33 Ideas for Using November’s Best Fruits and Veggies

Bring bright flavors to your table even as fall turns colder.

While it may not seem that way, pumpkin isn't the only thing in season in November. (Though if you want to make pumpkin spice everything, we don’t blame you.) Read on for ways to use more of late fall’s delicious fresh produce, including Brussels sprouts, delicata and acorn squash, and pears—who says apples get to have all the fun?


Brussels Sprouts


These tiny, leafy cabbages are typically sold loose in containers, but if you find them sold on their stalk, buy one for the ultimate in freshness. Loose sprouts can last five to 10 days in a perforated plastic bag in a dry refrigerator vegetable bin (moisture accelerates spoilage). Sprouts on stalks last longer—up to 14 days.

Look for firm Brussels sprouts with bright green leaves. Avoid any with black spots or too many yellow leaves. Small- to medium-size sprouts are sweetest and the most tender. Larger sprouts have a tough core, an intense cabbage flavor, and require longer cooking time. If you want to shorten prep time, look for containers of cleaned, halved or already shredded sprouts at your grocery store. Halved sprouts roast up deliciously and shredded sprouts are fabulous sauteed or tossed into salads.

Brussels sprouts are rich in vitamins C and K, and are a good source of vitamin A.

Delicata & Acorn Squash


Delicata squash is small and oblong with stripes. It has a creamy, very sweet, dense flesh with a caramel-like flavor. Acorn squash is, well, acorn-shaped, with a ridged green or green and orange exterior and a sweet, dense, slightly fibrous flesh.

What makes both of these winter squash special is that you can eat their skins when cooked, which makes them so easy to prepare (no peeling!). Purchase squash that have hard, unblemished skins. Make sure to scrub them well before halving them and scooping out the seeds with a spoon.

If stored in a cool, dry area such as a pantry or cellar, whole squash will keep for months. If stored on your kitchen counter, whole squash will last for one to two weeks. Cut squash will last a few days in your fridge (no need to put whole squash there).

Though winter squash is typically used in savory preparations, it can also be cooked and pureed in quick bread and muffin recipes, and stuffed and used like a pie “crust.”

Winter squash is an excellent source of vitamins A and C as well as potassium and dietary fiber.

Pears


Apples may get all the attention, but the “other fall fruit” has so much to offer! A perfectly ripe pear is sweet, silky, and delicious on its own, but pears are also wonderful in sheet-pan dinners, stuffed desserts, soup recipes, and more.

Look for pears that are free of soft spots, nicks, or cuts. Skin color varies from variety to variety, so don’t use it as a gauge of ripeness unless you are familiar with the type. Since pears are harvested before they’re fully ripe and kept in cold storage before they are sold to consumers, you usually have to let pears ripen at home at room temperature for a few days before you enjoy them. To hasten the ripening process, you can place a few pears in a paper bag with an apple.

To check a pear for ripeness, press gently into the “neck” of the fruit; if it yields slightly, the pear is ready to eat. If you wait till the bottom part feels soft, the inside may already be brown and mushy. Enjoy ripe pears within a day or two, or refrigerate ripe pears for about five to seven days. One medium pear contains 5 grams of hearty-healthy fiber.