Fall Staples to Keep in Your Kitchen
Following the heat of summer, autumn is a welcome change of season for many. Fall has its own uniquely beautiful coloring, smell, and flavor. For many, the delicious aromas of fall are directly associated with its seasonal foods. With an array of fruits, vegetables, and spices, autumn brings the opportunity to cook and bake warm and fulfilling seasonal fare. To make the most out of fall cooking, it’s important to have the right recipes and to stock up on all the basics of the season.
Vegetables in Season
A range of colorful and delicious vegetables are in season and perfect for cooking during the fall months. When planning autumn meals, it helps to know what vegetables to have on hand. Fall root vegetables include sweet potatoes, beets, radishes, and turnips. Winter squash varieties, despite the name, are also fall vegetables. In season from August through December are squash varieties such as kabocha, butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash.
Green fall vegetables include kale, artichokes, arugula, celery, Brussels sprouts, chicories, and broccoli. Examples of vegetables in harvest from summer through fall are shallots, edamame, and green beans.
Fruit in Season
Fall also offers a wide range of healthy fruit choices. Apples are one of the most popular and healthy types of fall fruit. They’re a must-have in any kitchen and are delicious whether eaten on their own or as a tasty addition to pork or chicken dishes. Apple pie, strudel, and cake are all examples of popular desserts that use apples.
Pumpkins are one of the most recognizable signs of the season. Although people often think of them as a vegetable, they are technically a fruit. While pumpkin pie is a traditional dessert, one may use pumpkin in soups and other fall dishes. Other healthy fruits to keep on hand include grapefruit and clementines, both of which are high in vitamin C. Cranberries are a colorful fall superfood that’s high in antioxidants and an ingredient in many fall dishes and drinks. Other fall fruits include pomegranates, figs, Asian pears, grapes, and persimmons.
Spices to Keep in Your Cabinet
Autumn cooking is full of flavorful and aromatic spices that are crucial to seasonal meals and desserts. Stocking up on the right spices ensures they’ll be on hand for main dishes, soups and stews, desserts, and drinks. Certain spices are available either ground or whole, such as cloves and allspice. Cinnamon is a common and important ingredient in certain pork and poultry recipes, baked goods, fruits, and with sweets, such as chocolate. It is also a tasty addition to autumn beverages, such as cider. When purchasing cinnamon to add to one’s supply of spices, they have the option of ground cinnamon or cinnamon sticks. Keeping both on hand is ideal, as recipes often require one or the other. Nutmeg, like cinnamon, is an ingredient used in baked goods, but is also an interesting addition to vegetable dishes like kale or spinach.
Other fall spices to stock up on include ginger and cardamom. Ginger complements either savory or sweet dishes, baked goods, and teas. Cardamom complements other fall spices such as cinnamon and cloves and goes well with baked dishes.
Spice mixtures or blends are some of the most fall-specific spices that one will want in their spice arsenal. Mulling spices are an example of a spice blend. It is a blending of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, star anise, allspice, and peppercorns and it is used in hot cider and other beverages. Pumpkin spices are arguably the spice of fall. It is a blend that combines cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace, nutmeg, and allspice. Recipes that call for pumpkin spice include baked goods such as pies, muffins, bread, and cookies.
Baking Must Haves
Baking is as much a part of fall as the leaves falling from the trees. In order to make one’s recipe for an apple or pecan pie, pumpkin bread, or any fall dessert, it’s important to stock up on baking supplies. Basics include flour, sugar, and butter. Certain recipes and diets require specific types of flour. Types of flour that one may need to have on hand include all-purpose, whole wheat, cake, self-rising, and gluten-free flour. Sugars used in baking include granulated, cane, confectioners, and brown sugar. For people who need to cut sugar from their diets, there are also a variety of sugar substitutes that range from sucralose to monk fruit.
Cooks may want to include one or more types of butter as well. Besides regular butter, there are also options for people with dietary needs, such as salt-free or vegan butter. Vanilla is another must-have ingredient that enhances the flavor profile of a wide range of baked sweets.
Many fall recipes call for pumpkin, but cooks rarely have the time or desire to get what they need from a whole pumpkin. Keeping several cans of pumpkin in one’s cabinet will ensure that there’s always a ready-to-use option available when a recipe calls for it. Other baking must-haves include a thickener such as cornstarch or arrowroot, baking caramel, and cream cheese.
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