Fruit: Finding Flavor in the Fall

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

I always associate fruit with summer – serving watermelon and cantaloupe at picnics, picking fresh strawberries, and eating juicy Georgia peaches. Those hot summer days make fruit a natural choice – it’s cold, full of water and refreshing.

Naturally, as cooler days move in, we gravitate towards warmer comfort foods like stews and soups. Despite technological advances to control the climate around us, somehow, our bodies still crave foods that help us stay warm or cool. Amazing.

So although fruit may not sound as “a-peel-ing” on cooler days, consider these alternatives to avoid missing out on key nutrients this fall:

  • Poached Pears – I recently discovered this gem with a colleague of mine. Choose any variety of fresh pears, peel them, then simmer them in a combination of water, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean and lemon zest. Serve them up with vanilla yogurt and walnuts for probiotics (good bacteria) and plant-based omega 3 fatty acids (to fight inflammation). Check out this recipe from Cooking Light.
  • Baked Apples – Which varieties are best for baking? Not sure myself, I consulted From my experience, you can’t really go wrong, but there are definitely some apples that bake better than others. I recently bought some Honeycrisp apples and found they make a great applesauce. Looking to explore local varieties in Georgia? Check out
  • Frozen Berries – Blueberries and blackberries – both rich in the flavonoid quercetin – can be tough to find fresh this time of year, and if you do find them, they are usually pretty pricey. Consider frozen berries instead. Buy a bag of each, let them thaw, sprinkle with a dash of sugar, then keep in the refrigerator. Use them on top of plain Greek yogurt, add them to a whole grain muffin mix, or blend in a smoothie.
  • Dried Tart Cherries – Imported sweet cherries may be available in the fall but like berries, the price tag may be high. Consider dried tart cherries instead. Take a ¼ cup and mix with ¼ cup of almonds, pistachios and cashews for an afternoon snack. It’s chewy, crunchy, tart, and a bit salty all at the same time. The nutrients are concentrated (lots of anthocyanins) and so are the calories, so keep servings small.
  • Cranberries – A Thanksgiving tradition, cranberries (and most berries) are packed full of anthocyanins – antioxidants that may help reduce the risk of cancer. Looking for a simple way to use fresh cranberries this Thanksgiving? Try this relish that my colleague, Ashley Ritchie, RD and I recently served up at the Cancer Support Community Atlanta:

1 orange, peel, segment, coarsely chop and remove seeds 1 (12 oz) bag cranberries (thawed if frozen) 1 medium sweet apple, chopped 1/4 tsp allspice 4-5 tbsp sugar

Pulse fruit with allspice and sugar in batches in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a bowl and stir in additional sugar to taste.

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