As the weather turns cooler and the leaves begin to fall, many people indulge in all sorts of seasonal pumpkin-spiced drinks and treats. While some of these goodies do contain real pumpkin, a great source of vitamins A and C, most rely on nutrient-devoid sugary syrups to imitate the taste. Why not look beyond sugary pumpkin-spiced fare and enjoy other healthy, economical, and easy to prepare autumn harvest produce instead?
This sweet vegetable is full of vitamin A, C, and B6 as well as manganese, and copper. It has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and works to regulate blood sugar in the body. Sweet potatoes can be easily baked and topped with your favourite traditional toppings for a step-up on regular baked potatoes. Or, enjoy sweet potatoes peeled, chopped and roasted as sweet potato fries or as part of a vegetable hash or soup.
This nutty-flavored, low calorie, no cholesterol fruit is a cousin to pumpkin. Like pumpkin, butternut squash contains high amounts of vitamins A as well as B-complex vitamins, including folate. Butternut squash can be served in both sweet and savoury dishes after peeling and chopping. Raw squash adds a mild crunch to salads while roasted squash can be enjoyed in soups, pastas, and quick breads. Butternut squash seeds are full of protein and are a great snacking option after cleaning and roasting.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away for good reason; apples are a great source of energy, fibre, vitamin C, and B-complex vitamins. These sweet, juicy, crunchy fruits are available year-round but are at their best locally in the fall. Apples are typically enjoyed as an easy and portable snack. However, this fruit is also frequently featured in pies, crumbles, and other baked desserts. Apples are less commonly included in savoury dishes but can be equally delicious chopped or grated onto salads and pureed into soups or used as a side dish for meats such as pork.
Harvest Squash Medley Recipe (Taste of Home)
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 25 min. Bake: 1 hour
6 cups water
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup orange juice
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 small apples, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- In a large saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add squash and return to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain. Place squash and sweet potatoes in a greased 13×9-in. baking dish.
- In a small saucepan, combine the honey, orange juice, butter, orange peel, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour over squash and potatoes.
- Cover and bake at 350° for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover; stir in apples. Bake 30-35 minutes longer or until tender, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with walnuts. Yield: 10 servings.