Eating with the Seasons: Autumn

October 15, 2015

We live in a great country where we can get any fruit or vegetable at any time of the year. That’s good news and bad news for us. It’s good because it’s a sign of abundance. It’s not so good because in all that abundance, we have lost touch with what’s in season—and how foods change and shift from cold to warm weather. We eat strawberries at Christmas and beef stew in the summer and wonder why our bodies are uncomfortable in the weather of any particular season. Mother Nature has blessed us with a great variety of foods that are constantly changing, constantly providing us with new excitement, as well as the particular nutrients and levels of moisture we need in any particular weather.

If we eat in season.

The end of summer makes me sad, but I am consoled by the crisp, fresh air that tells us autumn has arrived. The farm market’s bins of corn are replaced by barrels of apples, the air scented with their perfume.

As we move indoors after an active summer, we turn on the ovens and seek warmth and comfort as we face the long cold days of winter that we know are on the heels of this beautiful season. Mother Nature is more than happy to accommodate us with her bountiful harvest of veggies and fruits just right to get us ready for winter.

The produce of fall is has less moisture, is less cooling and more inclined, (through longer cooking and nutrient density), to keep us warm and cozy, comforted and sated. According to Chinese medicine, this is the time of year when we turn more inward and nourish the body with warmth for the cold days ahead. The sweet fruits and vegetables of the harvest help to balance and nourish the spleen, pancreas, and stomach, helping us to feel calm, centered, and warmer.

Fall-friendly produce includes:

  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Butternut squash
  • Cranberries
  • Endive
  • Escarole
  • Figs
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Grapes
  • Greens (kale, collards, bok choy)
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Pears
  • Pecans
  • Persimmons
  • Pumpkin
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Walnuts
  • Watercress
  • Winter squash