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Fall into Florida Seasonal Cooking

Each season brings on a variety of seasonal produce to mix up your meals, inspire new recipes, and help provide cost savings. In Florida, Fall typically provides warm temperatures and the opportunity to continue to look for recipes that will keep you cool or can be cooked outdoors. They go beyond your traditional garden salads or grilled protein; remember fruits and veggies can be grilled too! Quick-cooking methods such as sauté or stir-frying combined with fresh herbs and spices can be used with canola or olive oil for a healthy option.

In Florida during October, you will find avocado, cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, and squash among others in season. When buying in-season the costs are typically lower as the availability closer to home increases and the peek freshness provides a satisfying taste eaten alone or combined with other fresh foods. This seasonal produce provides a bounty of nutrition to provide health benefits to keep our bodies strong. Vitamin C helps our bodies with immune function, healing cuts and wounds, and helps our body to absorb iron. It can be found in avocados, tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash. Squash and tomatoes also provide us Vitamin A which is important for vision and skin health. B Vitamins keep our nervous system functioning, boost immunity, and help digest protein and carbohydrate foods we eat. These vitamins can be found in squash, corn, and avocados. Our blood pressure stays in check with the right amount of potassium and can be found in avocados and tomatoes. Fiber keeps our hearts healthy and digestive system on track. Fiber can be found in squash, corn, and tomatoes. Avocados and corn also provide folate which helps us form red blood cells. Varying the color of the fresh produce to your plate helps to increase not only the nutritional benefit but the appeal and excitement for your meal.

Trying new recipes or combinations of foods keeps your meals interesting and a way to try new foods. Squash can be sautéed or stir-fried with canola or olive oil. Or grilled either cut in half or cut to ½ to 1-inch-thick slices. If grilling, coat them in olive oil, herbs, and spices then place in a grill basket or a homemade foil tray on medium heat for about 20 minutes in a grill basket or less if using a foil tray. Have you ever used a vegetable peeler other than for potatoes? Try creating veggie strips of squash for your salads and other baked dishes. Mixing whole grains, such as quinoa with squash and fresh greens creates a colorful side dish with different textures to explore. Some herbs that combine well with squash are basil, allspice, rosemary, cumin, dill, oregano, sage, tarragon, or thyme.

Tomatoes can be mixed in your traditional salads, chopped for salsas, or sliced for sandwiches or wraps. They can be blended to create a delicious sauce for pizza or pasta. Hot or cold they can be used in soups like gazpacho or tomato basil or roasted with fresh herbs and seasonings. They pair well with basil, chili powder, garlic, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, or thyme. Try cucumbers marinated, in cucumber salads, chilled soup, or use them to make a homemade tzatziki sauce. If they are a pickling variety, they can be used to make your favorite flavored pickles. Avocados can also be sliced or chopped in salads, wraps, sandwiches, or a twist on your favorite salsa. Have you ever tried substituting avocado for mayo? Give it a try for something new. Besides blending into guacamole, it can be blended into a sauce for fish or made into a creamy dressing to top your salads. Let’s not forget about corn. Keep those grills fired up and place the corn on the cobb in foil and flavor with some cilantro lime butter or for extra heat chili powder. Boil and eat on its own or slice off the cobb and mix into your favorite corn-based or greens salad. Take advantage of each growing season and try new produce available to add flavor and health to your plate. For more information on what is in season and recipe ideas visit Fresh from Florida at:  https://www.followfreshfromflorida.com/whats-in-season

 

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