18 ways to enjoy September’s best fruits and veggies

Summer may be winding down, but there's still so much delicious produce to eat.

September is a big month for change: we’re saying goodbye to the warmer weather, the kids are back at school, and many of us will be heading back to the office after 18 months of working from home.

One thing you can always rely on is fresh, in-season foods from your local supermarket or farmer's market. Read on for ways to cook with some of the month’s freshest produce, including grapes, cauliflower, and (of course!) apples.


Apples


Nothing says autumn like crisp, juicy apples. If you’re lucky enough to pick your own, look for apples that are firm, unblemished, and twist easily off the tree. Store-bought apples should have a fresh, lightly floral fragrance. Avoid any that seem bruised or overripe; they’ll produce higher levels of ethylene, a gas that hastens the ripening of fresh produce.

Keep apples in a cool area of your kitchen if you plan to use them within a few days. For longer storage, place them in a sealed plastic bag and refrigerate them, separate from other produce, for up to several weeks. Wash apples well before eating. If you’ve cut them up, stop them from browning by brushing them with lemon or orange juice.

Apples are an excellent source of fibre and vitamin C. Almost half of an apple’s vitamin C and most of its fibre are found in the skin, so eat them unpeeled for maximum nutritional benefit.

Cauliflower


Though this cruciferous vegetable is available year-round, its peak season typically begins in September. Look for heads of cauliflower with tightly packed florets and fresh green leaves. Avoid any with blemishes or soft spots. While white cauliflower is most common, green, yellow, orange, and purple cauliflower are starting to become more mainstream.

Refrigerate unwashed cauliflower in a plastic bag in the salad drawer in the fridge for four to five days. Wash well before trimming and cutting into florets or steaks, ricing, or cooking whole. Don’t toss the leaves - they're delicious roasted!

Cauliflower is rich in vitamin C and is also a good source of folate and vitamin B6.

Grapes


Grapes come in a wide variety of colours and flavours, and new varieties seem to crop up each year. Purchase plump, firm grapes that are still firmly attached to the stem, which is a sign of freshness.

Store grapes, unwashed, in a perforated plastic bag in your fridge for up to one week.

Grapes have a lot of health benefits: they're a good source of potassium and vitamin C, and one portion of grapes contains about ¼ of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K. The skin of red grapes is especially nutritious since it’s packed with heart-healthy antioxidants.