Thursday, September 22, 2005

Fall is here!

Well, at least it will be at 6:23 PM EST. The Autumnal Equinox, that magical moment which only comes twice a year, when the day is as long as the night. If you ever wanted to enjoy exactly 12 hours of daylight and no more, then today would be the day to do so.

Everyone generally marks Labor Day Weekend as the end of Summer and the beginning of Autumn, but I always want to enjoy these first three weeks of September as the last hoorah of summer.

But now that Fall is here, it's time to turn our attention to the harvest, and the most exciting time of year for food. The days are shorter, less scorchingly hot, and the root vegetables come into their own. Radishes, carrots, turnips and daikon start to develop their flavors, and the squash starts to grow it's thicker skin. All the foods of the earth are storing energy for the long seasons to come. We can look forward to pumpkins and butternut squash, as well as acorn squash, for those soups, stews, and purees that nourish us throughout the Fall and Winter. Roasted with butter and perhaps a splash of Maple syrup, they warm us from within and make us think of home.

In our modern supermarkets and our obsession with having all foods availbale to us at all times, many Americans have lost touch with the seasonality of fresh, local produce. Now's the time to familiarize yourself with the foods of Autumn, and to look for their appearance. Don't buy strawberries in September and October. Instead, look for gooseberries and cranberries, and of course the backbone of autumnal fruits, the All-American Apple.

In the coming weeks, I'll be featuring the seasonal foods of Autumn with great recipes that showcase their ripeness.

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