Photo credit: Tanantha Couilliard.

Fall season has officially begun. It seems some Seattleites don’t want to let summer go since they enjoyed a nice, lingering summer season. But there are great things about fall: cool, crisp breezes in the morning, the changing color of leaves, warm spices, and heavy-laden pumpkins. Produce and fruit at farmer’s markets have also heard the call and made the switch. Strawberries, raspberries, and mangoes have been replaced with berries, squash, apples, and carrots.

Utilizing seasonal produce is a wise culinary trick that home cookers can apply to their meals. Well-known chefs, restaurants, and food services are adhering to a new philosophy, incorporating local seasonal ingredients into their menu to create a variety of foods. It also supports local farmers – a new philanthropy in the food business.

Apple pies, pear tarts, apple crepes, or apple/pear muffins are great and simple fall desserts. As a cook enthusiast, tweaking things up and getting creative with seasonal fruits are a way to keep your cooking alive. If you don’t have apples, pears are a good substitution. Peach and nectarines can also keep you at play. Preserve them and make jam for use in the future or offer them as a gift to friends and family. Pumpkin seeds are one of the most nutritious seeds around. They’re sweet and nutty. While pumpkin seeds are available all year round, they are the most fresh in Fall when pumpkins are in season. Try baking pumpkin seed cookies for a tasty twist on an ordinary recipe!

Spices that give you warm flavors like cinnamon, star anise, cumin, or chili powder are often used in cooking and baking. Warm flavors bring out the aromas of fall. Poached peach with sugar, cinnamon, and star anise is a great snack for afternoon tea. Or add cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika to your cooking for a fall flavor. As the weather cools, grilling outside isn’t ideal but smoked paprika adds an earthy flavor to many dishes. Use half of a required measurement of paprika and roast food in the oven instead of grilling for easy preparation.

Potatoes, beets, squash, and roots also make a marked appearance. They can be cooked in so many ways from soup to dessert. It sounds crazy but butternut squash cupcakes do exist and are delicious!

Photo credit: Tanantha Couilliard.

Mixing fruit and root produce brings fall flavor to the next level. Combining apple and parsnip makes for a savory silky soup and with a touch of cream and cinnamon — heaven is within your reach.

These fall produce and fruits are available everywhere. Farmers markets are a budget-friendly source and your favorite grocery stores will run a promotion selling these, making them even more accessible. All you have to do is adapt it to your menu. Bring out your all-time favorite potato soup, pie, and casserole recipes and get your hands dirty! Finding non-seasonal produce and paying extra wouldn’t be a cooking pleasure.

Seasonal changes such as leaves transforming into bright, fiery reds and oranges, don’t have to be only observed. Fall can be a tangible, thrilling experience. This includes ingredient and menu changes. Although summer is over, there are great things to look forward to with fall. Let’s indulge ourselves with fall flavors!

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