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Wellness 14/09/2020

Grapes in September and squash in October: ideal foods for autumn

September 21 heralds the arrival of autumn! After a year of patient waiting, a wide range of fruit and vegetables are ready to be added to our daily dishes. From chestnuts and grapes to winter squash, all these seasonal fruits and vegetables may be used in a wide variety of delicious recipes. To adapt your cooking to the season, here is a list of what you should pick up from your local greengrocer or supermarket.

Autumn cooking prepares the body for the cold winter months. Its flavours are earthy, as the soil makes its mark on what grows there. The leaves of cabbage and squash come up from the surface, while onions, carrots and turnips grow deep down in the soil. To benefit fully from the nutrients contained in fruit and vegetables, we must eat them in season. Do you know why?

Why is it best to eat seasonal fruit and vegetables?

Nature is well made: it contains everything we need at the moment we need it. In addition to being tasty and respectful of the environment, eating in season also allows us to get out of our daily routine and discover new foods, particularly rich in minerals and fiber when they are picked when ripe.

Fruits and vegetables in season meet our nutritional needs of the moment. In autumn and winter, nature offers us vegetables rich in minerals and citrus fruits full of vitamin C to support our immune system and prepare us for the cold weather. Conversely, in summer, with the heat, our body demands more water. Therefore, it produces fruits and vegetables rich in water, such as melons, watermelons, tomatoes, zucchini, red fruits, etc.

They taste better. Fruit and vegetables that ripen in the sun develop flavours which those ripened in greenhouses or during shipment cannot. For example, tomatoes consumed during the winter months are basically tasteless.

They are not so heavily treated. Most out-of-season fruit and vegetables are grown in greenhouses, where they are sprayed with pesticides and other harmful substances that help them grow and compensate for a lack of sunshine. Yet, plants that grow in the soil have the fabulous capacity of adapting to all climates as well as certain diseases.

They are less expensive. Local and seasonal products require less transport and have no import taxes, which positively affects the price.


In my autumn dishes, I use:

Marrow, red kuri squash, butternut and pumpkin: the stars of the season!  

From October to December, cucurbits make their way into our soups and pies. Revitalizing and stimulating, these carotenoid-rich vegetables go well with a multitude of recipes, from appetizers to desserts. In addition to traditional soups and purées, they are perfect pan-fried, in gratins, in salads, in crumbles, in cakes or in spaghetti.

Cousins of zucchini and cucumbers, squash can be divided into two main families. Watery squash: they are mainly used to make soups. Among them, we find the butternut, the bright red pumpkin of Etampes and the blue squash of Hungary. The other large family is rather mealy. It holds up better to cooking and it will be easier to make gratins, quiches or to roast them. You will find the pumpkin, the kabocha, the shiatsu... And then there are those that are a little bit different and that can be eaten differently: the pumpkin that can be stuffed, and the spaghetti squash that can be eaten like spaghetti with the long strings it forms when it is scraped after cooking.

Health benefits Cucurbits: Generally speaking, cucurbits are rich in vitamins A, C, B2, E, iron, manganese and beta-carotene, among others.

Tip Don't throw away your pumpkin seeds. You can dry them and then roast them gently in the oven for your recipes or as an appetizer, in sweet or savory versions.

Our delicious recipe Butternut and sweet potato curry


Parsnip, a forgotten vegetable

Cultivated since the Middle Ages, the parsnip has gradually fallen into oblivion. However, this vegetable, cousin of the carrot, is very rich in vitamins, minerals and fibers. Moreover, the word parsnip is derived from the Latin "panacem" which means "remedy". 

When cooked, parsnips offer a wide range of textures and flavours. They may be consumed raw or cooked: grated in a salad with apple, added to mashed potatoes, deep fried, in a soup or simply roasted in the oven. Parsnips are delicious au gratin, and in tarts and quiches, in which they can be combined with other vegetables. They go very well with mushrooms, meat and smoked fish. You can also choose to make the famous Irish recipe, colcannon, by combining parsnips, potatoes and cooked onion au gratin. Sweetened parsnips may be used in tarts and cakes.

Health advantages Parsnips are a real source of folic acid, dietary fiber, vitamins (B1, B5, B6, B9, E, C, K1), minerals (potassium, calcium, manganese, zinc, magnesium) and trace elements (selenium, phosphorus). Parsnips are also recommended for their protein, carbohydrate and lipid content. 

Tip : once peeled and washed, add lemon juice to the parsnips to prevent them from turning black.

Our delicious recipe  : Parsnip chips with honey and sweet spices


Grapes for energy

Black or white, grapes are the ideal fruit for a great "cleansing" before facing winter. But also to fill up on vitamins and minerals! Grapes are a fruit that easily absorbs pesticides in its pulp, so it is wise to buy them organically.

In the kitchen, grapes can be used in sweet or savory dishes, in jam, in a pie or clafoutis, in fruit salad or with grated carrots. It also goes very well with cheese, endives, fish, poultry and meat. It can also be combined with more refined dishes such as foie gras. Raisins can also be used in many recipes, such as cookies, bread, apples stuffed with nuts or banana cake.

Health benefits Grapes contain a large quantity of flavonoids (black grapes contain twice as many as white grapes), as well as polyphenols called resveratrols. Grapes are also a source of minerals, acids and trace elements, such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, chlorine, silica, manganese, iron, iodine, zinc and copper, as well as vitamins (C, A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, E, PP, P). Its sugars are directly assimilated by the body.

Tip To prevent raisins from falling to the bottom of the pan when baking a cake, simply roll them in flour before adding them to the batter.

Our gourmet recipe Autumn tabbouleh with figs, raisins and goat's cheese


Fresh figs, the sun-kissed fruit

White, black, green or purple, the fig offers a creamy flesh with small crunchy seeds and sweet and sour flavors. It adds a touch of originality to many savory or sweet recipes, while providing fiber, potassium copper and antioxidants.

To benefit fully from it, it is preferable to consume the fig as a table fruit. But of course, it can be used in the preparation of pies, cakes, jams, fruit salads, clafoutis or gratins. It can be used in compotes, poached in a sweet wine or roasted in the oven, alone or with apples. In this case, it can be used as a dessert or as an accompaniment to poultry. It also goes well with salty flavors, such as goat or sheep cheese, or Parma ham. Otherwise, enjoy it on a slice of farmhouse bread, seasoned with pepper and a drizzle of olive oil, or sprinkle it on your salads. Dried, it can be enjoyed plain or with almonds or walnuts.

Health advantages If the fig provides little vitamin C, it is especially interesting for its content of vitamins of the B group. The fig is also rich in calcium and contains a wide variety of trace elements: iron, zinc, copper, iodine, phosphorus, manganese, and potassium for the regulation of blood pressure and the prevention of cramps and aches. Finally, the fig is very rich in fiber.

Tips : Figs are fragile, and rapidly become damaged. Do not keep your figs for more than 24 hours, unless they are unripe.

Our delicious recipe : Figs in almond and salted butter caramel sauce



September Fruit and Vegetable ListOctober Fruit and Vegetable List