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The best eats from fall harvest

Cranberries

Even though you can get any fruit or vegetable no matter the time of year with modern day shipping to grocery stores, take advantage this fall when fruit peaks. Autumn fruits and vegetables are filled with an array of vibrant colors and are a powerhouse of nutrients. Here are five fall fruits and vegetables that are perfect this time of year.

Beets

This delicious root vegetable is at its peak during the fall months. Beets are famous for its crimson color, but it is also found in a golden and white variety too. The pigment that gives beets its dark red, almost purple color is betacyanin, a powerful cancer-fighting agent. Beets are packed full of vitamins and minerals including: folate, potassium and fiber. You can eat beets boiled, pickled or roasted, and is especially tasteful because of its high sugar content that caramelizes when roasted.

Persimmons

There are two main types of persimmon-astringent (most commonly sold is the Hachiya) and non-astringent (most commonly sold as the fuyu). You can tell the difference between the two by the shape; Hachiya are heart-shaped and fuyu resemble a tomato. In order to eat the astringent Hachiya, it must be completely ripe with a dark orange-red color with crackled skin to get rid of the bitter flavor. Once fully ripened, the texture of the astringent Hachiya is extremely soft almost jelly like, and the taste is sweet and floral. The non-astringent fuyu can be eaten without having to be soft and is sweet and crisp, comparable to an apple, but is also fine if slightly soft.

 Persimmons contain phytonutrients such as catechins and gallocatechins. Catechins are flavanols that have a cancer fighting agent that destroy free radicals in the body. Persimmons also contain Vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, copper, phosphorus, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin.

Persimmons are a great fruit to try this fall, eat them raw, baked or dried for a delicious and truly unique treat.  

Eggplant 

Eggplant is great to add to your diet when the weather starts getting colder outside. Eggplant is flavorsome when roasted or pureed for a dip or grilled as a side dish. Its dark purple skin and long round shape is easy to spot at any grocery store. Eggplant is loaded with vitamins and minerals such as folate, vitamins A, C, and B vitamins, and most importantly, the compound found in the skin of eggplants, chlorogenic acid. This has extremely high antioxidant activity that helps fight free radicals, lowering LDL cholesterol and protecting cells from becoming cancerous. With that being said, leave the skin on when using it in a recipe. Baked, broiled, grilled or pureed, eggplant is a versatile and healthy fall vegetable to add to your diet this year.

Cranberries 

Cranberries are a staple during Thanksgiving, but you can start enjoying this delicious colorful fruit before sitting down to a big turkey dinner. Cranberries are rich in potassium, manganese, vitamins A, C, and folate, and antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which keeps your eyes healthy. Instead of buying a wobbly tin can of cranberry sauce, make your own. Just boil cranberries with water, a cinnamon stick and some orange juice and wait until the cranberries “pop” and soften. This is an easy way to get the tasty cranberry sauce we all enjoy without the tin can shape!

Brussels sprouts

You either love their slightly bitter taste or have nightmares of eating them as a child. If you haven’t tried Brussels sprouts since your childhood, give the sprouts a second chance because they are packed full of vitamins and minerals. Brussels sprouts are a cruciferous vegetable and are rich in phytochemicals that help prevent cancer, support colon health, protects the immune system and promotes eye health. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants such as vitamins A, B 1, B2, C, K, potassium, iron, phosphorus, protein, magnesium, copper and calcium. To prepare Brussels sprouts, simply steam, boil, sauté or roast, all of which are delicious, nutritious and a great fall side dish.  

Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a nationally known registered dietitian based in New York and the creator of a proprietary high-fiber nutrition program for weight loss, wellness and for treating various medical conditions. Tanya authored the bestselling weight loss book The F-Factor Diet, and she is the first dietitian with a national line of high-fiber foods, which are sold under the F-Factor name. Become a fan of Tanya on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn, and visit her website Ffactor.com.