Fall vegetables — leaves, stalks, bulbs, and roots — usually need some type of preparation to bring out their full flavor. Learn selection and storage tips and tricks to keep veggies fresh, along with our favorite recipes featuring fall produce. For even more info, check out the digital edition of Seasons Magazine!
Look for the Hy-Vee Homegrown label in the produce department for fresh autumn vegetables grown within 200 miles of your store.
How to Select: Look for bright green, firm, compact sprouts with unblemished leaves. Avoid wilted and yellow leaves.
How to Prep: Trim the stalk and remove the outer leaves. Cut an X into the base if cooking whole, or cut sprouts in half through the core. Slice again for quarters. Finely shaving the sprout is another option.
How to Cook: Saute over high heat with olive oil and spices. Finish with a splash of water for added steaming. Roast in a high-heat oven, or fry on a stove top or in a deep fryer. Serve sprouts raw, finely shaved, in a salad.
How to Store: Remove any wilted or yellow leaves, but don't wash or trim sprouts until you're ready to use them. Keep in the refrigerator in a perforated plastic bag for up to 5 days.
Best For: Side dishes, in salads, or added to mac and cheese.
Serve With: Sweet smoked bacon, blue cheese cream crumbles, and honey.
How to Select: Look for small, firm beets with a deep red color and unblemished skin. The taproots (pointy tips) and leaves should still be attached.
How to Prep: Rinse under warm water. To serve raw, remove skin with a vegetable peeler. Or cook, then rub skin off with a paper towel. Cut and slice to use as needed.
How to Store: Trim leaves to about 2 inches from roots. Place beets unwashed and loose in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Or keep them in a dark place for up to 3 days.
Best For: Sandwiches and salads when raw, or a side dish when roasted or grilled.
Serve With: Baby arugula and chopped pecans.
How to Select: Look for firm stalks with moist and fresh ends. Heads should have tight, green florets and very mild aroma.
How to Prep: Rinse right before using. Cut florets from the stems. Soak in cold water for 10 minutes to crisp, if serving raw.
How to Cook: Steam, blanch, bake, or grill broccoli, or eat it raw.
How to Store: Place broccoli unwashed in an open plastic bag in the refrigerator or wrap in a damp paper towel. Newly picked broccoli stays fresh for up to 10 days. To freeze, blanch and cut broccoli in hot water for 5 minutes, then shock in cold water for 5 minutes. Drain and place broccoli in freezer bags and freeze for up to 1 year.
Best For: Pasta, salads, veggie trays, or stir-fries with chicken, beef, or tofu.
Serve With: Slivered almonds and shaved parmesan cheese.
How to Select: Look for leeks that have large white and light green sections that are firm and have roots at the bottom. Smaller leeks are more flavorful than large ones.
How to Prep: Rinse to remove dirt and trim off dark green tops where they start fading into light green. Remove roots; slice in half lengthwise. Rinse off dirt before chopping.
How to Cook: Leeks are prepared similarly to onions. They can be cut into large chunks or small pieces. Just make sure to cook them thoroughly.
How to Store: Place leeks in the crisper drawer of your fridge. To freeze, clean them and freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer them to a freezer bag.
Best For: Soups, pastas, risottos, stuffings, pizzas, or as a side dish on their own.
Serve With: Shredded Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper.
How to Select: Look for firm, smooth potatoes with evenly colored skin free of sprouts and any green tinge.
How to Prep: Gently scrub with a vegetable brush under cool, running water. To peel, use a vegetable peeler or paring knife.
How to Cook: Boil (to mash), bake, roast, or fry on the stove top or in a deep fryer.
How to Store: Store unwashed in a cool, dark, well-ventilated place in a bag that allows potatoes to breathe (paper or perforated plastic). Potatoes should not be refrigerated.
Best For: Baking/roasting, boiling and frying, and for riced/grated dishes.
Serve With: Chopped fresh rosemary and parsley.
How to Select: Look for firm carrots with bright and smooth skin. Medium-size carrots with tapered ends are more tender than thicker carrots.
How to Prep: Wash and scrub to remove dirt or contaminants. Cut away the outer layer and trim a quarter inch off the fat end.
How to Cook: Steam or roast. Cooking brings out sweet flavor and breaks down tough outer skins, releases beta-carotene, and makes the nutrients more usable in the body.
How to Store: Clip off any greens and store carrots in perforated plastic bags in the crisper drawer. They'll last for a few weeks.
Best For: Eating raw in salads and side dishes.
Serve With: Chopped fresh thyme.
How to Select: Look for small- to medium-size sweet potatoes that are firm with smooth, unblemished skin.
How to Prep: Remove the skin with a vegetable peeler and cut as needed with a chef's knife. Or clean skin with a vegetable brush if cooking with the skin on.
How to Cook: Release the sweet flavor by almost any cooking method — roasting, grilling, stir-frying, steaming, boiling, sauteing, or microwaving.
How to Store: Place in a cool pantry in a well-ventilated container for up to 2 weeks. The cold temperature of the refrigerator negatively affects the starches in potatoes. Only store in the fridge once potatoes are prepped for cooking.
Best For: Salads, soups, or side dishes topped with cheese or other vegetables.
Serve With: Plain Greek yogurt and fresh dill.
How to Select: Look for very hard roots with no insect damage and with bright, fresh green leaves. Avoid brown or wilted leaves.
How to Prep: Remove greens and wash roots well; trim the root ends. Eat whole or slice as desired.
How to Cook: Blanch and shock radishes to retain vibrant color. Stir-fry for a short time to take off the edge of spiciness.
How to Store: Keep radishes wet. Untrimmed, unwashed radishes can be partially submerged in water and kept in the fridge or on the counter, or between damp paper towels in a sealable plastic bag. Washed and trimmed radishes can be stores in a water-filled mason jar in the fridge.
Best For: Risottos, tacos, and side dishes; raw, roasted, or pickled.
Serve With: Chopped parsley.