Now that autumn is quite advanced, right at this moment when the field is full of ochre, toasted, yellow, orange, red and green colours, we are going to do a review of all those fruits and fruits that this season gives us and that now occupy our pantries. In addition, consuming seasonal products is the simplest and most intelligent thing, because everything is fresher, ecological and cheaper. We start with a small selection of essential autumn fruits:
Quince: the fruit of the quince or quince is natural inedible, the usual way to consume them is in the form of quince candy. It is true that to make it you need a good amount of sugar, but it is a real delicacy. Everyone who has tried it knows that it is ideal with cheese, walnuts, biscuits, cottage cheese…
Citrus: lemons, tangerines… About lemons we are not going to say anything we don’t already know and about tangerine we are going to say that it is the star of autumn, being also easy to digest and one of the fruits preferred by children because they are very easy to peel. The tremendous antioxidant power of these citrus is one of its benefits. Oranges will begin to make their stellar appearance in the final weeks of the autumn season. A single orange or two mandarins cover the daily vitamin C needs.
Table grapes: in autumn, the grapes have all the protagonism with the harvest, but the varieties that we will take as table fruit throughout the autumn are very different. In Madrid it is very typical to take this white, thick, very crunchy and muscatel-flavoured grape for dessert.
Tropical fruits: mangos, papayas, chirimoyas, guavas and persimmons have long since reached the tables of the Spaniards. Fruits of a very intense flavour, it is in the middle of autumn when all those that have been produced in Spain are in their ideal moment. Autumn is the ideal time for these tropical fruits. Outside this season, they are certainly imported. Curiosities: the cherimoya cultivated in Spain represents 80% of the world production.
Granada: late autumn, this bittersweet fruit and refreshing pomegranate is at its best. Perfect in fruit salads or alone, to the natural one. Or as an ingredient to make gelatines, mousses, ice creams and ice creams. And why not, in the form of grenadine, its juice, with which to prepare delicious juices. A trick: the bigger and heavier a pomegranate is, the sweeter it will be, and the more its grains are marked on the skin, the more juice it has inside.
Figs: although they do not arrive until the end of autumn, only until the end of September, figs are a very fragile fruit (although technically it is a flower…), so it will only arrive in winter in the form of dried figs, which will be consumed a lot at Christmas.
And now a small sample of fruits that cannot be missing in our autumn dishes:
Chestnuts: a roasted chestnut encloses autumn itself. Creams, soups, soufflés, purée, as a garnish in turkeys and pulards, in cakes, in the form of brown glacé… Although its best moment is autumn, it is conserved excellently, so at Christmas and until the end of winter chestnuts can be obtained. For Saint Eugene (13th November), put the chestnuts on the fire.
Nuts: full of energy, full of healthy fats, the best time for nuts is in mid-November, when they will be fully dry and ripe. Perfect in countless dishes and recipes that will be consumed during autumn and winter. A wonderful accompaniment to goat cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, caramelized onion, raisins, honey, apple pie, banana … and, of course, in the nougat.
Hazelnuts: like chestnuts, they are easily preserved until the end of winter and are also widely used traditionally at Christmas. In salads, grilled vegetables, in cold or hot sauces. In confectionery in general, essential. A trick to peel them more easily? Put them in the fridge a couple of hours before.
Acorns: traditionally despised in gastronomy, food considered “of poor solemnity” in other times, are curiously a booming value. First of all, it is important to know that in order for them to be consumed by humans, the tannins that give them that bitter taste must be eliminated, which is achieved, for example, by boiling them. In Roman times, in the north of Spain bread was made with flour from acorns, and today jams, sweets and liqueurs are made, without going any further. One of the most important harvesting points in Madrid is El Pardo. Many other fruits and wild plants are being studied by great chefs to incorporate them into the kitchen, being one of the most important gastronomic trends of today.
Almonds: one of the most consumed nuts. Although most of the almonds produced are destined for nougat, powder, marzipan, butter and other typical Christmas consumer products, they are highly appreciated in the kitchen in both sweet and savoury dishes, or simply alone (toast, with a pinch of salt), as an aperitif. In creams, yogurts, or in the form of almond soup, widely consumed in Madrid at Christmas.
Pumpkin: yes, technically it is a vegetable, but we include it in this article for its use in desserts. In the past, only its seeds (pumpkin seeds) were used. Now, in addition to being a must for Halloween, pumpkins are becoming more and more fashionable in the kitchen. This fruit of the pumpkin stands out for its rich and abundant pulp and is very versatile both for salads (in salads – raw or cooked), as for creams, purées, croquettes …. And of course, in sweets: fritters, sponge cakes, cakes, jellies, jams …. A wonderful and sweet alternative to sugars.
Of course, we’re all excited about the abundance of sweet berries and juicy watermelons in the summer, but there’s more to fall than Halloween costumes and hay rides. From September through November, the fall harvest brings a variety of healthy and delicious products, from pumpkins and sweet potatoes to apples and pears.
While most produce can be grown somewhere all year round, trucking across the country (or around the world) is not easy. Buying local seasonal products not only potentially reduces our carbon footprint and helps local economies, but can also result in more nutritious products.