November 15, 2011 / 11:44 AM / 7 years ago

Seasonal treasures: Top 10 list of autumn foods

LONDON (Reuters) - Autumn is harvest time for some of the northwestern hemisphere’s favorite foods. Fruit such as apples and pears are ripe and ready to pluck, pumpkins are plump, cabbage and wild mushrooms are in season. Here is a list of top 10 autumn foods and what you can do with them. Reuters has not endorsed this list:

Pumpkins are on display on a self-service sale stand at a farm near Loosdorf, some 80 kilometres (48 miles) west of Vienna, October 14, 2011. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader

1. Pears are at their peak now, and brilliant in both sweet and savory dishes. Try slicing them and roasting along with a joint of pork as a substitute for apple sauce, or add finely chopped pears to your morning porridge along with some raisins, grated nutmeg and maple syrup.

2. Quinces are an elusive treasure, but you might be lucky enough to find some at a farmers’ market, or from a friend or neighbor with a glut. Their hard flesh softens to perfumed sweetness when cooked; try them cubed in a lamb or chicken tagine for a burst of exotic flavor, or poach slices in a light sugar syrup for a delicious dessert.

3. Pumpkins aren’t just for Halloween. Cube and roast their flavorsome orange flesh, and serve in hearty autumn salads along with feta or goat’s cheese, or purée roasted pumpkin with a little cream, parmesan cheese and nutmeg, and use as a pasta sauce.

4. Cabbage is delicious shredded and added to a warming soup with ham, white beans, tomatoes and a little grated parmesan.

5. Wild mushrooms are in season now. Though expensive, you only need a few to transform a dish with their earthy flavor. Pan-fry in garlic and butter and serve in a simple omelet, or add a dash of cream and pile onto buttered toast.

6. Pomegranates have numerous health benefits, as well as adding a beautiful jeweled appearance when used as a garnish. They’re delicious paired with roasted aubergine, chopped mint and feta cheese, or scattered over a cinnamon-sprinkled fruit salad of sliced oranges, dates and pecans.

7. Chestnuts possess a subtle sweetness that makes them a good match for more savory, earthy ingredients. Try stirring a few cooked chestnuts into a risotto made with bacon, mushrooms and thyme for a comforting autumnal bowlful.

8. Partridge are cheap, plentiful, and low in fat. Wrap them in streaky bacon, scatter with thyme, crushed juniper and rosemary, and roast until cooked through. Serve with squash and braised red cabbage for a quick, easy and unusual roast.

9. Cranberries are not just for Christmas dinner. Simmer them in a little water and sugar with orange zest and a cinnamon stick to make a delicious compote to eat with ice cream, or spread over a basic vanilla cheesecake.

10. Jerusalem artichokes are knobbly and intimidating, but very easy to cook: simply peel, slice thinly and cook in boiling water until tender, then add to salads. They’re delicious paired with smoked mackerel, lentils, and a mustard vinaigrette.

Editing by Paul Casciato Elly McCausland is a writer, cook and author of food blog "nutmegs, seven" Any opinions expressed are her own

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