If you’re anything like me and you have taste buds and a heart, fall produce is your favorite time of year. (Yes, I realize that doesn’t make sense. But it’s exactly what I meant to say.)
Autumn brings us a bounty of incredible vegetables including sweet and savory hard squashes, versatile cauliflower, sweet potatoes, dark leafy greens, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, and root vegetables. It also gives us delicious, succulent fruit like pears, apples, pomegranates, and cranberries.
I love fall produce! I count down to this time of year every year with giddy anticipation.
Every other weekend I head to the grocery store or farmer’s market to stock up on the freshest of fall’s harvest.
The only downside to fall’s plentiful yield is that these veggies often take longer to prepare and to cook. So to make sure I get to enjoy these goodies even when I’m at my laziest (which is every day after work), I take about 60-90 minutes on Saturday or Sunday in the kitchen to prep the produce I’ve brought home.
This way the food is already prepared when it’s meal time on a Tuesday, and I only need to toss my veggies of choice with oil and seasonings before cooking, serving, and enjoying.
Here’s what I do.
For Hard Squashes and Sweet Potatoes
Since butternut squash is such a beast to prepare (but completely worth it), it is definately better to prepare this one ahead of time. Peel the squash, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and insides, and cube the squash into pieces about 1/2 sq. in. in size. If you will not eat all of the squash within 5 days, lay the cubes flat on a baking sheet and freeze. Store the squash cubes in a large sealable bag.
Repeat the steps above with other fall/winter squashes and sweet potatoes, skipping the peeling step.
For Root Vegetables (Beets, Rutabagas, Turnips, etc.)
Peel the vegetables and cut into small cubes. If you will not eat all of the prepared vegetable within 5 days, lay the cubes flat on a baking sheet and freeze. Store the cubed vegetables in a large sealable bag.
Cut the cauliflower from its leafy jacket. Break the head of cauliflower into small, inch-sized florets. And don’t waste the stalks! Cut them up and enjoy them too!
Store the florets in a large sealable bag. (Cauliflower lasts a looong time in the fridge, so no need to freeze these guys!)
For Brussels Sprouts
If you’re not a fan of Brussels sprouts, it’s probably because you’ve been eating them whole.
Try shredding (or de-leafing) your Brussels sprouts, and roasting them or sautéing them in olive oil or ghee. I promise you’ll look at them differently!
When I get Brussels sprouts home, I cut off the bottoms and throw them in a food processor, shredding them coarsely. Then I put the shredded sprouts in baggies for enjoyment during the week!
For Dark, Leafy Greens and Cabbage
Wash the greens and thinly slice them. Store the chopped greens in large sealable bags.
I suggest adding a paper towel to the bag and replacing it every few days. This soaks up excess moisture in the bag. I also find that storage in the fridge lasts longer if the bag is expanded a bit with air.
With a little prep ahead of time, you can easily enjoy fall and winter’s best vegetables quickly during the week!