When it comes to good in-season foods, there is always reason to celebrate. While you may be experiencing mixed emotions with summer coming to an end, I’m happy to remind you that some of the best flavours of the year are born out of this magical time. Here are three ways to make the most of these precious months:
Get to the market.
As we move into fall, be prepared to find some of the best apples, cabbage, beets, carrots, eggplant, cauliflower, grapes, corn, potatoes, radishes, and squash at the markets in Ontario (if you live outside of Ontario, search online for what’s in season locally for you)! These are my favourite Farmers’ Markets in Toronto. Not all vendors at your local market are created equal, so use this list of questions to ask at the market to ensure you are picking up the freshest, most local, organic goods, and to make sure you know who your money is supporting. Get to know your farmer (they have the tastiest insider information!) and always remember to say “thank you”.
Preserve your favourites.
Between fermenting, brining, jamming, drying, dehydrating, freezing, and canning, there are so many ways to preserve your favourite crops, give them new flavour, or enjoy them in new ways. Do an online search for how to make your own organic pickles, or take a class on your preservation method of choice (as someone who practically thinks of fermented foods as their own food group, I suggest keeping your eyes open for upcoming workshops with Alchemy Pickle Company).
You read that right – now is the best time to plant garlic for next year. While it may be tempting to plant cloves from the grocery store, they may be unsuitable varieties for your area (or may be treated with something to increase the shelf life). Instead, get your cloves from a local company or nursery (I highly recommend Young Urban Farmers, who will help you grow your own fresh, organic food at your home). Here’s a comprehensive guide to growing your own garlic by the garlic-lovers at The Cutting Veg, and a handy chart to help you decide which varieties to grow, and how best to enjoy them!
Embrace the change in season – and take advantage of the wide varieties of food we are lucky to grow in Ontario! I’m all about silver linings, especially ones that are delicious and nourishing for our families.
Photo credit: Lisa Kates, @afoodgypsy