Happy Fall! Have Some Fruit to Celebrate

September 23, 2015

Shop seasonally with this list of fall fruits!

Fall is here away and that means fall fruit is coming into season! You might have already noticed a change in the produce supply at your local supermarket. Remember that eating “seasonally” will allow you to diversify your diet, and you may discover some produce that you love and didn’t even know existed! 

What are fall fruits? The most abundant seasonal fruits of fall include apples, pears, persimmons, pineapples and pomegranates. 

Apples are picked ripe and stored, so refrigerate them after purchase. They should be bruise-free, unblemished and firm to the touch. The best apples for baking include Granny Smith, Jonathan, McIntosh and Rome. Nutrition fun fact: the phytonutrients in apples can help regulate blood sugar, helping prevent spikes that can lead to irritability, sugar and carb cravings, mood changes, fatigue, cardiovascular issues and more.

Asian pears are picked just before maturity and ripen in storage. They are delicate and often encased in a net of foam to prevent bruising; they should be firm to the touch and refrigerated. Eat promptly. The flesh is white, juicy, and with texture like a delicate apple with the perfume of pears. Nutrition fun fact: Asian pears are rich in fiber, great for digestion and cardiovascular health.

Pears ripen best off the tree to avoid a gritty flesh. They should be smooth and unblemished. A slight yield when the stem end is pressed indicates ripeness. To ripen further, leave in a bowl or a brown paper bag at room temperature. Check daily. Nutrition fun fact: studies have shown that the skin of pears contains at least three to four times as many phytonutrients as the flesh. These phytonutrients include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and potentially anti-cancer properties.

Persimmons can ripen on the kitchen counter. Fuyu, a four sided pale yellow-orange to deep red persimmon has a firm flesh and is eaten like an apple. Hachiya is a large, oblong shape and has a deep orange skin; it should be eaten when soft. Saijo is egg shaped and reddish orange and eaten soft. Hard fleshed persimmons should be very firm and rich in color; soft-fleshed versions should yield but not be mushy. Nutrition fun fact: persimmons contain lutein and zeaxanthin both beneficial for eye heatlh.

Pineapples are generally harvested when ripe. They should be even in color (yellow), undamaged, and smell delicate at the stem; heavy sweetness indicates age. Leaves should be deep green and fruit heavy for its size. Further ripening is rarely needed. Nutrition fun fact: the core of the pineapple contains a potent anti-inflammatory that can also help with digestion.

Pomegranates are a delicious and very nutritious fall fruit. Thirteen varieties of this Iranian native grow in California. They are harvested just before maturity, and have a hard reddish shell that makes a metallic sound when tapped. Pomegranates can be refrigerated for several weeks; edible seeds become juicier and more flavorful with age. Crack and open them submersed in a bowl of cold water to release the seeds without making a huge mess! Nutrition fun fact: A compound found only in pomegranates called punicalagin is shown to benefit the heart and blood vessels. It is known to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and increases the speed at which heart blockages melt away. 

Smarter Shopping: Fruits that can be refrigerated for weeks warrant buying when on sale. But be realistic about what you and your family will actually eat.