While wandering the golf course on a beautiful October day last fall and picking apples off the trees, it occurred to the Accidental Locavore that maybe, just maybe, it’s not really a dislike of fall produce, but possibly I’m guilty of seasonal profiling.
While I’ll happily gorge on asparagus, ramps, morels and strawberries the minute they start to appear, apples, and any form of winter squash generally get the cold shoulder from me. I’m always so ho-hum about them — cooking them and enjoying them on an as-needed basis, but never really embracing them.
However, this winter, I made a recipe for butternut squash from Ottolenghi’s Plenty More that was wonderful and could make me a believer. And when I feel like they’ve been sitting around too long, there’s always dehydrating them for the dog (or unsuspecting guests). Like most fruits and vegetables, a fresh-picked crisp apple has a lot going for it, great flavor and texture, that you don’t get later in the year. But the days get shorter, leaves fall off trees and you know it’s going to be progressively colder. Not good.
Spring on the other hand, brings all sorts of young greens. There are morels and ramps to be foraged for, or bought at a farmers’ market — which are back in business. Asparagus hit the stores, getting bigger (my favorites, yes, I’m a size queen) as the season progresses. Artichokes, another favorite, arrive from the other coast and strawberries introduce months of berries and cherries. There are all my favorite flowers — daffodils, tulips, peonies and lilacs. The days get longer and warmer and sorry, you can’t begin to argue that anything in October beats that!
Even though I might be a candidate for fall tolerance training (butternut squash matter?), I love a day where it’s light past 5:00, I can dust off the barbecue and save Frank from washing a pile of pots and pans. Give me spring lamb, asparagus any way, and a bunch of daffodils from the garden and I’m happy! What about you? Any arguments for squash and apples?