September Seasonal Produce Guide

September Seasonal Produce Guide

Seasonal produce is cheaper, fresher, more nutritional, and eco-friendly because it doesn’t have to travel as far. There is an abundance of produce available during September as summer ends and fall begins. What is in season in September? 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 September seasonal produce guide below for more information including shopping tips and recipes.

September 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

Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn SquashCherished Bliss
Crock-Pot Acorn Squash SoupCrock-Pot Ladies

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

Leftover Ham and Gouda Sandwich with Spicy Apple ChutneyLively Table
Open-faced Turkey Burger with Apple Bourbon GravyClimbing Grier Mountain

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.

Recipes

Roasted Beet Salad with Red Wine VinaigretteDream a Little Bigger
Baked Rosemary Beet ChipsMinimalist Baker

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.

Recipes

Butternut Squash and Cranberry Quinoa SaladLittle Broken
Saucy Portobello and Butternut Squash TacosMinimalist Baker

Cantaloupe
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Cantaloupe

Cantaloupes are sweet and juicy and are high in vitamin A and vitamin C. Their high water content also helps to ward off dehydration.

Buying

Cantaloupe should have a sweet smell, yellow-tinged skin, a thick texture rind, and no stem. Avoid cantaloupe that has an overly sweet smell and soft spots.

Storing

Whole cantaloupes can be stored on the counter for up to four days. Cut cantaloupe should be refrigerated and can be stored for up to two days.

Preparing

The surface of a cantaloupe can contain Salmonella. Before consumption, you should wash and scrub the cantaloupe thoroughly. Cut off the stem end about 3/4 inch from the end. Place the melon cut end down on a cutting surface. Cut the melon in half and gently scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Cut as desired.

Recipes

Cantaloupe Prosciutto Caprese Skewers with Lemon Mint PestoHow Sweet Eats
Sweet Cantaloupe Carrot Gazpacho ShootersEatwell 101

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.

Recipes

Cauliflower Puree with ThymeOnce Upon a Chef
Cashew-Crusted Cauliflower “Steak”Minimalist Baker

Eggplant
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Eggplant

Eggplants are spongy and absorbent. There are many varieties of eggplants that range in size and color. Eggplants with deep purple skin are most common, but they can also be red, green or even black. Eggplant is a great source of dietary fiber, Vitamin B1, copper, manganese, Vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, folate, and Vitamin K.

Buying

Eggplant should have smooth, shiny skin that is uniform in color and be heavy for its size. To test for ripeness, lightly press a finger against the skin. If it leaves an imprint, the eggplant is ripe. Choose smaller eggplants as they tend to be sweeter, less bitter, have thinner skin and fewer seeds. Avoid eggplants that are wrinkled or have blemishes, bruises or tan patches.

Storing

Eggplant can be refrigerated for up to four days. Eggplants bruise easily, so handle them with care. Cooked eggplant can be refrigerated for up to three days

Preparing

To reduce bitterness, sprinkle cut eggplant liberally with salt and let it sit for an hour. Drain and prep as desired. Skin is edible but may be removed.

Recipes

Easy Grilled EggplantSpend with Pennies
Eggplant Parm Grilled CheeseHow Sweet Eats

Figs
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Figs

Figs have a unique, sweet taste, soft and chewy texture flesh with slightly crunchy, edible seeds. Their growing season is very short and the delicate fruit is difficult to transport. Figs are high in fiber.

Buying

Figs should be clean and dry, with smooth and unbroken skin. They should be soft and yielding to the touch, but not mushy. If a fig is firm, it is not ripe.

Storing

Store fresh figs in a plastic bag in the coldest part of the refrigerator and use them within two days.

Preparing

Fig should be rinsed, dried, and have their stems removed before eating.

Recipes

Honey-Lemon Ricotta Breakfast Toast with Figs and PistachiosAmbitious Kitchen
Fall Figs Salad with Apples, Grapes and Mustard VinaigretteEatwell 101

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

Poppy Seed Chicken and Grape Pasta SaladCooking Classy
Broccoli Grape and Cucumber SaladNatasha’s Kitchen

Green and Purple Beans
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Green Beans

There are more than 130 varieties of green bean that differ in taste, color, and size. Green beans are high in vitamins A, C, and K, folic acid, and fiber.

Buying

Green beans should be brightly colored and snap easily when bent. Select beans of similar size and shape for more uniform cooking time.

Storing

Green beans can be refrigerated for up to one week.

Preparing

Wash green beans in cold water before cutting and cooking. To retain sweetness and crispness, trim both ends but keep beans whole. Older, stringy beans should be cut lengthwise.

Recipes

Garlic Herb Roasted Potatoes and Green BeansThe Gracious Wife
Chicken and Green BeansDinner at the Zoo

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.

Recipes

Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps with Paleo ‘Peanut’ SauceLexi’s Clean Kitchen
Roasted Beets and Sweet Potato SaladJar of Lemons

Mangoes
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Mangoes

Mangoes are sweet and juicy. They are an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamins C, and beta-carotene.

Buying

Mangos should yield to gentle pressure and be without blemishes or dark spots. They should also have a sweet fragrant aroma.

Storing

Mangoes can be refrigerated for up to 3 days. Place mangos in a paper bag to speed ripening. Freeze chopped and peeled fruit in a plastic bag with the air squeezed out for up to 3 months.

Preparing

Mangos contain a large, flat pit. To cut a mango, insert the knife into the mango’s flesh until you reach the pit. Slice horizontally against the pit, then continue along the other three sides. To remove the flesh from the skin, score the flesh by cutting just until you reach the skin. Turn the skin inside out and use a paring knife to remove the flesh from the skin.

Recipes

Mango ChickenDinner at the Zoo
Spring Rolls with Mango Ginger SauceLexi’s Clean Kitchen

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.

Recipes

Vegan Loaded Mashed Potato BowlsJar of Lemons
Creamed Mushrooms on Chive Butter ToastSmitten Kitchen

Okra
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Okra

Okra is a green, finger-shaped vegetable that is very popular in southern cooking. Okra can be grilled, sauteed, fried, pickled, or stewed. It is a great source of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. 

Buying

Okra should be dry, firm and without blemishes. Okra should also be fuzzy like a peach. Avoid okra that is soft, wet, or moldy.

Storing

Okra pods can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Preparing

Wash and remove the stem. Slice as desired. Cook okra with vinegar or an acidic food to prevent it from becoming slimy.

Recipes

Okra and Green Tomato FrittersSouthern Bite
Grilled Pork Tenderloin Tacos with Corn-Okra RelishClimbing Grier Mountain

Bell Peppers
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Peppers

Peppers come in many different colors including green, yellow, orange, red, brown, white, light purple, and dark purple. The bell pepper is the only member of the genus Capsicum that does not produce capsaicin, a chemical that can cause a strong burning sensation when it comes in contact with mucous membranes. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C.

Buying

Bell peppers should be firm with glossy skin. Avoid peppers that are shriveled or have soft spots.

Storing

Bell peppers can be refrigerated for up to five days.

Preparing

Wash peppers and remove the stem and seeds. It is easier to cut peppers if you keep the interior of the pepper facing up and the more slippery skin side down on the cutting board.

Recipes

Roasted Red Pepper Oven Grilled CheeseDizzy Busy & Hungry
Spaghetti Stuffed Bell PeppersIt’s a Veg World After All

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

Persimmon, Farro, and Burrata Salad with Easy Balsamic VinaigretteThe Forked Spoon
Persimmon Prosciutto Pork TenderloinCooking on the Weekends

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

Cauliflower-Feta Fritters with PomegranateSmitten Kitchen
Sweet Endive Salad with Apples and PomegranateThe Thirsty Feast

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.

Recipes

Bacon and Pumpkin PastaDizzy Busy & Hungry
Cajun Style Pumpkin SoupMy Turn for Us

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 Stuffed Chicken ParmesanKleinworth & Co.
Spinach Ricotta Pasta BakeRecipetin Eats

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

One-Pan Paleo Chicken Apple Sausage and Sweet Potato Skillet Mom Endeavors
Vegan Sweet Potato CurrySalt and Lavender

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.

Recipes

One Pan Garlic Butter Salmon and Swiss ChardBowl of Delicious
Sauteed Swiss Chard and Summer SquashTwo Lucky Spoons

Tomatoes
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Tomatoes

Nothing beats the flavor of a fresh tomato. I spend year avoiding tomatoes at the grocery store waiting for them to be in season and available at the farmers market. There are approximately 7,500 tomato varieties. Yellow and orange tomatoes are usually less acidic than red tomatoes. Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, vitamin C potassium, folate, and vitamin K.

Buying

Tomatoes should be bright in color with smooth skin. Avoid tomatoes that are too soft or bruised.

Storing

Tomatoes should not be refrigerated. They should be stored at room temperature and consumed within a few days. Unripe tomatoes will continue to ripen at room temperature.

Preparing

Remove the core of a tomato by cutting around the stem end with a small serrated knife. Remove the skin by scoring the bottom of each tomato with an X, place the tomato in boiling water for 10-30 seconds, then dip it quickly in cold water. The skins will peel right off.

Recipes

Baked Tomatoes Parmesan with Basil Zucchini PastaFood Folks and Fun
Grilled Indian Chicken with Tomato ChutneyFoodie and the Fix

What is your favorite September fruit or vegetable?

Check out what’s in season in October.

I am linking this post up to some amazing blog parties. Here is a complete list of places I party.

September Seasonal Produce Guide

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