Welcome to October! If you’ve been in denial about it, it’s time to embrace the fact that we’re entering full-blown fall territory. Unlike summer, it may have the immediate allure of pool parties and beach outings, but with its overwhelming sense of coziness and comfort, autumn may be our favorite sleeper season. To celebrate, we’ve put together your to-cook list based on what vegetables and fruits are at their peak this very month. Here are six foods in October, and what you should cook with them.
What’s in Season: Figs
Figs have a two-part season; they first peak in June and then again in September or October.
What to Make: Melon and Fig Salad with Basil Cream
Since they’re at the height of their season and perfectly sweet on their own, serve figs as simply as possible, allowing the natural flavors to have full impact. Very ripe, intensely sweet figs and melons are delicious when drizzled with a sauce of cream and basil.
What’s in Season: Pumpkins
October’s peak season for your favorite pumpkin patch and yearly jack-o’-lantern decorating, so it makes sense that pumpkins are also at their peak to eat this time of year.
What to Make: Thai Pumpkin Curry
Though this iconic autumnal fruit is usually associated with pumpkin pie, it’s equally delicious in many savory dishes, like this flavorful and filling curry, which comes together quickly and can even be made a few days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. (Pro tip: Don’t forget to save and clean the seeds so you can roast those as a snack, too.)
What’s in Season: Persimmons
Persimmons have an earthy, sweet flavor that’s well suited for fall’s cooler months. There are two common varieties: hachiyas, which are soft, and fuyus, which are firm. Find out what to how to enjoy both of them.
What to Make: Persimmons Wrapped in Smoked Ham
Take a nod from prosciutto-wrapped peaches or melon and make a beautiful hors d’oeuvre that takes the concept into autumn. Here, crisp, sweet fuyu persimmons contrast with smoky ham and a drizzle of rich balsamic syrup for a simple but impressive appetizer.
What’s in Season: Beets
In today’s market, beets are available almost everywhere year round, but they actually are at their very best when the weather starts to cool down. If your beets come with tops, cut them off and then save them for sautéing as you would Swiss chard or kale.
What to Make: Indian-Spiced Beets
Cumin, coriander and turmeric—a trio of spices commonly found in curry blends of India—lend an exotic flavor to mellow roasted beets.
What’s in Season: Apples
Honestly, what would this time of year be without crisp, refreshing and juicy apples? From tart to sweet and light to dense, more than 7,500 varieties of apples exist, so find the one that you love, buy a glut of them, and prep them to be enjoyed in countless sweet and savory recipes.
What to Make: Classic Apple Butter
This is the classic recipe we go to every apple-picking season, rich with sweet apple flavor and warm spices. As the mixture slowly cooks down, the sugar caramelizes and the apple butter turns a deep, golden brown. Spread it on toast in the morning or serve with scones for an afternoon snack—it’s a little bite of fall.
What’s in Season: Cauliflower
Cauliflower’s at its peak right now, which is a great thing, since the cruciferous vegetable can charade as many things in the kitchen: soup thickener, a hardy substitute for meat in an entree, even carb-conscious “rice” in a tabbouleh.
What to Make: Pan-Roasted Cauliflower with Gremolata
Call on cauliflower to be the star of your next meatless Monday meal. In this recipe, searing cauliflower steaks in a fry pan and then transferring them to the oven to continue roasting gives you the best of both worlds: a lightly browned, caramelized exterior and a moist, tender interior.
If you’re as seasonally-obsessed as we are, tell us: What are you into cooking right now?