Are you a food truck that keeps a seasonal menu? If you are, with the start of autumn upon us, it’s time to start looking to revamp your food truck menu with fall vegetables.
From September to November, the autumn harvest brings a variety of healthful and delicious produce, from artichokes to zucchini. Even though almost all produce can be grown somewhere year-round, according to the USDA, buying local seasonal produce not only potentially reduces our carbon footprint and helps local economies, it might also result in more nutritious produce.
Here’s a list of our favorite fall vegetables (in alphabetical order). You can find these fall vegetables at farmers markets and in produce departments in the fall for the best flavor and greatest value.
Top 25 Fall Vegetables For 2015
- Artichokes have a second crop in the fall that produces small to medium artichokes.
- Arugula is a cool weather peppery green harvested in winter in warm climates, summer in cool ones, and grows in many places during autumn.
- Beets are in season in temperate climates fall through spring, and available from storage most of the year everywhere else.
- Belgian Endive has a traditional season, like that of all chicories, in late fall and winter.
- Broccoli is more sweet, less bitter and sharp when harvested in the cooler temperatures of fall in most climates.
- Broccoli raabe is a more bitter, leafier vegetable than broccoli, but likes similar cool growing conditions.
- Brussels sprouts grow on a stalk, and if you see them for sale that way snap them up – they’ll last quite a bit longer than once they’re cut.
- Cabbage is bright and crisp when raw and mellows and sweetens the longer it’s cooked. The cooler the weather when it’s harvested, the sweeter it tends to taste (this effect is called “frost kissed”).
- Cauliflower may be harvested year-round, but it is by nature a cool weather crop at its best from fall into early spring.
- Celeriac/celery root is at its best in the cooler months of fall and winter.
- Chard turns bitter when it gets too hot. Chard grows year-round in temperate areas, is best harvested in late summer or early fall in colder areas, and fall through spring in warmer regions.
- Chicories are cool weather crops that come into season in late fall.
- Eggplant comes into season towards the end of summer, but bright shiny heavy-feeling specimens stay in season well into fall.
- Escarole is another chicory at its best in fall and winter.
- Fennel has a natural season is from fall through early spring. Like most cool weather crops, the plant bolts and turns bitter in warmer weather.
- Garlic is another produce item that we forget has a season; fresh garlic is at its plump, sweetest best in late summer and fall.
- Horseradish is at its best in fall and winter.
- Leeks more than about 1 1/2 inches wide tend to have tough inner cores. The top green leaves should look fresh – avoid leeks with wilted tops.
- Mushrooms (wild) have different seasons throughout the U.S. Most wild mushrooms other than morels are in-season in summer through fall.
- Okra needs heat to grow. Look for firm, plump pods in late summer and early fall.
- Parsnips look like white carrots and have a great nutty flavor. Look for thinner parsnips, since fatter ones tend to have a thick, woody core you need to cut out.
- Pumpkins are the most common winter squash and come into season in September in most areas.
- Radicchio, like all chicories, radicchio is more sweet and less bitter when the weather is cool.
- Tomatillos look like small green tomatoes with a light green papery husk.
- Zucchini have a harvest season from summer into fall in most climates.
There are many more fall vegetables we left off this list, but don’t let that stop you from adding them to your menu.
We hope this list of fall vegetables gives you some fresh new ideas for your menu. If you already have some fall vegetables set to add, we’d love to hear what your favorites are. You can share them privately via email, or publicly through Facebook or Twitter.