Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Fresh Fall Foods - Buying in Season

 This can be a money saver as well as other things we talk about.  Buying in season!!!!!!  There are many fruits and veggies that are now coming into season, prices are down a bit, and many will soon be cheaper than any other time of the year.  THIS is when to buy, prepare, and stock for another day.  Many can be frozen or canned and lots and lots of items will last months in a cool dark space.

Let's think about what all there is out there.  Apples, pears, persimmons, pumpkins, squashes (all types), broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, eggplant, greens, onions, turnips, parsnips, rutabaga...........
All come ready about fall. 

Winter squash and pumpkins can last months if properly stored, just as they are.  No need to process until ready to use.  That is easy!
Gardens are coming to an end now as well.  With threat of frost in many areas - PICK EVERYTHING and bring it in - no matter how small.  It can be used in some way.
Even those green tomatoes!  You can let them ripen inside.  You can slice and can or freeze for fried green tomatoes later.  I also like to chunk some and freeze in small bags to add to stir fry over the winter - it adds a nice, sweet taste!
Many farm markets are about to come to an end - in IN they stop pretty much at the end of Oct.  It is a great place to get these fresh items.  On the pumpkins - after Halloween, most places drastically discount all pumpkins (some give them away) - get them and use them up for the upcoming holidays or for the freezer.
Orchards are now in full swing.  Check them out - if nothing else it is a fun day looking around.
Even places like the regular groceries and Aldi are having many of these items on good sales already!

Article from Oct. 2007 newsletter
"It's pumpkin and squash time again.  I hear you all saying "Yuk".  Most people haven't even tried cooking with these items.
Pumpkins are one of the most nutritionally valued foods known to man. (It's not a vegetable, but a fruit.  Like most melons it's a member of the gourd family).  They are inexpensive, high in fiber, and low in calories.  They are available all year in can form, but fresh tastes much better.
Winter squash - low in calorie, fat free, cholesterol free, excellent source of Vitamin A, Beta-carotene, Potassium, Vitamin C and fiber.  Most have a sweet taste, or a mild nutty flavor.
There are many types to choose from - Acorn, Hubbard, Pumpkin, Butternut, and Spaghetti squash.
They last for quite a while in a cool dark place.  Give them a try this year.  I think you will pleasantly surprised."

You can use in hearty soups and stews.  They can be roasted.  Serve with whatever meat you prefer or over any number of rice types that are available, or over/with pasta or with beans/lentils.
Sautee, roast, fry - mixed or separate.  Add to soup, casseroles, quiches, stews.
Many pumpkin and squash recipes can be interchanged.  Use different types of squash vs. pumpkin in pies, breads, muffins, bread puddings, etc.  Carrots can also be cooked and mashed for breads and pies (they are good).  Potatoes can be fixed in a 100 ways!
You can chunk, slice, chop, julienne, any way you want.
Think baked apples - fried apples - sauce - pies - cobblers, etc.  You can use pears in any of those instead of apples!  Add apples and pears with the squash for a different flavor.
Most everything is inter-changeable.  It is a cornucopia of flavors mashups!!!!!!!

Oct. 2009
I use a 6-7 lb. pumpkin, halve, remove seeds and gunk, place hollow side down in a large baking pan lined with foil, and add a little water.  Bake uncovered 375 for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.  Scrape the pulp from the rind and blend with a dash of salt.  Freeze in 1 - 2 cup bags.  When ready to make pies - STRAIN thawed puree.  It's a lot of water.  Add the seasoning of your pie recipe and bake!"

Oct. 2009
"Boil seeds in water for about 5 minutes.  Drain and clean well.  Sprinkle with salt or seasoned salt.  Place in a thin layer on a parchment clad baking sheet.  Bake at 250 degrees for about 30 minutes.  Can bake 30 min. - 1 hour longer - if necessary - until crunchy.  Squash seeds can be used as well."

I hope everyone takes advantage of the seasonal harvests and foods that can be had now.  They are all so good for you and they can all be fixed in numerous ways.  It truly is a healthy way of eating and seasonal is cheaper than you may think.
as I said back in the day.  Give it a try this fall - you may be surprised!!!!!!!
Let's get jiggy with it!!!!!!  ENJOY those fresh fall foods and flavors!!!!!!!!


  1. What great timing, Cheryl!!! I was going through the AZ Safeway flier last night. The biggest deals are on produce for 99 cents each or 99 cents per lb., including all lettuce, all peppers, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, onions, celery, several types of apples, three kinds of pears, naval oranges, and more. Today is Senior Day with extra 10% off for over 60s, so that drops to 89 cents each or per lb. It's a good time to stock up!

    Thank you for all the great info here. I love seeing your newsletter articles and love all the tips. In another week there'll be sales on pumpkins and squash, and just after Halloween any leftover pumpkins will get even cheaper. I'm going to have to see if I can find my recipe for curried pumpkin soup. It really is delicious with some crusty bread. Have a wonderful Wednesday! --Elise

    1. Curried Pumpkin Soup (you can substitute carrots, too)
      --2 or 3 apples, peeled cored and chopped
      --2 tablespoons butter, oil or stored bacon fat
      --1 small onion, minced
      --2 or 3 yellow, orange or red bell peppers (you can use all 3), trimmed, seeded and chopped
      --1 stalk celery, chopped (optional)
      --4 cups pumpkin, cubed, or 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree (for carrot substitute, use 4 cups)
      --2 teaspoons curry powder (or less for milder flavor)
      --pinch of ground ginger + pinch of ground cumin
      --4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
      --1 cup water
      --Salt and pepper to taste
      In a large pot over medium heat, sauté all fruit/vegetables in butter, oil or bacon fat for 5 minutes; sprinkle with seasonings and sauté a few minutes more to incorporate all flavors. Add broth and water and bring to a steady boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10-15 minutes; the vegetables should be soft. Using a stick blender, puree right in the pot. This is a thick soup. Add salt and pepper if desired. Spoon into bowls and top with a dollop of sour cream (if desired). A bowl of this with some crusty bread or GF cornbread makes a full meal.

    2. P.S. To extend this for a crowd, simply let cool a few minutes once pureed and stir in 2 cups of milk or milk substitute. This does thin it some, but doesn't alter the flavor and makes a very creamy soup.

    3. Your soup recipe sounds very much like a soup I had a Caribbean was so good! I've copied and pasted it into a document for future reference. Unfortunately my son doesn't eat soup, but I suspect this would freeze well. Thanks for sharing!

    4. It does freeze well, Maebeme. Hubs isn't a big soup fan, but really likes this.

    5. Glad this hit just as the deals are sprouting forth!!!! You stock up gal You can chop and freeze so many things for future use. I would be all over that fruit - I just love fresh fruit.
      The soup sounds really good. Thanks for listing it!!!
      Happy shopping!

    6. Yes, there are still some deals to be had, especially on produce right now. Going over the various fliers, comparing prices, and factoring in gasoline costs (well over $ per gallon here now), it will be just WM and Safeway for deals this week. That's important to consider... how much gas will it burn to multi-store-shop: Basha's is a 20 minute drive from here in the opposite direction of the other stores. And that fruit at that price is an important savings. :-D

    7. Oops... well over $4 per gallon on gasoline here.

    8. Thank you for the recipe, Elise, it sounds so good, and I'm sure I could modify it a bit, (I can't do too many apples, even that kind of sugar can effect me). I bet you could do all kinds of squash and sweet potatoes too!

    9. Thank for the recipe, Elise. It looks delicious!

  2. We always eat seasonally and after all of the summer goodness I'm looking forward to the changes that Fall and Winter will bring. We do eat a lot of squash this time of year. It is so good and like you said, healthy. We had roasted patty pan squash last night and it was delicious.

    1. I really like a lot of different kinds of squash and they are so versatile in cooking. Roasted is a favorite. Some I like stuffed - just so many uses.
      Glad to hear you stick to the seasons. I am sure love the extended life I am getting from my tomato plants!!!! I will be so sad when they are all gone.

  3. We always eat seasonally and am sure happy that I do freeze a lot of the summer bounty from our garden, especially zucchini. Some of our favorite winter meals are cream of zucchini soup, carrot top soup, butternut squash soup, French crecy soup ( carrots and rice) We're still harvesting butternuts, chard, peppers and carrots. The crook neck pumpkins are just starting to come in at the farmers market. They're so yum and make great pies.
    It's been busy here getting ready for winter. Hubs has his Mohs surgery tomorrow, which will take place an hours drive from where we are. Living in a small rural town has its advantages and disadvantages which means we often have to go a distance for some medical care. Cookie

    1. Prayers for successful surgery!

    2. Good for you - smart Cookie!!!!! (pun intended)!!!!
      I absolutely love cream of zucchini soup - that has been a favorite for years. All your soups sound great. soup is just such an economical way to extend food - creamy or chunky - it is all good in my book.
      Hope the surgery goes well - prayers for a speed recovery.

    3. Thank you both for the prayers. They are greatly appreciated.

    4. Prayers for a good experience at the surgery, healing in Jesus name. Your zucchini soup sounds so good.

  4. I was amazed to see cauliflower on sale this past week at $2.99 a head. It's been $5.99 since way back in the spring of 2020! I bought myself a head and ate about a 1/3 fresh, blanched and packed the rest in bags for the freezer. I'll probably use it for cauliflower soup this winter.
    So far, not great deals on other produce, and our local is stupidly expensive. I can double the price of the supermarkets prices at least.

    1. That is a good price for cauliflower. Last time I went to the store I noticed the price was decreasing some.
      Some farm markets here charge more too - but usually because it is sooooo fresh (just picked) and organic.
      Hopefully you see deals in the next couple of weeks.

  5. Just checked the weekly flier for Basha's (AZ) online, and WOW!! It's Senior Day there (10% off), too, so I'll send Hubs out for a few great deals:
    --With digital offer, pork country style ribs are 77 cents lb., limit 2 value packs
    --BOGO (free) fresh raspberries or strawberries
    --Italian, yellow or gray squash and green beans, 98 cents lb.
    --2/$1 yellow onions
    --2/$5 5 lb. bags of potatoes
    --2/$5 2 lb. bags of mandarins (Hubs loves them)
    --With digital coupon, Foster Farms 2.5 lb. bags of Party Chicken Wings (frozen) for $3.99 ea., usually $10.99 ea., limit of 2 bags
    Not sure we'll get that last one, but they're great for holiday treats. He'll run by WM, too, for a few things we need that are always cheaper there. --Elise

    1. We don't have that here - but great pricing. I am glad you showed this - as it is encouraging to others that YES - good prices can still be had and people can still afford to buy decent food! Thanks.
      One just needs to pay attention.

    2. Yes, Cheryl. See my response above.

    3. Hubs loves those mandarins too, but the season is very short here. Cookie

  6. Over the years people have gotten away from eating in season. There is nothing worse than a mid-winter tomato from the grocery. Squash is very versatile and you mention many of the ways to prepare it. I bought a delicata at Meijer and those are so good. We may try to grow them again next year. The farm where I grew up had two large persimmon trees. I remember helping my mom run the pulp through the colander and freezing it. Beasley's at Danville always has frozen persimmon pulp.

    We harvested our sweet potatoes from the raised bed and I noticed as I walked across the yard some distance from the bed that sweet potato vines are blooming in the grass. Needless to say we won't grow that variety again. Invasive like kudzu. Need to collect up some grow-ceries before it turns really cool. Going to miss shopping in the backyard.

    The boys Jacob and Riley turned 12 yesterday. Despite their health problems they act like puppies when I let them out in the morning.

    Having leftover barbeque brisket pizza for lunch. It was so good. May add a salad to it.

    This is the time of year when the girls were in marching band and we would go to different schools for competition on the weekends. Fond memories of lovely fall days. Enjoy this one, my friend!

    1. Mom always made persimmon pudding. We would drive to the country and find them everywhere. Mom would put them up for the winter. Paw-paws as well! Fun memories.
      Store tomatoes are like eating plastic. The only kind I get in the winter are maybe cherry tomatoes or the on-the-vine ones.
      Sounds like the sweet potatoes really spread and grew well!
      Ahhh - how sweet on Jacob and Riley! It was a lovely morning. That brisket sounds so good.

    2. Persimmon pudding sounds so good, Cheryl, I've never heard of that but I remember my German grandfather picking those from his tree.

    3. Donna, yes, I was in the marching band and my freshman year I do have a fond memory of a beautiful fall afternoon evening when we had practice, riding in the back of a pickup with some really nice kids across our practice field at school.

  7. We got over an inch of glorious rain overnight! I am thrilled. Our water bill has been a humdinger all summer so this is a relief. We can avoid watering until the 11th.

    We weren't really seasonal eaters in Cali, but we definitely are here. When I saw a grapefruit for 1.79, I was sold really quick! We're enjoying apples and pears right now. I was disappointed that the apples were mealy this week. They must be old. Last week they were crisp and crunchy. We'll wait a little longer for the Cuties.

    The biggest change I hope to make this year is to keep the menus consistent rather than so much variety. It should be cheaper and easier. I got to dreading the weekly menu and trying to pep it up. Nope. No more. I'm going back to the old "wife working" menu from the 90s. Designated nights for certain things. I remember a coworker asking me one Monday, "Tuna melts and pasta salad tonight?". Yup!! She said she wished her husband would allow that, that she was too tired to make a full meal. I used to prep what I could in the morning so I could get dinner on the table in 10 minutes. For some insane reason, I got the idea that I had to step it up when I quit working. What an idiot lol!! I hope to see time and money savings from this approach.

    Btw, what type of gravy tastes good with pork loin? I don't have the drippings anymore.

    1. So happy you got rain!!!!! That is wonderful. I think we are due some tomorrow and cooler temps follow.
      That really is a smart way to cook. You know exactly what you need and don't have a lot of extra things going to waste. You can stock up when prices are good on the items you use.
      I have purchased pork gravy in jars - not bad - needs some doctoring.
      I guess it depends on what the gravy is going over. If on the pork - hmmmmm. Over potatoes or biscuits - just good old country white gravy would be good.

    2. Debby, as I can work a little at a time in the kitchen again--I prepped last night's dinner for Hubs to cook--I'll be falling back on old routines, too. It makes sense, and maybe cents, too! Like you, I had a rough rotation of meals that were relatively fast and easy to prepare + standard recipes using leftover of whatever.

      Many here may shudder, but Dollar General, Family Dollar and WM sell packets of brown gravy mix that I keep on hand in the pantry. At $1 per packet (or less if there's sale), it's le$$ than bottled or canned gravy and almost as quick.

    3. Debbie -- I just a saute a bit of onion in some butter and add flour to make a roux. When the roux is slightly tan I add a bit of chicken broth and/or milk.(we use non-dairy milk so any milk will do.) I add in garlic and onion powder, salt and sage or poultry seasoning. If I have mushrooms I might add those too. I add the liquid slowly to the roux and cook until thick. For the two of us I just use 2 Tbsp of butter, 1 to 2 Tbsp of flour (I use gluten free), a couple of Tbsp of chopped onion. About a cup or a little more of liquid and season to taste. Freezes well if you find yourself with leftovers. Cookie

  8. I just stopped at the farm stand last week, and have to be in Michigan again on Friday, so will stop again. I absolutely love butternut squash soup and stuffed acorn squash. Butternut is also good baked, but I pefer the texture if it is chopped and sauteed or in soup. With acorns, I will bake them in about 1" of water for about a half hour, then flip them cut side up and fill with a brown sugar and nut mix, or perhaps with an apple, nut, brown sugar, and stuffing mix, or even with a sausage stuffing mix for a ready to eat all-in-one meal. Pumpkin is great for making pies and breads. My daughter makes a mean chocolate chip pumpkin loaf, but won't share the recipe, since it's her favorite thing to contribute to a pot-luck dinner. Squash, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes can also be given to the pups, just make sure it's plain only and there are no seasonings added to it. Grams and my mom would always have a crate of hard squash and pie pumpkins in the garage with a piece of burlap over it. They kept well into the Spring. I'll keep 6 butternut and 6 acorns in mine and will savor them throughout the winter. Also, there is apparently a new variety of mini butternut that one of my farmstands has been growing this year. Great for single-serve (if you're hungry) or for 2 meals. Their skin seems a litle thinner than regular butternut, so not sure about long-term storage, but I'm going to add 2-3 more to my winter garage bin and see how they hold up. The price on them has been right (2/$1 the last time), so it's time to stock up now, rather than wait to buy at the grocery store mid-winter and pay through the nose per pound.

    1. Yay for the farm stand. Very smart. I like stuffed acorn squash as well. I have a couple different ways of fixing it - one kind of sweet and one savory.

      I will be on the lookout for the new type squash. I keep sever acorn and butternut in the basement when I find a good deal.
      yes, not only are these all good for humans but for the puppers as well!
      Thanks for the ideas.

  9. Cheryl, Yes, Aldi has bags of apples for 2.49 and a bag of beautiful pears for 2.80 something. Hubs brought three bags of apples and a bag of pears in this afternoon. His Italian grandma used to make pear pie, it was good too. He eats a lot of apples, they are always used up! : )

    The photo of the dish with dark greens looks so yummy! The other one looks good too...I do brussell sprouts from time to time in butter. What a cheerful blog with the pretty fall dishes.

    Tonight I'm doing a big pan of red potatoes halved and quartered in ghee (clarified butter) with garlic powder, pepper and some nutritional yeast sprinkled lightly on top. I'm going to slice a fresh cauliflower into "steaks" unless it falls apart, then it will be nuggets. ; ) Will *probably* put a small pot of kale, (frozen bag) on and maybe a little pot of beans doctored up with garlic powder, butter or olive oil, nutritional yeast to flavor it a bit too.

    Enjoying reading all of the comments for ideas! I'm just hanging out drinking my afternoon half caff here, will go work on a fall skirt to clear my mind a bit. : )

    Have a good one, ~Amelia

    1. Don't you just love nutritional yeast? It adds so much flavor and value to food. Your potatoes sound heavenly. I like cauliflower or cabbage steaks - just so stinking good. So many ways to fish fruits and veggies. Fall foods always look so pretty!!! I guess the colors.
      I haven't looked at an Aldi ad yet this week. Don't get there often - but always get some good deals.
      Have fun sewing.

  10. I have all our green tomatoes in now and as they ripen I put them on my counter. Today I had enough to make condensed tomato soup for the winter. Five meals are now in the freezer and I will check what I can do with the remaining ones later.
    Pumpkins are picked and after our Thanksgiving I plan on processing those as well. Some will be made into puree, some saved to be used later (may grate them and try something different with raw frozen pumpkin).

    God bless.

    1. I keep forgetting your Thanksgiving is different than ours - sooner! Tomato soup sounds good - my brother makes a lot of canned soup and juice. It always tastes so yummy.
      There are just a lot of options of things we can do - I love that.

  11. I love to shop at local farms and get seasonal produce. I was really surprised how reasonable the winter squashes were at the farm at my corner. They were $1 each. I got a butternut, spaghetti squash and an acorn squash for $3 - Never expected that !!

    1. That is wonderful!!!!! A couple years ago I ran into a deal like that - but it has been a while. I just love when people show that it is still possible to find a bargain. Those will taste so good all cooked up!

  12. There are spaghetti squashes in the cold room that will last for awhile. I plan to cook some with tomatoes as they ripen. I've been enjoying roasted beets & carrots of late. So delicious. I need to be more mindful of good sales & process for storing, i.e. cauliflower & broccoli on sale.

    1. Spaghetti squash is very tasty in my book. Some don't like it - but I think it is good.
      That sounds hearty and yummy. I just love all the veggies of fall and winter! They feel like 'home'.