4 Must-Have Fall Foods
I’ve rounded up the best Fall foods to get you in the mood for a brand new season.
BY ALEXANDRA WEE, Staff Columnist
Ah, autumn. You have no idea how long I’ve waited with sweaters, socks and a cup of cocoa in hand for you to blow in. And this weekend, I’ll be lighting my gingerbread scented candle to celebrate your coming.
Maybe I’ll make some apple muffins too! Even if you’re bummed about packing up the flip flops and saying good-bye to summer, you’ve got to love the feasts of fall. Fresh-baked pies, cider, turkey and stuffing, Mmm.
That’s why I’ve rounded up the best Fall foods to get you in the mood for a brand new season—even better than Glee’s—as well as reasons on why this particular crop of picks rock for your health, and easy ways to whip up a batch of something delicious or just sneak a taste.
Love’ em: Carved or canned, pumpkins have a bounty of benefits to offer your body and your taste buds this fall. Low calorie and healthy baking substitutes, these beta-carotene-rich relatives of the squash family are packed with Vitamin A—for healthy eyes—and Vitamin C—for protection against various cancers—which together do great deeds for your immune system. The pulp of the pumpkin and its seeds are also full of magnesium, which helps maintain your bones and teeth, potassium, zinc and tons of good dietary fiber. Just snacking on a handful of seeds a day can do wonders for your skin—and your happiness (the L-tryptophan-filled-flesh has chemical compounds that trigger feelings of well being)! Linus was right, the pumpkin is truly great.
Eat ‘em: Skip the boring bagged seeds (often loaded with extra salt) and roast your own! Preheat your oven to 375. In a bowl, whisk together an egg white, ¼ cane sugar, ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper and a pinch or two of sea salt. Add a cup of fresh pumpkin seeds (well rinsed and dried if freshly scooped out) and toss. Spread seeds out on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes or until golden. Sprinkle with more sugar and cayenne and season with salt to taste. (Recipe adapted from 101cookbooks.com.)
Love ‘em: Whoever started the “Apple a day keeps the doctor away” bit had it right to the last bite. Apples can not only help protect against asthma, diabetes, and weight gain but studies have also shown its contribution to prevention of breast cancer, lung cancer, Alzheimer’s, and high cholesterol. Now, why anyone, whether worried about the doctor or not, would pass up this sweet and crunchy, just-enough-juicy fruit any day bemuses me. From the grocer’s to the orchard, red, green or yellow, these fellas are always my favorite fresh pick any time of the year.
Eat ‘em: Bake them, juice them, chop them, dip them, apples are hands-down my number one kitchen staple for the next few months. For one, they smell so gosh-darn good in a pie or as a crisp but if your cravings are more savory take applesauce and pork chops to a new level and fear not a fab apple marinade for your meats and veggies. Until then, I present the easiest baked apples ever: core two apples and spoon each with a sugar mixture (2 tbs. brown sugar, 1 tsp. ground nutmeg and 1 tsp. ground cinnamon). Slice a tsp. of butter atop each apple and microwave for 4 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle with granola, raisins or dried cherries. (Recipe adapted from allrecipes.com.)
Love ‘em: Antioxidant overload anyone? These health-approved baby berries (outranking almost every fruit and vegetable!) shouldn’t have to wait until Thanksgiving dinner to make an appearance on your plate. Their versatility—consume them cooked, dried or fresh—welcomes the most culinary creative and any way you make them, they’re still packed full of vitamins. Cranberries have even been found to contain proanthocyanidin, a compound that can prevent plaque from growing on your pearly whites. Sweet.
Eat ‘em: Toss a couple cups of popped white corn with a handful of almonds, cranberries and dark chocolate chips for a snack-fix, yummy mix of “healthy” and “heaven” in a bowl.
Love’em: As a kid, I used to wrinkle my nose when I caught whiff of this root being peeled and chopped in our kitchen. Twenty years later I still make the same scrunched up face but I’ve taught my taste buds to toughen up for all the great health powers ginger’s got in tow. Effective against nausea, motion sickness, heartburn, cold and flu prevention, migraines (and even menstrual cramp relief), ginger is the number one natural remedy and painkiller for plenty of common ailments.
Eat ‘em: My discovery of candied ginger aside, I’ve found the root’s strong taste to be not all that bad. In fact, aside from gingerbread, ginger is actually a yummy spice to work with from garlic chicken and nutty cookies. For a simple tea (and I do love tea), here’s how to brew: set 1 ½ tsp. grated ginger in a bowl and fill with 1 ½ cups boiling water. Let sit for 10 minutes then strain into a large mug and stir in 1 ½ tsp sugar to taste. Add more water if the ginger is too strong at first. (Recipe adapted from food.com.)