The temperatures are dropping, trees are shedding their leaves, and supermarkets are packed to the rafters with Easter eggs – it’s officially Autumn.
As the days get shorter and we transition into warmer clothes, the produce we find at our markets change too. Our summer fruits and vegetables like stone fruits and cucumbers become outnumbered by our autumn produce like rhubarb, eggplants and pumpkin. Wild mushrooms start to grow like crazy, and apples are at their juiciest.
Here in New Zealand and in Australia it doesn’t get as cool as other parts of the world. It is important to start preparing meals with more sustenance and warmth. Thinking about warming the body from the inside!
By following a seasonal diet, you’re looking after the planet. Kilometres used to transport produce and energy used to store it are significantly reduced. You’re also getting much more bang for your buck when it comes to the produce’s nutritional value. When harvested in season, foods boast their highest nutritional content, have less interference with pesticides, and taste their best.
Naturopaths believe that following a diet in tune with the seasons can help support immune function and protect us from getting sick. This is because fruits and vegetables are packed with the vitamins and minerals our bodies require through different times of the year.
So, which fruits and vegetables do you need to stock up on this March through to May?
- Kiwi Fruit
- Lemon & Limes
- Brussel Sprouts
- Silver beet
Herbs and spices
Basil, chill, chives, coriander, dill, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, lime, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme.
Here are some suggestions on how to incorporate the above fruits and vegetables into your cooking this Autumn.
Too tart to eat raw, but if you boil and add the perfect amount of sugar, rhubarb transforms into one of the most delicious desserts, especially when there’s pastry involved. Everything in moderation, Rhubarb pie crumble and apple and rhubarb muffins would be great addition to your autumn regime. Rhubarb is a great source of dietary fibre, Vitamin C, and calcium as well as potassium and manganese.
Mushrooms take off in autumn thanks to the increased rainfall. Mushrooms are high in B Vitamin: riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. The combination helps to protect heart health. Riboflavin is good for red blood cells.
Grapes used to be a fruit salad staple, but recently they’ve become much more versatile, popping up in curries, salads and even on toast. Next time you’re at home on a cosy Sunday morning, give the below recipe a go:
Preheat the oven to 200°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Take 1 cup of grapes and toss with half a tablespoon of olive oil. Lay grapes evenly on the tray and cook for 7-8 minutes or until the grapes begin to burst.
Next, spread ricotta evenly across two slices of sourdough and top with the hot juicy grapes.
Figs and blue cheese; is there a more iconic duo? There’s no better time of year than fig time. Try sprucing up your homemade pizzas. Our go-to fig inspired pizza: Rocket, Prosciutto, blue cheese, figs and walnuts. Otherwise, sweeten up your desserts or simply enjoy the fleshy goodness of this wondrous fruit with yoghurt and drenched in honey.
Cauliflower has proved its deliciousness over the past few years. Goodbye cauliflower with white sauce, hello Buffalo bites and popcorn cauliflower. There’s nothing you can’t do with this versatile veg; soups, pizza bases, rice, or even whole baked cauliflowers – the sky’s the limit.
Eggplant is a great vegetable to use if you feel like you need to take a break from meat. Most of your meaty family favourites can be substituted with eggplant. Lasagne, Moussaka and the all-time favourite Parmigiana, just to name a few.
Soups, curries and ravioli are some of the most popular pumpkin-packed recipes. But if you’re feeling adventurous, why not give this pumpkin pie smoothie ago:
- One frozen banana
- 1 cup almond milk
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp cashew butter
- ½ tsp nutmeg
Place in a high-speed blender and blitz until smooth and creamy.
One of the earthiest vegetables there is, this deep red vegetable is packed full of antioxidants. Another multifaceted vegetable that can be roasted, juiced, pickled or even eaten raw. A new trend is grating beetroot and adding it to chocolate brownies to create a healthy red velvet vibe.
Even though the fun of summer is over, the autumn garden has plenty of delights in store for you. Choosing to go seasonal forces you to be a little more adventurous in the kitchen and is a great way to expand your culinary skills.
Autumn recipes as per Wellness by Jess Blair Book
Easy Chia Puddings
- ½ coconut milk
½ cup chia seeds
1-2 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon collagen optional
½ teaspoon vanilla essence
toppings of your choice, I love blueberries or slivered almonds.
Add the milk, chia seeds, maple syrup collagen powder and vanilla to a bowl and whisk to combine ingredients. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 6 hours. Add your toppings and enjoy!
Autumn Buddha Bowl
½ small sweet potato or kumara chopped into small cubes
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 thumb- size piece ginger minced
1 teaspoon coconut oil
½ cup chopped mushrooms
½ brown onion sliced
1 teaspoon butter or olive oil
1 cup of cooked quinoa and rice mixed
1 cup spinach
4 florets broccoli
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon fermented vegetables
1 teaspoon hummus or tahini for dressing
chia seeds for topping
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. In a bowl mix the cubed sweet potato with the turmeric, minced ginger and the coconut oil and oven bake until golden brown.
In a pan, sauté the mushrooms and onion with the butter or olive oil. In a bowl layer the cooked quinoa and spinach. Add the sautéed mushrooms. Place the cooked sweet potato and boiled broccoli on top, then add the avocado, fermented vegetables and your dressing of choice, Sprinkle with chia seeds.
One – pan paprika chicken
6-8 small white potatoes
1 small sweet potato kumara
1 red onion
2 teaspoon olive oil
2 teaspoon paprika
4 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon dijon mustard
4-5 pieces chicken bone in thigh or drumsticks
2 cups of spinach
10 cherry tomatoes
1 handful basil for garnish
Preheat oven to 180 degree. Chop potatoes, sweet potato and onion into small pieces. Toss in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. In a bowl, mix paprika, second measure olive oil and mustard.
Drizzle over the chicken so it’s well covered.
Place the vegetables and chicken in an oven dish. Bake for 30-40 minutes until cooked. Add the spinach and tomatoes to the oven dish 5 minutes before the end of cooking.
What about practices at home we can include for Autumn?
Autumn is the beginning of the cooler months, and often the end of Summer holidays with family and friends and celebrating those long beach days. (Although in Australia and New Zealand we are lucky we still get some long Beach days!)
- Still wake up in good timing in Autumn I know it is harder to wake up when It is darker in the mornings. Waking up in Autumn is beautiful and calming.
- Before bed have a warming herbal tea- something that will help you have a restful sleep.
- Autumn or Fall represents Harvest time of the year, a time to acknowledge growth and expansion in every aspect of your life.
- Planning new goals is a great time to start in Autumn, get fresh air, read a new book and enjoy the beautiful Autumn air.
- Continue to dry skin brush and look after your skin.