prepare. You can simply slice them up with the skin still on, scoop out the seeds, sprinkle them with herbs, salt, and olive oil and roast them until tender.
Can we talk about these sweet little root vegetables? I feel as if Parsnips are easily forgotten or maybe just overlooked as we make our way past them to their orange friends the carrot. Parsnips taste like the season in which they are grown. With very little preparation and/or added ingredients their flavor cannot be compared to any other vegetable that fall has to offer. Again roasting seems to be a typical preparation for fall flavors, but they’re also delicious in soup. They pack a lovely flavor that’s both nutty and spicy, which makes a great base for a very tasty soup.
What an enjoyable flavor leeks provide. I love an ingredient that can stand by itself but also work wonderfully as a team player. Leeks are in the same family as onions or garlic. This makes them interchangeable if you are willing to try. Perfect for soups, stuffing, salad dressings, sauces, pasta or my favorite risotto. They are also quite lovely all on their own, braised, roasted or sautéed and are packed with sweet caramelized flavor that makes for a lovely accompaniment to fish, chicken or even a sausage dish.
You really can’t go wrong with any of the flavors that fall has to offer. So as I always say never be afraid to try something new, you may just find your new favorite food by picking up something that looks strange or different.
Jessica Jager is an in Home Chef and Caterer and owner of The Angry Blueberry. Wife and mom to two sweet kids and a husband that complains very little about the amount of veggies she makes them eat. Jessica loves food, loves to eat it, teach and talk about it!