Food should be purchased and consumed on a seasonal basis. The reason for this is that the foods that are in season are also going to be in abundance meaning the costs will be lower. In addition to that if the food is in season then it will have its highest value of nutrients thus making it better for you. That combination will allow you to lead a healthy life without breaking the wallet.
So we are in October and it is fall and the idea of donuts and apple cider from a street side stand out in the country brings back magical memories. October also brings with it everything pumpkin, but that isn’t the only food that October brings us. This article in the Huffington Post brings you 7 of the best October Superfoods. Those items are pumpkins, carrots, pomegranates, artichokes, beets, cabbage, and onions. Instead of giving you the reasons these are considered superfoods how about ideas for how to use these items when preparing a menu.
Pumpkin: There are so many ways to use pumpkin from bread, cupcakes, muffins and cake you can also use it in tacos. Set the oven to 405* and after scraping out the seeds place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes to an hour until the pumpkin is soft. Scrape out the meat and place in a tortilla (homemade please) with black beans, and homemade salsa for a great tasting taco.
Carrots: Carrots are a great vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked in soups. I love slicing carrots into sticks and then sautéing them with other vegetables for a simple stir fry with black japonica rice. Use a bit of sriracha on your stir fry to create a bit of heat and you are ready to roll. You can also use them in steamed dumplings or in spring rolls.
Pomegranates: Do you like bruschetta? If so then add the pomegranate seeds to your favorite bruschetta recipe and top off crusty homemade bread for a starter to a spaghetti squash dinner. I also enjoy having chopped olives in my bruschetta for that salty kick and the pomegranates will help to offset that saltiness.
Artichokes: Everybody knows about artichoke spinach dip but I find all that cream and a cheese to be a turn-off and that was before I stopped consuming dairy. You can always stuff artichokes and there is nothing wrong with that, but how about getting the heart of the artichoke and slicing it on top of homemade pizza dough with asparagus? Having the heart burn just a bit to create a crunch gives this perfect texture.
Beets: Beets are easy to work with and they taste great too. The biggest problem with them is the coloring they leave in your fingertips if not handled properly. My favorite way to eat beets is as chips. First I boil them to get them soft and allow me to peel the skin off easily. Preheat your oven to 350* at that point and then slice the beets very thin and place on a silpat/greased baking dish. Place in oven for 15 minutes or until the edges of the beet chips begun to curl and the chip gets crispy. Serve with your favorite sandwich or burger or even use to scoop up salsa.
Cabbage: I am a huge fan of cabbage and usually pick up a head of green cabbage and red cabbage at each trip to the grocery store. From using it instead of lettuce in a sandwich to a major contributor in stir fry cabbage is very versatile. Lately I have been using cabbage in my tacos instead of spinach as it adds another layer of crunch. Another great way to use cabbage is the same way lettuce is used in wraps. Place grapes, tomatoes, and feta cheese inside of a cabbage leaf and roll into a wrap and enjoy.
Onions: There is nothing like caramelized onions. You can use them in French onion soup or on top of a pizza but when it comes to onions there is nothing better than having them top pan-fried polenta with mushrooms and a balsamic reduction. Heat up a pan and cook the onions until they are soft and translucent. Add sliced mushrooms to the pan and cook for a few minutes then add in balsamic dressing and allow to reduce for about 5 minutes. Add the onions back in to heat up and get covered with what should be a balsamic syrup at this point. Remove your previously cooked polenta and pan fry as rectangles. Once the polenta is crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside then plate and cover with the onion-mushroom balsamic mixture.