I always found that fall was the season of the earth. Warm colors, humidity, smells of humus and wood fire, fog, cool weather and rain. The earth seems to catch its breath after summer. It is dozing off, getting ready to hibernate and encourages us to do the same.
What wouldn't we give to be a squirrel and huddle in our den all winter long, waking up only to eat our reserves?
Autumn dishes often reflect this: warm, velvety soups, aromatic mushrooms and tasty venison. Warm and reassuring meals to enjoy with your family, in the warmth of the house, when the weather is gloomy.
For the past few decades, we have become accustomed to eating all vegetables and fruit at any time of the year. Even in January, we can still find some sad, wrinkled strawberries in our supermarkets. However, there are several downsides to eating off-season products.
The ecological footprint
Summer fruits and vegetables need sun and heat to grow. Fall is therefore far from being a good season for this kind of production. Therefore, they are most often grown in other countries (Spain, Italy, Portugal, etc.) before being transported to our countries, further north. This transport represents an enormous energy cost and its repercussions are harmful to the environment.
Supermarkets prefer for fruits and vegetables to arrive on their shelves at the beginning of their ripening process so that they don't rot too quickly. The impact of these requirements, however, leads to an early harvest of goods, which are picked immature and continue to ripen during transport and sometimes even on store shelves. This has unfortunate consequences for our meals. For a fruit or vegetable to be bursting with nutrients, it must reach maturity on the plant.
This is the case for seasonal products that are picked or harvested later in the ripening process and therefore contain more nutrients.
Lack of variety
The key to a healthy, balanced and enjoyable diet is variety. Eating different foods according to the seasons is an excellent way to diversify nutritional intake and tastes and to discover new recipes.
All these reasons increasingly encourage us to consume seasonal and local products. You don't feel like it because you have the impression that choices are very limited in the fall? Fear not! We have prepared an inexhaustive list of food products for you that can be easily found in autumn in our countries.
Apples, pears, clementines, oranges, cranberries, grapes, lemons, kiwis, tangerines, etc. All these fruits will allow you to fill up with vitamins. To vary the pleasures, remember to alternate fresh fruit, cooked fruit pies, fruit poached in syrup, freshly squeezed juices and compotes.
Carrots, cabbage, turnips, beets, leeks, endives, pumpkins, onions, chards, fennels, squash, parsnips, salsify, celery, Jerusalem artichokes, etc. So many vegetables that can be eaten in soup, but also sautéed in butter, roasted in the oven or processed in delicious casseroles. The secret is to find the cooking you like and not to have too light a hand on the seasoning.
Doe, deer, hare, duck, pheasant, rabbit, boar, etc. These meats are packed with flavor and generally cooked rare or medium and served with roasted seasonal vegetables and/or mushrooms and potatoes. Our advice for an amazing meal? Use a good sauce. Dare to serve sweet and sour combinations or cream sauces and let yourself be enchanted.
Morels, oyster mushrooms, porcini mushrooms, chanterelles, truffles, boletus, black trumpets, parasol mushrooms, jelly drops, etc. There is really something for all tastes and all budgets. Try, taste and find what you like. For amateurs, it is even possible to grow their own mushrooms at home using kits. A fun way to learn to appreciate their complex and woody aromas.
Do not neglect (chest)nuts either. It’s delightful, in itself or as a side dish, because they bring an unmatched richness and creaminess to all your dishes.
However, even if we really want to, not all of us have the capacity to consume local and seasonal food consistently. So don't feel too guilty and treat yourself. You can enjoy fresh summer fruits and vegetables, but don't forget that they are also available frozen (picked or harvested once they are ripe, sometimes even in our country, and therefore bursting with nutrients) or canned (whose nutritional intake is still satisfactory), which at least has the merit of reducing the energy cost of transportation.
With these table tips that we hope you will find useful, we wish you a beautiful autumn season for your culinary evenings.