Fall Favorites: Brussels Sprouts, Yams and Kabocha Squash

This article was originally published in November 2012

Embrace chilly November evenings: they’re your perfect excuse to putter about the kitchen and create all manner of cozy comfort dishes. Here are three seasonal delights we can’t wait to simmer, braise, bake and stew all winter long. Too tired to cook? Try these treasures in our deli.


Brussels Sprouts

These little gems are members of the mighty crucifer family (notice how they resemble tiny cabbages) and taste great cooked with bacon and fall fruit such as apples and pears. Like their cruciferous brethren, Brussels sprouts boast off-the-charts levels of vitamin K and vitamin C and help the body prevent cancer by helping us eliminate toxins, reduce inflammation and protect cells from damage.

Look for: firm, compact, blemish-free heads no larger than an inch in diameter, with clean stem ends

Store: unwashed and tightly wrapped in your refrigerator’s produce drawers for up to four days

Enjoy: sautéed or roasted. Avoid overcooking and you’ll also avoid their trademark pungent scent.


Yams & Sweet Potatoes

Some of us only eat these treasures at Thanksgiving, and what a shame! Sweet potatoes and yams offer hearty satisfaction any time. Pierce with a fork, wrap in foil, and bake in a 400° F oven for about 45 minutes and you’ve got yourself a sweet, creamy snack to enjoy when you need an energy boost during the week. Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are one of nature’s top sources of beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin C.

Look for: small to medium-size sweet potatoes, which are sweet and creamy, with firm, smooth and even-toned skin

Store in: a cool, dry place, such as a pantry, for up to two weeks

Enjoy: baked, stewed, steamed, boiled, and in soups and desserts. Add cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves for extra flavor and nutrition.


Kabocha Squash

This petite green squash with its sweet, smooth, bright orange interior is a mainstay of Japanese wintertime cuisine. Small wonder, since it’s at its best slowly stewed in broth and wine on the stovetop, filling the kitchen with its delicate aroma. Pair it with a flatiron steak and fresh chanterelles sautéed in butter: amazing! It also offers a delicate, pumpkin-like flavor stuffed inside ravioli. And yes, that telltale bright orange means it offers plenty of vitamin C and vitamin A during those dark winter months.

Look for: squash with a smooth, deep green rind

Store in: a cool, dark place, like a pantry

Enjoy: roasted, simmered, baked or steamed

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