The Wonderful Crops of Fall

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Fall is here! When it comes to the fall season fall foods, mostly known as comfort foods instantly come to mind. A few foods that come to mind are, pumpkins, apples, soups, and chilies. Below are a few of the wonderful nutritional benefits that a few fall fruits and vegetables provide.

Pumpkin: With the pumpkin craze in full swing for the season, this winter squash also has a lot of health benefits. Pumpkins aid in weight loss, boost your mood, immune system, and strengthens your heart. With nutrients like vitamin C, antioxidants, and amino acids you can’t go wrong with this healthy food.

Apples: Full of fiber and antioxidants, apples will keep you slim, full, and healthy. This fruit is also known to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Soups: There are so many varieties of soups that be made. You can combine lots of fall vegetables together to make a delicious soup. Vegetables such as butternut squash, beets, black beans and corn can all be used to make a warm hearty soup.

Butternut squash: A good source of dietary fiber, providing you with more than 25% of your daily needs. It is full of healthy, complex carbohydrates and has a low glycemic index of 51, making it a filling option. Also, a great source of fiber, as well as vitamins including A, C, E and B vitamins along with calcium, magnesium, and zinc.

Beets: Source of Vitamin A, B, C, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, carotenoids and dietary fiber which can help minimize serum cholesterol. 

While grocery shopping during the fall also try eggplants, which are rich in nasunin, which protects your brain cells from oxidation, pomegranate helps fights the buildup of fat in your arteries, and of course we can’t leave out cranberries. Cranberries are full of antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties. It can improve bladder health and has been shown to defend against breast, colon, lung and prostate cancer.

Enjoy the cool weather that the fall season brings as well as the fall crops and don’t forget to visit your local farmer’s market where you can purchase a variety of fall crops. Please enjoy the recipe below.

Butternut Lasagna Soup

photo by natural-chef-carolyn-nicholas-ojposW2CPno-unsplash

Ingredients

• 2 Pounds Butternut Squash
• 1 Medium Yellow onion Diced
• 4 Cloves Garlic Minced
• 2 Tablespoons Butter
• 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
• 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
• 5 Lasagna noodles, Broken into bite-sized pieces
• 8 Cups Chicken or Vegetable Broth, Divided
• 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
• 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
• 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
• Salt & Pepper, to taste
• 2 15 Ounce can Cannellini beans, Drained & Rinsed
• 1 Cup Shredded mozzarella cheese
• 1/2 Cup Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. In a large stockpot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and butter over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the onion to the pot and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Then, add the garlic and cook one more minute stirring constantly.
  3. Add the squash and 6 cups of the stock to the pot along with the oregano, thyme, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until squash is fork-tender.
  5. Remove the squash chunks to a blender and puree until smooth, then return to pot. **Alternately, using a handheld immersion blender, puree the squash right in the pot until smooth.
  6. Add the remaining broth, and broken lasagna noodles to the pot with the squash.
  7. Simmer for 10 minutes, until noodles are al dente.
  8. Remove the pan from the heat and add the beans, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. Stir for 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted.

Recipe taken from CBSN Pittsburgh website

For more information on food safety, health, and nutrition topics please contact N.C. Cooperative Extension, Franklin County Center at 919-496-3344 or Dominque Simon, Commercial and Family & Consumer Science Extension Agent, at dominque_simon@ncsu.edu.