Autumn in San Diego: How to Prepare 10 Fall Superfoods

We get so used to produce being available year-round that sometimes it is hard to remember that fruits and veggies are still seasonal products. Each has a time of year when it tastes the best and its nutrients have peaked.

Check out these tasty Fall superfoods that are at the height of ripeness and flavor in autumn, and are so simple to prepare! For the very freshest selections, remember to shop at your favorite local San Diego farmers market.

  1. Apples – There are over 2,500 varieties of apples grown in the U.S. alone. From tart and tangy to crisp and juicy, apples are one superfood that truly has something for everyone. And they’re brimming with powerful antioxidants, Vitamin C and fiber. Try this deliciously easy homemade applesauce recipe with no added sugar!
  2. Pumpkin / Butternut Squash – These two low-calorie fruits are similar in both their texture and their superior nutritional makeup, including fiber, betacarotene and almost 15,000 IUs of Vitamin A in just one cup! Use pure pumpkin puree in oatmeal, smoothies, baked goods or hummus. Add roasted butternut squash to mac ‘n cheese, chili or virtually any casserole to make it a super-dish.
  3. Cranberries – Sorry, but that ridged jelly mold that slinks out of a can doesn’t count toward your superfood servings here. But real, whole cranberries certainly do! Cranberries actually outrank all other berries in terms of their disease-fighting antioxidant power. There are dozens of ways to cook and incorporate this amazing fruit into all of your favorite meals and snacks.
  4. Parsnips – Autumn is harvest season for root vegetables like these guys, which look like white carrots and taste a bit like them, too. Parsnips’ nutty, sweet flavor offers you hefty antioxidant benefits from potassium, folate and Vitamin C. Parsnips taste wonderful in soups, sauteed or even mashed like potatoes.
  5. Leeks – Leeks are long, green stalks with white bottoms that can be chopped and added to a vast array of autumnal foods like quiches, chilis, casseroles and soups. Although they taste similar to onions and shallots, their flavor is a bit more delicate. Leeks are famous for containing prebiotics — the fiber that stimulates the production of probiotics (good bacteria) that enhance digestive health.
  6. Rutabaga – If you have no clue what this vegetable looks like, you’re not alone. A cross between a cabbage and a turnip, this orange-brown superfood is rich in fiber and vitamin C and has tons of anti-cancer phytonutrients, as well. Rutabagas have a mild taste, similar to potatoes (and are a great low-carb substitute for them), and are absolutely delicious when roasted or baked.
  7. Dates – Harvested September through December, dates are a robust autumnal superfood that can be eaten dried, stuffed, baked or pureed. Dates can be considered an almost ideal food because they’re high in protein, have at least 15 minerals, and boast over 20 types of amino acids. But since dates are high in natural sugars, they should be eaten in moderate quantities.
  8. Pears – Whether you love the bright green Bartlett or prefer the more modest brown Bosc, pears are without a doubt one of fall’s most widely enjoyed superfoods. Rich in vitamin C and copper, pears also provide nearly 25% of your entire day’s recommended fiber intake. You will find pears used throughout San Diego restaurants’ menus in the Fall in dishes like fresh, crisp salads and healthy, delectable desserts.
  9. Cauliflower – In addition to its many other major nutrients, this fall superfood is known for its high concentration of sulforaphane, which has been shown to kill cancer stem cells. Cut cauliflower florets into bite-sized chunks, sprinkle with salt and and olive oil, and roast in the oven for a fantastically simple side dish. If you want some more flavor or crunch, sprinkle on panko breadcrumbs or grated parmesan!
  10. Pomegranate – Pomegranates have significant amounts of three disease-fighting types of antioxidants — tannins, anthocyanins and ellagic acid. These powerful antioxidants have been shown in studies to kill cancer cells and greatly reduce joint inflammation. Many people eat pomegranates as a snack, but you can also use the arils (the juice-filled seed pods) in numerous cooked dishes and salads.

For the most delicious, healthy recipes and best nutrition tips for your whole family, check out all of Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups’ helpful articles.

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