October Seasonal Produce Guide

October Seasonal Produce Guide

Seasonal produce is cheaper, fresher, more nutritional, and eco-friendly because it doesn’t have to travel as far. Fall is officially here but that doesn’t mean there is a shortage of fresh produce. What is in season in October? Produce peaks at different times throughout the US so there will be some variances. But here is a general guide.

Every month I will be sharing a seasonal produce guide. Check out our October seasonal produce guide below for more information including shopping tips and recipes.

October Seasonal Produce Guide

Acorn Squash
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Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is a member of the winter squash family. It has hard inedible, thin skin and firm sweet nutty flesh. It is an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and thiamin.

Buying

Look for acorn squash that is heavy for its size with smooth dull skin and no soft spots. Coloring should be a mix of orange and green. If it is too orange the squash is overripe and will be dry and stringy. Shiny skin indicates it was picked before it was fully ripened.

Storing

Store whole acorn squash in a cool dry place and use within two weeks of purchase. Cut squash should be refrigerated and used within four days. Cooked squash can be refrigerated for up to four days or frozen for up to 12 months.

Preparing

To make cutting acorn squash easier, pierce the skin in a few spots and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Cut the squash in half and remove the fibers and seeds.

Recipes

Roasted Winter Squash, Cranberry, and Almond SaladAverie Cooks
Kale and Tempeh Stuffed Acorn SquashDelish Knowledge

Apples
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Apples

There are 7,500 varieties of apples. Some varieties are delicious eaten raw while others should be reserved for baking. Apples make wonderful baked goods but they are also delicious when served with rich meats like pork. One of my favorite way to enjoy apples all year round is by making my grandmother’s freezer applesauce. Apples are high in fiber and an excellent source of vitamin C.

Buying

Apples should feel firm to touch and be free of bruises. Avoid apples that are mushy or have loose stems.

Storing

Apples can be refrigerated for up to one month.

Preparing

Do not peel or slice apples until you are ready to use them. To slow browning dip sliced apples in a mixture of lemon juice and water.

Recipes

Fennel and Apple SlawShe Likes Food
Saucy Maple Apple Pork ChopsChew Out Loud

Beets
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Beets

Beets are a root vegetable with a deep earthy flavor and are an excellent source of fiber, folate, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. They can be eaten raw, cooked or pickled. Roasting beets brings out their natural sweetness. Their leaves, known as beet greens, can also be eaten. Beets can be yellow, white, pink, or dark purple.

Buying

Beets should be heavy for their size. Smaller beets are sweeter and more tender.

Storing

Beets can be refrigerated for up to a week.

Preparing

Scrub beets with a brush and remove the roots and the tops, then cut as desired. Reusable Block

Recipes

Beet HummusLove & Lemmons
Beet SlawLexi’s Clean Kitchen

Broccoli
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Broccoli

Broccoli is part of the cabbage family and is a good source of vitamin C and vitamin K.

Buying

Choose broccoli that has closed florets and deep green color. Avoid broccoli with yellowing or that is soft.

Storing

Refrigerated broccoli will keep for up to five days.

Preparing

Wash and then cut into appropriately sized pieces. All but the very end of the stock can be used.

Recipes

Sesame Garlic BroccoliVegan Richa
Ziti with Broccoli and Toasted Pine NutsHello Veggie

Butternut Squash
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Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is an orange-fleshed winter squash that tastes sweet and nutty. It can be eaten raw but is commonly roasted or baked. Squash is an excellent source of beta-carotene, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber.

Buying

Butternut squash should be firm and heavy for its size and have an even creamy color. Avoid butternut squash with soft spots or dull and wrinkled skin.

Storing

Store whole butternut squash in a cool dry place and use within two weeks of purchase. Cut squash should be refrigerated and used within four days. Cooked squash can be refrigerated for up to four days or frozen for up to 12 months.

Preparing

To make cutting butternut squash easier, pierce the skin in a few spots and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove the fibers and seeds. Peel if desired. Reusable Block

Recipes

Butternut Squash and Thyme SoupBowl of Delicious
Spicy Southwest Butternut Squash CasseroleJar of Lemons

Cabbage
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Cabbage

Cabbage can be dark green, purple, white, or light green. Cabbage is a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and fiber.

Buying

Look for cabbage that is compact with blemish-free leaves. Avoid cabbages that are light for their size.

Storing

Cabbage can be refrigerated for up to seven days. Once cut cabbage should be stored in an airtight container.

Preparing

Remove the outer leaves and then slice into pieces. Wash under running water and remove the core.

Recipes

Cabbage and Sausage CasseroleSmitten Kitchen
Chipotle Lime Cole SlawDizzy Busy and Hungry

Cauliflower
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Cauliflower

Cauliflower is super popular right now. Masquerading as a pizza crust, mashed potatoes, and rice. Cauliflower comes in several varieties including white, orange, green, and purple. Cauliflower can be roasted, grilled, boiled, fried, steamed, pickled, or eaten raw. It is high in vitamin C and vitamin K.

Buying

Look for cauliflower that is compact with firmly attached bright green leaves. Avoid cauliflower with brown spots or spread out sections.

Storing

Cauliflower can be refrigerated for up to five days.

Preparing

Wash cauliflower just before use. Remove the outer leaves, stem, and core. Then break or cut it into smaller pieces. Reusable Block

Recipes

One Pan Cauliflower Mac and CheeseYellow Bliss Road
Miso Glazed Roasted Cauliflower Urban Foodie Kitchen

Cranberries
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Cranberries

Cranberries are hard, sour, and bitter. 95% of cranberries are used to make cranberry juice and sauce. Cranberries are a good source of vitamin C and fiber.

Buying

Look for cranberries that are shiny and plumb. Avoid cranberries that are shriveled or blemished.

Storing

Cranberries can be refrigerated for up to two months. Cranberries can be kept in the freezer for up to a year and used in recipes without thawing.

Preparing

Cranberries are not typically eaten raw and are usually cooked. Wash cranberries under running water before using them.

Recipes

Sparkling CranberriesKleinworth & Co.
Cranberry Jalapeno Cream Cheese AppetizerThe Thirsty Feast

Purple Grapes
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Grapes

There are over 8,000 varieties of grapes. Grapes can be red, black, dark blue, yellow, green, orange, and pink. Red grapes are high in the antioxidant resveratrol which is believed to fight cancer and heart disease. Green grapes are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin K. One of my favorite ways to enjoy grapes is to freeze them on a sheet tray and enjoy them on hot days.

Buying

Grapes should be firm, plump and securely attached to the stems. A slight pale-yellow hue is desirable on green grapes; red grapes should be deeply colored with no sign of green.

Storing

Grapes can be refrigerated for up to one week.

Preparing

Wash grapes thoroughly before eating.

Recipes

Broccoli Salad with Almond Lemon DressingTwo Raspberries
Harvest Almond Chicken SaladThe Chunky Chef

Leeks
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Leeks

Leeks have a mild onion-like flavor. Leeks are a good source of fiber, vitamin B6, iron and magnesium. They are also a very good source of folate as well as vitamins A, C, and K.

Buying

Look for leeks that are firm and have as much white and light green parts as possible.

Storing

Leeks can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Preparing

The dark green leaves are usually tough. Most dishes use just the white and light green portions. Leeks grow in sandy soil and need to be washed thoroughly. Cut off the root and then slice the leek in half vertically. Chop and place in a bowl of cold water. Agitate the leeks well, then drain and use.

Recipes

Leek Breakfast StrataTastes of Lizzie T
Champagne and Leek Risotto with Roasted ShrimpStriped Spatula

Lettuce
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Lettuce

Lettuce is most often used raw in salads and sandwiches but it can also be grilled. Lettuce is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, folate, and iron.

Buying

Look for fresh crisp leaves that are tightly bunched. Avoid lettuce with wilted or brown leaves.

Storing

Lettuce should be loosely covered and can be refrigerated for up to one week.

Preparing

Rinse lettuce under cold water. Use a salad spinner or pat the leaves dry to remove excess moisture. Slice, chop or tear as needed. Reusable Block

Recipes

Pineapple Pulled Pork Chicken Taco Lettuce WrapsThe Forked Spoon
Classic Wedge SaladSpend with Pennies

Mushrooms
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Mushrooms

Mushrooms are an excellent source of B vitamins, selenium, and copper.

Buying

Mushrooms should look fresh and smell good. Avoid mushrooms that smell of mildew or mold. Also avoid mushrooms that look shriveled, desiccated, darkened, wet, or moldy.

Storing

Mushrooms should be stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator or wrapped in paper towels and then loosely wrapped with plastic. Enclosing mushrooms in a plastic bag will cause them to sweat and spoil more quickly. Wild mushrooms will last for a few days stored this way; cultivated mushrooms will last up to a week or two.

Preparing

Mushrooms are like sponges and will soak up any liquid they get near. Relatively clean mushrooms can be brushed clean with a pastry brush or dry paper towel. For more cleaning power, use a damp paper towel. Reusable Block

Recipes

Pepperoni Pizza Stuffed Portobello MushroomsSweet Peas and Saffron
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with MushroomsSouthern Bite

Parsnips
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Parsnips

Parsnips are a root vegetable closely related to the carrot. Parsnips are high in potassium and fiber.

Buying

Choose parsnips that are firm and smooth. Smaller parsnips may be more flavorful and tender.

Storing

Parsnips can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Preparing

Wash parsnips in cold water and cut off both ends. Trim any major rootlets or knobs before cooking. Parsnips can be cooked into savory stews, boiled, mashed, or roasted.

Recipes

Creamy Beet, Fennel and Parsnip SoupSassy Kitchen
Rustic Parsnip MashSalt & Lavender

Persimmons
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Persimmons

Persimmon is a berry that comes from fruit trees in the genus, Diospyros. Persimmons are great for making jams, pies, steamed puddings, bread and muffins, stuffing, curry, and cookies. They are also delicious when sliced and served fresh in salads. Persimmons have a flavor similar to apricots and are a great source of fiber, manganese, and vitamin C.

Buying

Persimmons should be smooth, brightly colored, plump, well-rounded, and still, have a leaf attached. Avoid persimmons with bruises or yellow patches.

Storing

Store persimmons at room temperature until soft and ripe. Refrigerate ripe persimmons for up to three days.

Preparing

Persimmons can be eaten fresh, dried or cooked. To eat fresh persimmons, cut or peel the skin and cut into quarters or eat whole like an apple. Consume overly ripe persimmons by removing the top leaf with a paring knife and scooping out the flesh with a spoon.

Recipes

Overnight Autumn Breakfast QuinoaHow Sweet Eats
Grilled Shrimp CrostiniEazy Peazy Mealz

Pomegranate
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Pomegranates

The number of arils (seeds) in a pomegranate can vary from 200 to 1,400. Pomegranates are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and folate.

Buying

Pomegranates should be round, plump, and heavy for their size. Avoid pomegranates with cuts or bruises.

Storing

Store pomegranates for up to a month in a cool, dry place or refrigerate them for up to two months. Refrigerate seeds in an airtight container up to 5 days.

Preparing

Fair warning, pomegranates can be messy. The bright red juice can stain fingers, clothes, counters, and cutting boards. First, fill a large bowl with water. Slice off the top, then cut a slit through the skin of the pomegranate. Tear the fruit open with the slit facing away from you. Rip the fruit into chunks under water and remove the arils (seeds). The seeds will sink, and the white will membrane float.

Recipes

Barley Salad with Pomegranate VinaigretteOnce Upon a Chef
Pomegranate Apple Cider SorbetSugar Spun Run

Pumpkins
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Pumpkins

Sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins are smaller and sweeter. Most parts of the pumpkin are edible, including the shell, seeds, leaves, and flowers. Pumpkin is a great source of vitamin A and vitamin C.

Buying

Look for pumpkins that are small but heavy for their size and have their stems intact. Avoid pumpkins with soft spots.

Storing

Store pumpkins at room temperature for up to a month or refrigerate for up to three months. Wrap cut pumpkins in plastic and refrigerate for up to five days.

Preparing

Wash pumpkins, and then cut them lengthwise. Remove the seeds and excess fiber. Trim skin with a paring knife or peeler if desired. Cook as desired. Reusable Block

Recipes

Oatmeal Pumpkin CookiesPlace of my Taste
Homemade Pumpkin ButterPractically Functional

Rutabaga

Rutabaga

The rutabaga is a root vegetable that is a cross between the cabbage and the turnip. It has a slightly spicier flavor than the turnip. Rutabagas can reach three to five pounds in weight. Rutabagas contain a small amount of vitamins A and C.

Buying

Rutabagas should be smooth, firm, without blemishes, and heavy for their size. Avoid large roots, they tend to be more fibrous. If you smell a rutabaga, the more pronounced the odor, the more pungent the flavor.

Storing

Rutabagas can be stored unwashed in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The leaves should be removed to prevent the root from drying out.

Preparing

Scrub rutabagas under cold running water before using. Cut into pieces and remove the core if it is brownish. Rutabagas can be boiled, steamed, mashed, roasted, baked, and fried. 

Recipes

Beef and Vegetable StewLife Made Simple
Baked Rutabaga Fries with Spinach Cashew CreamIt’s a Veg World After All

Spinach
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Spinach

Spinach is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, iron, and calcium. Popeye was credited with increasing consumption of spinach in the 1930s by 33 percent.

Buying

Spinach should be crisp and green, Avoid spinach that looks wilted or slimy.

Storing

Loosely wrap spinach in a damp paper towel and refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to five days.

Preparing

Rinse spinach under cold water in a colander. Use a salad spinner or pat the leaves dry to remove excess moisture. Spinach can be eaten raw or cooked.

Recipes

Spinach Artichoke ChickenLively Table
Quinoa Salad with Spinach and FetaLittle Broken

Sweet Potato
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Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C and fiber.

Buying

Sweet potatoes should have smooth skin. Avoid sweet potatoes with soft spots, cuts, or blemishes.

Storing

Sweet potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place. They will keep for up to one month.

Preparing

Scrub sweet potatoes and peel if desired. Sweet potato skin is edible.

Recipes

Sweet Potato Dessert FriesMinimalist Baker
Mashed Sweet PotatoesNatasha’s Kitchen

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard is less bitter when it is raw rather than when it is cooked. Swiss chard is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C.

Buying

Swiss Chard should have dark green leaves and brightly colored stems, Avoid swiss chard that is dried out and brown.

Storing

Swiss chard can be kept in the refrigerato9r for up to five days.

Preparing

Swiss chard can be eaten raw or cooked. Before using chard, cut the leaves away from the stems and wash leaves in cold water. Rinse stems and trim off any blemishes. Swiss chard stems are tougher than the leaves and require a longer cooking time of an additional five minutes. Reusable Block

Recipes

Chicken Shirataki Noodle Stir FryI am a Food Blog
Sauteed Swiss Chard ToastsEatwell 101

Check out what’s in season in September.
Check out what’s in season in November,

October Seasonal Produce Guide

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