Welcome To WPS - Weird Produce Season


Do you remember that one time that I issued a four-week cooking challenge and only got through two weeks because life exploded into a million very busy pieces and I barely sat down to my laptop and I wasn't as strict about carbs as I meant to be? Yeah, me too.
Thing is, there are about seventy-five different things going on at once, including this blog. I've been in town, out of town, cut back hours at one job, been hired on at another, and generally gone about as if exquisite beauty is to be found in being recklessly busy. It's all exciting, though that's no excuse for neglecting the blog. Today, let's talk about WPS - Weird Produce Season. It's October and it's no exaggeration to say that October is the month when everything goes berserk in the produce aisle and farm markets. The classic summer produce has left shelves and instead, a bunch of bizarre vegetables and fruits have begun to hocus-pocus about. Purple cauliflower, moon-white radishes, squashes of every description. Blue sweet potatoes and harlequin cobs of corn, pomegranates with their ruby seeds, intensely-colored beets. Anyone who claims that autumn produce is dull is clearly color-blind, yet the world is strangely apathetic in their regard for it.

Why?

Because we don't know how to cook with these alien fruits and it's a common drill - I've gone to the farmer's market on a Saturday morning and grabbed some eye-catching autumn produce, only to come home and stare guiltily at it from across the kitchen, unsure what I'm supposed to do. Because we aren't accustomed to cooking with these things, our repertoire is shockingly drab. If it's a squash, you roast it. If it's a cauliflower you mash it or - in a very daring move - toss it with garam masala and roast it in the oven. If it's a beet you....well....what does one actually do with a beet besides talk about how good they are for you? And of course the things which aren't familiar are the things we naturally hold in suspicion and speak of with a certain measure of asperity.
Everyone knows what to do with a peach, but how many of us know what to do with a radish or a celery root? And what about persimmons? While on a walk I found a persimmon tree with dozens of blush, pumpkin, umber, and papaya-colored fruits hanging from its branches and littering the ground. I managed to wade through a flock of drunk yellow jackets to gather a few, but in the end I left them in a dish on my counter while I tried to think what to do with them till my cat knocked them over onto the kitchen floor. The WPS dilemma is common, the solution easy since autumn is an abundant season of beauty, flavor, and opportunity. If we teach ourselves how to understand the produce of this favorite season, we'll be rewarded with a rich harvest of new recipes. Here are some ideas to get started!



Tell me, what's your absolute favorite autumn produce and how do you plan to expand your kitchen game this year?

2 comments

  1. Perfect! Just two days ago I was staring at a bunch of beets in the store, but didn't get them because...well, weird produce, like you said! Plus, I had a vague fear of them staining everything they touch, from some things I've heard. But, those are really rather weak excuses. So yes, this post and list are both awesome and perfectly timed!

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    1. Haha! Beets are something I've finally made friends with this year - though I'm actually fond of the color they turn my hands. Haha! Also, rest assured that the post on snacks is coming soon! I just have to have time to thoroughly do my research and gather intel. :)

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