Find the best prices on fall foods while in season
The last two months of year are filled with holidays that feature food. Traditional dishes and favorite family recipes dominate the menu. For many that means stretching the budget to cover all the extra ingredients needed to prepare those special meals. But it also provides an opportunity to stock up on seasonal foods that aren’t as plentiful any other time of year while they are at their lowest price. Take advantage of these bargains to reap their nutritional benefits all year long.
- Apples. Buy them in baskets at farms stands and start making applesauce! It’s easy to do and freezes beautifully. Skip the sugar and season with your own signature spice blends using cinnamon, clove and allspice. Freeze it in individual and meal sized plastic containers or zip-top freezer bags. If you have a fruit dehydrator, make dried apple slices to snack on or to add to baked goods, oatmeal and pilafs. Visit the New York State Apple Association or the Washington Apple Commission for the best recipes and information about different varieties.
- Fresh Cranberries. Get them in bulk or bags to load up your freezer after rinsing and placing in freezer-grade storage bags to preserve their quality. Use some to make a big batch of homemade cranberry sauce that you can put into little jars and give away as holiday favors to go with all that leftover turkey. They’re also good to have on hand for decorating, garnishing cocktails and dehydrating to make your own “Craisins.” The Cranberry Institute has answers to all your questions about their nutritional content and emerging health research.
- Pomegranates. Like apples, the fruit can be stored at refrigerator temperatures (32⁰ – 41⁰ F) for up to seven months. The whole fruit can also be frozen for over a year in heavy zip-top bags. Just defrost completely before using. The arils found inside the fruit are the edible part. To freeze, remove the arils from the fruit and place them in single layer on a sheet pan until frozen, then transfer to a freezer bag for up to 6 months. Get more health and nutrition information plus ways to use them from the Pomegranate Council.
- Walnuts. They can be stored in their shells for 8 months at room temperature or shelled and frozen for a year or more. Walnuts are ideal on their own as a snack or can be added to everything from appetizers to desserts. You can find all you need to know about these nutritious nuts, including recipes, from the California Walnut Board.
- Canned Pumpkin. Storage is no problem, but if you don’t load your pantry now you may not find this powerhouse of good nutrition so easily the rest of the year. A ½ cup serving of canned pumpkin provides more than 100% of your daily allowance for Vitamin A and 20% of the Daily Value for fiber– that’s 5 grams, and has only 40 calories. There are recipes galore on the Libby’s Pumpkin site, and they’re not all pie!