Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Second Harvests of Autumn

While we all hail the spring for its abundance of fresh produce including asparagus, zucchini and yellow squash, many of us forget about the second harvest that happens each fall. The fall produce harvest provides some of our favorite fall vegetables such as corn, pumpkin and leafy green vegetables. If you’re looking to add a better variety of vegetables to your autumn meals, try some of our recommendations for fall’s healthiest fresh produce.

Corn
Photo Credit

When most of us think about fall harvest, corn is the first food that comes to mind. Corn is one of the most diverse vegetables and can be boiled, roasted, grilled and creamed. Corn is a great ingredient in an Asian stir-fry meal and can be delicious when grilled and served with butter, sea salt and coarse pepper. Corn can also be dried and used to make popcorn. Popcorn is one of the most versatile healthy snacks and is one of the most accessible whole grains. Turn your next batch of popcorn into something special with gourmet flavor like Parmesan cheese and basil or Herbes de Provence - a mixture of dried savory, thyme, lavender flowers and basil.

Pumpkin

While we all purchase pumpkins in time for Halloween, we sometime focus on carving the pumpkin instead its nutritious value. The next time you carve a pumpkin, be sure to save the seeds, which are packed with vitamins and nutrients. Soak the seeds in salt water and then place them in a hot oven to roast your own pumpkins seeds. Pumpkins are a great source of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Leafy Green Veggies

This fall, be sure to take advantage of the variety of leafy green vegetables that will be available in your local grocery store. Leafy green vegetables like soy, spinach, kale, collards, Brussel sprouts, Swiss chard and broccoli are packed full of essential vitamins and nutrients that will help keep you and your family healthy into the winter months. Add leafy green vegetables to your next salad or sauté them with butter and garlic over the stove.

Leafy greens vegetables are one of the intensely healthy fall produce choices because they are a great source of lutein – a key chemical that protects the body against heart disease and stroke. Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach and collard greens are also a good source of folic acid – vitamin B. Perhaps the best benefit of leafy green vegetables is that they contain antioxidants, which help to purify the system of cancer-causing toxins and impurities.

Beets

While beets are poor, misunderstood and unpopular with many, these vegetables are a great source of the key vitamins and nutrients our bodies need to fight off sickness and infections. Beets are packed with antioxidants, and they also have an anti-inflammatory effect. Furthermore, beets work to help detoxification the body, ridding it of impurities. Beets are especially useful for eye health and can help relieve common age-related eye problems.

Post contributed by Holly Adams, a writer for CouponCroc.co.uk. Do you have a "green thumb"? Shop online for all the tools you need and save when you visit us for the latest discount vouchers.