Once the fall season rolls around, everyone starts to gush about pumpkin. Pumpkin this. Pumpkin that. Hashtag #PSL!
Sure, pumpkins may be worthy of their fame—they’re the mascot of Halloween, a crucial part of fall decor and eats, and actually ridiculously healthy—but they’re totally stealing the other in-season produces’ thunder.
There are tons of other delicious and nutritious fall fruits and vegetables that are living in pumpkin’s shadow—and they’re ready to speak up. Why should pumpkin get all the love? (This may or may not have been written by said envious fruits and veggies.)
If you’re ready to diversify your fall produce selection, stock up on these eats next time you hit the market:
1. Pomegranates. These juicy, magenta fruits are high in vitamins A and K, potassium, and folate. You eat the seeds, which can be messy, but it’s totally worth it (just don’t get it on your clothes). Check out this easy way to deseed a pomegranate.
How to choose: Pick poms that are plump, round, and heavy for their size.
Speaking of poms, er, we mean palms …
2. Hearts of palm. These palm tree innards may look plain, but they boast a mild, delicious, and addictive sweetness. They’re great to eat alone, or as an addition to soups, sauces, or salads. Hearts of palm are low in fat and a great source of iron, zinc, and vitamins B and C. Try this vegan "crab" cake recipe that uses hearts of palm as a secret ingredient.
How to choose: Select moist, unblemished stalks. Avoid stalks that are too soft.
3. Sweet potatoes. These versatile taters can be made into fries or tossed in a stew or casserole. They’re fat-free and full of fiber, vitamins A and C, and potassium.
How to choose:Pick firm, small- to medium-sized potatoes with a smooth surface.
4. Cactus pear. Also called a prickly pair, you’ll find these fruits atop a cactus plant. Don’t be fooled by their desert-esque outer shell, because on the inside, they’re sweet and juicy. Cactus pears are packed with vitamin C, magnesium and fiber.
How to choose: Find pears that are firm, free of dark spots, and have a bright magenta flesh.
5. Butternut squash. Butternut squash is pumpkin’s cousin—and it’s aching for some love. Next time you’re thinking of using pumpkin in your dish, try swapping it with this yummy fat-free and fiberful squash instead. Find out how to make creamy butternut squash here.
How to choose: Select a squash that feels heavy for its size.
6. Brussels sprouts. Loathed by kids, loved by adults, these cabbage look-a-likes are low in calories and high in fiber and folate. Roast ‘em, saute ‘em, or steam ‘em and add this healthy veggie to any dish. Heck, you can even make them into brussels sprout chips.
How to choose: Pick firm, compact, bright green heads, and buy on the stalk when possible.
Pumpkin, we still love you … but it takes a lot more to fill our cornucopia.