Posts Tagged ‘fall produce’

If you’re anything like me, you love the Fall because that time of year means pumpkin everything! I can’t get enough it, but, each year as new pumpkin treats have been released, I have tried to get my pumpkin fix in healthier ways, with a splurge here or there, of course. Some of my go-to’s are Icelandic pumpkin spice yogurt and making protein balls and overnight oats with pumpkin spice peanut butter and canned pumpkin. There are so many ways to enjoy pumpkin for the whole season!


Pumpkins are already a Fall staple for most people in many ways, from pumpkin pie and pumpkin spice lattes to carving pumpkins to make Jack-O-Lanterns for Halloween. Pumpkins are extremely versatile. Most of us are probably already quite familiar with pumpkin’s use in sweet treats, but it can be also be the star of many savory dishes. Pumpkin can be great in soups, pasta, and even enchiladas or quesadillas. Give a savory pumpkin recipe a try, and check out this recipe for a hearty turkey pumpkin chili sure to warm you up on any Fall night!

Getting creative with pumpkin recipes this Fall is a great idea because pumpkins are packed with nutrients. They are full of vitamin A, hence their orange hue, as well as vitamin C. Pumpkins also provide 3g of fiber per 1/2 cup of cooked pumpkin, along with a good amount of potassium in each serving. They are also fat free, cholesterol free, and sodium free. So how do you pick the perfect pumpkin? You want to select a pumpkin that is firm, without any major cuts or blemishes, and heavy for its size. If you are looking for a carving pumpkin, be sure to find one with a smooth, blemish free face and sturdy stem.

Don’t forget about the seeds, though! Pumpkin seeds are high in protein and fiber, as well as some heart healthy fats. When you go to carve a pumpkin for Halloween, don’t be so quick to toss your seeds! Roasting pumpkin seeds is both an easy and tasty activity. The first part of carving a pumpkin is to open the top and clear out the seeds from the inside. Instead of continuing the pumpkin carving right away, take a quick break and bring your seeds to the kitchen. core-2728867_1920Place your seeds onto a large sheet pan, and don’t worry about rinsing any of the pumpkin juices off of the seeds; that will add some extra earthy flavor. Toss the seeds with a little olive oil and your favorite spices. My family is partial to either simple salt and pepper or cajun seasoning. Then, just pop the pan into the oven and let the seeds roast while you finish carving your pumpkin! Take them out of the oven once they have become golden brown, and you can stir them occasionally to ensure even roasting. Enjoy!

With Halloween around the corner, there are plenty of ways to use pumpkin to make healthy treats for the kids that everyone in the family will love. Check out some fun pumpkin recipes on eatright.org, pumpkin smoothie, and chocolaty pumpkin bars. What are some of your favorite uses for pumpkin?

Writer: Amy Meehan, Healthy People Program Specialist, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ross County.








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applesNext to football, my favorite thing about fall is apples!  I have my personal favorite variety; what’s yours? Here are a few facts about apples:

  • Nutrition – We all know, “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away.”, but do you know why? Apples are delicious, easy to carry for snacking, low in calories (about 80), and they are still very inexpensive. Apples have 4 grams of fiber, including both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber actually helps to prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls, thus reducing the incident of atherosclerosis and heart disease. The insoluble fiber in apples provides bulk in the intestinal tract, holding water to cleanse and move food quickly through the digestive system.  It is best to eat apples with their skin. Almost half of the vitamin C content is just underneath the skin and eating the skin also increases insoluble fiber content.  For complete apple nutrition facts, check out this site: http://urbanext.illinois.edu/apples/nutrition.cfm
  • Varieties – Did you know there are more than 7,500 varieties of apples worldwide? How do you ever decide which one becomes a favorite or which one is best for a particular purpose? Apple varieties have different qualities. Apples can be sweet, tart, soft and smooth or crisp and crunchy, depending on the one you choose. Some are perfect for baking, others work better for salads, and some are ideal for eating fresh off the tree. For example, Jonathans are tart, great for baking or eating. Honeycrisps are sweet, crisp, and delicious for eating. Galas are sweet, good for, eating, or salads.  Granny Smith apples are tart and great for baking.  Here is a  wonderful guide to help you know which varieties are best for what you plan to do: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1402.html
  • The Best Place to Buy Apples – If you have the chance, there are benefits to buying your apples locally.
    • Locally grown food is full of flavor.
    • Eating local food is eating seasonally.
    • Local food has more nutrients.
    • Local food supports the local economy.
    • Local food benefits the environment.
    • Local foods promote a safer food supply.
    • Local growers can tell you how the food was grown.

When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, you know a lot more about that food. To find a Farmer’s Market in your area that sells apples, the Ohio Proud website will allow you to enter your county and find a place to buy apples close by. See: http://ohioproud.org/searchmarkets.php

  • A Recipe – Fall is a good time to enjoy this recipe for Apple Salad:

3 med apples (unpeeled), cut in chunks

1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained

1/4 cup celery, diced

2 T raisins

3 T plain yogurt

2 t mayonnaise

1 T pineapple juice

1/8 t cinnamon

Combine apples, pineapple, celery, and raisins. Mix yogurt, mayonnaise, pineapple juice and cinnamon together and blend into other ingredients. Yield: Four 1 cup servings. Calories: 121 per serving.

Written by: Kathryn K Dodrill, MA, CFCS, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Washington County

Reviewed by: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ross County


Apple Nutrition, http://urbanext.illinois.edu/apples/nutrition.cfm

Apple Varieties, http://www.bestapples.com/varieties/index.aspx

Suggested Uses for Ohio Apples, http://www.ohioapples.com/ohio_apples_uses.htm

Apples: A Guide to Selection and Use, http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/1000/1402.html

5 A Day Roadside Market Project, http://ohioline.osu.edu/5-a-day/apples.html

Find a Farmer’s Market, http://ohioproud.org/searchmarkets.php

7 Benefits of Eating Local Foods, http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/7_benefits_of_eating_local_foods



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Many people grow a few tomatoes in their backyard.  They can be planted in the landscaping, in a container on your patio, or you may have enough space for a garden.  If you are a home grower you may have more tomatoes than you know what to do with.  Of course, you’re first thought might be to eat them fresh, but if you have grown tired of this here are some ideas to include them in dishes you make.

  • If your recipe calls for peeled and/or seeded tomatoes, hold in boiling water for 30 seconds, plunge into cold water, drain, make a slit in the blossom end and peel skins back.
  • Seed by cutting the tomato in half crosswise and remove seeds with the tip of a knife or spoon.
  • Slice tomatoes the French way, from stem to blossom by doing so they lose less juice.
  • Top with fresh or dried herbs, such as basil, oregano, tarragon, thyme, or curry powder.
  • Stuff large tomatoes with a variety of mixtures such as fish, poultry, egg salad, or cottage cheese.
  • Stuff cherry tomatoes for bite-size appetizers. To prepare, slice off tops and a very thin slice off the bottom, so they will stand well. Remove seeds and juice with a melon scoop. Stuff with your favorite fillings—cream cheese and watercress; tuna and mayonnaise; pulverized peanuts, mayonnaise and curry powder; or avocado, minced onion, and lemon juice.
  • For an elegant salad or appetizer, layer sliced tomatoes, fresh basil leaves, and fresh mozzarella cheese on lettuce. Dress lightly with olive oil.
  • Tomatoes get better and better tasting as you cook them. They are great in entrees that cook a long time or require next day “reheating.”

A four-ounce tomato supplies about one-third of your daily nutrient needs for vitamin C, and a little beta carotene, potassium, folate, iron and fiber.  They also contain lycopene an antioxidant that may reduce the risk of prostate and possibly other cancers.  Lycopene is more easily absorbed in cooked than in raw tomatoes.

If you are interested in preserving some of your tomatoes check out the following fact sheets:

Canning Basics http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5338.pdf

Canning Tomatoes http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5336.pdf

Canning Tomato Products http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/5000/pdf/5337.pdf

Author:  Linnette Goard, Field Specialist, Food Safety, Selection and Management, Ohio State University Extension.

Reviewed by:  Liz Smith, Extension Education, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension.


Selecting, Storing, and Serving Ohio Tomatoes available at: http://ohioline.osu.edu/hygfact/5000/pdf/5532.pdf

University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Made Easy

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