October Produce Guide
Hello October and welcome to month 10 of our Monthly Seasonal Produce Guides!
October is the first full month of fall, and with it all things pumpkin. At the markets you’ll see winter squash in every variety starting about now. Many pumpkins are sold for decoration or carving, so if you are looking for the best pumpkins to cook and eat, look for sugar pumpkins and kabocha. You’ll also find acorn squash, butternut, and spaghetti squash, as well as thin-skinned delicata squash.
For fruit, in early October we can still find figs and grapes. Apples and pears are peaking right now. Have you gone apple picking yet? Store apples and pears in the fridge if you want them to last. They love cold storage and can keep for months.
Chilly fall weather brings out root vegetables like parsnips, celery root, and beets, which we will be enjoying throughout the cold season. You’ll find tubers too, like fingerling potatoes, ginger, and jerusalem artichokes.
This month’s bonus fruit is quince. While hard to find at a regular grocery store, look for it at farm stands or ask a neighbor with a tree. A hundred years ago practically every home had a quince tree for the quince’s pectin for making jam. Cook quince up into tarts or poach them as a side to pork or chicken.
What’s in Season in October?
- Pears — Use crisp and firm Bosc pears for poaching or making a tart, and Bartletts for making pear butter. Eat a crunchy Asian pear as you would an apple.
- Apples — Caramel apples make a wonderful Halloween treat. Looking for a non-fussy dessert? Make an apple cobbler!
- Figs — So hard to resist when they are in season, right? Who needs a fig newton when you can plop a sweet mission fig in your mouth?
- Quince — A little harder to find, and only in season a short time, quince look like a cross between a golden delicious apple and a Bartlett pear. They have a heady, floral aroma, and when cooked, turn the most gorgeous rosy hue.
- Pumpkin, Kabocha, and Butternut Squash — Look for sugar pumpkins, not carving pumpkins if you intend to cook pumpkin. Try out a Kabocha or Kuri winter squash for their thick flesh and deep rich flavor, great for soups!
- Spaghetti Squash and Delicata Squash — Sub pasta with roasted spaghetti squash for low carb meals. No need to peel the delicate skin of delicata squash, just scoop out the seeds, slice, and roast. Try it with chimichurri!
- Parsnips, Celery Root, Rutabagas, Beets — Roasted root vegetables are just the thing on a chilly fall day. Purée cooked parsnips or mash celery root and use in place of mashed potatoes.
- Fingerling Potatoes — This variety of potato is small when fully mature, unlike baby or new potatoes that are just young potatoes. The peels are thin and delicate so they don’t need to be removed. They cook up firm, so are great for roasting and potato salads.
- Swiss Chard — Sturdier than spinach, more tender than kale, Swiss chard cooks up quickly when sautéed with a little olive oil and garlic. Have beet greens? Use them interchangeably with chard.
- Ginger — You can always find ginger at the market, but fall is the season for it in temperate zones. If you are growing ginger, pull it out before the first freeze when the leaves start dying. If you find a bunch for sale at a good price, buy it and freeze it. Ginger freezes well. When cold season starts, add it to honey lemon tea!
- Jerusalem Artichokes — Fall is the season for Jerusalem Artichokes, also known as Sunchokes. Slice them raw into salads, or cook them into soup. Tastes a lot like artichokes.
Scroll down for more recipe ideas. What are your favorite dishes to make with early fall fruits and vegetables?
French classic, tarte tatin aux poires, upside down pear tart with flakey pastry crust.
Pan-seared pork chops with a sweet and sour pear and ginger sauce. Perfect for the fall, cooks up in minutes and only uses one pot!
This is absolutely the best homemade apple pie you'll ever make! It has a flaky, buttery crust and a tender, lightly-spiced apple pie filling. Use a combination of apples for best flavor, and bake until the top is golden and the filling is bubbly!
We LOVE this pork loin roast stuffed with chopped apples, walnuts and cranberries. So festive, perfect for holiday entertaining!
Butternut Squash, Pumpkin, Kabocha
Don't throw away the pumpkin seeds from your pumpkin! Roast them for a delicious healthy Halloween snack.
Quick and easy spicy pumpkin soup made with pumpkin purée, onions, fresh ginger, chicken stock, cream, and a mixture of curry, cumin, and coriander.
Hate peeling and dicing hard butternut squash? Steam it in the pressure cooker instead! Perfect for any recipe that calls for pureed or mashed butternut squash.
Roasted kabocha squash soup, thick and creamy, with ginger, cumin, and coriander. Perfect for fall!
Parsnips, Celery Root, Rutabaga
Parsnips roasted in butter and stock with parsley, chives, garlic, and a touch of horseradish.
Lamb shanks are melt in your mouth delicious braised with celery root, cabbage, and rosemary. Cut the meat away from the bones and serve like a stew!
Easiest way to make Swiss chard! Cook in olive oil with garlic and crushed red pepper.
Sautéed Swiss chard with ribbons of parsnip. The sweet notes of the parsnip help brighten this lovely side of Swiss Chard.
Boiled fingerling potatoes tossed with vermouth, red onions, parsley, and an herb vinaigrette.
Dulce de Membrillo recipe, a popular Spanish paste made from quince and served with Manchego cheese.
From our friend David Lebovitz, Quince are peeled and cored, poached in water with sugar, honey, lemon, and vanilla. Delicious simple dessert!
Super gingery buttermilk scones, made with both candied and fresh ginger, with a hint of lemon.