October marks the fall season and by this time we should be seeing a wide array of October seasonal produce. You may think you know it all when it comes to produce seasonality, but October fruits and vegetables in season will have you stumped! In this guide I will be going over the fruits in season in October and the vegetables in season in October. I will also give you guys some tips on what to look for when buying these different fruits and veggies!
Why Buy October Seasonal Produce?
Now days we have many ways of getting fruits and vegetables across the world very quickly. For example, you could enjoy a tomato any time of year because of international logistics. Its quite obvious that those tomatoes aren’t as awesome as the summer ones. Differences like subpar flavor, mushy texture, and unappealing appearance are a few characteristics that come to mind right of the bat. There are a few factors that contribute to this issue, but it mainly has to do with the time and distance they travel.
So, how do you get around buying and eating subpar fruits and vegetables?
CUT OUT THE MIDDLEMAN!
Buy your fruits in season in October! Buy your vegetables in season in October! This will force you to buy vegetables locally. Which is easier than it sounds, supermarkets do a lot of the work for you. If you want fresh produce, get it as close as possible!
Sourcing your produce locally has many indirect affects that you may not realize. October seasonal produce can really boost the flavor and freshness of your fall recipes. Its no secret, local produce is way fresher and has way more flavor.
Buying October fruits and vegetables in season, also helps support local business. Supporting your community and local business is what you should do as a person in that community. It’s the right thing to do and you feel good doing it. In turn, 9 times out of 10, you end up spending less money.
As you can see buying local, seasonal produce is the best route to go. It’s a no brainer! The best way to start is research farms in the area and check out farmers markets! Even if you are in the city, I guarantee there are local urban farms you can purchase produce from. Start to develop relationships with your farmers. This is a way better lifestyle than the alternative, trust me.
Before we get into the October fruits and vegetables in season…….
Be sure to check out the sections of my seasonal produce guide. I have it broken down by the month for ease. I even listed different varieties you can find during each month. It is a very focused guide, and I have listed them below in this nifty calendar!
October Seasonal Produce Guide
Fruits in Season in October
Apples available during October are considered late season apples. These fruits in season in October are the best for storing for longer periods of time. If held at the right temperature, then these varieties of apples can last for months! These types of October seasonal produce are known as “cooking apples” and exhibit a sweeter flavor with a crisp texture. There are dozens of varieties of winter apples and flavor will differ a bit from apple to apple.
When purchasing apples there are a few specific things to look out for. Be sure to look for firm feeling fruits with not dark spots or mushy areas. You don’t want these. Also, stay away from any knicks or bruises in the skin.
- Cortland Apples- These apples have been sourced from Geneva, New York since 1915! These fruits in season in October are bright red, large, and perfectly shaped. These apples are great eaten raw and also hold their shape well in baking recipes!
- Rome Beauty Apples- also known as “Red Rome”, originated in Rome Township, Ohio by a man named Joel Gillet. These apples exhibit very rare traits found in common apples such as their size, color, and flavor.
These apples are rather large. They are the size of softballs! They sport a brownish red color and offer a mildly sweet and tangy flavor. This middle of the road flavor makes them very desirable by chefs and bakers alike. They are in the top 10 sold in the US.
- Northern Spy- This apple has been around since the 1800’s and was first discovered in New York. Since its discovery it has grown to be one of the most coveted “pie apples” on the market. These apples are exceptional in baking recipes, but not the best raw apple. The Northern Spy may be one of the better fruits in season
Grapes are special types of October seasonal produce. They can range in color and sweetness vastly, and even more so in flavor. Overall, grapes are broken down into two different categories, which are “eating grapes” and “drinking grapes”.
Eating grapes, or “table grapes”, are the grapes we come across all the time at markets and other food establishments. While drinking grapes are grapes that are used in making juices, jams, jellies, and wine. Grapes are complex fruits in season in October, and they have huge opportunities with creative implications.
When purchasing grapes, be sure the grapes are plump and firm. Stay away from any shriveled grapes or mushy ones. Be on the lookout for mold that may hide in between clusters as well.
- Niagara- These plump and juicy October seasonal produce grapes are an essential part of making white grape juice. These grapes have sweet and tangy flavor with a greenish white outer skin. These grapes are usually harvested in September, but it isn’t out of the ordinary to find them in October as well!
- Catawba Grape- This is a very hardy grape with a vigorous flavor! Which makes it easy to believe it is the leading grape for producing American wine! This grape is versatile though, it has been known to be the base of some jams and jellies alike. This medium sized fruits in season in October brandishes a coppery red skin with a full sweet flavor.
Ground Cherries are a October seasonal produce at its peak during this time! These delicious treats are also known as the “Cape Gooseberry”, “Chinese Lantern”, or “Goldenberry”. This delicious fruits in season in October is wrapped in a papery husk similar to a tomatillo.
Ground Cherries have a smooth, almost waxy skin! Their inner pulp contains tiny yellow seeds which are not only edible, but they also add delicious textural element! The fruit offers a tart acidity that rivals the flavor of a tomato crossed with a pineapple!
When buying ground cherries, look for husks that are still intact. Do not buy any ground cherries that have spotting or dark brown to black mushy areas.
Also known as the “honey melon”, this prevalent October fruits in season is grown in many regions throughout the world. With that being said, its origins still remain elusive. This melon has a pale rind with a greenish tint, with a light green flesh surrounding a small cluster of seeds at its center.
There are two types of honeydew melon, green flesh or orange flesh. Flavor will differentiate a tad from melon to melon but overall, these October seasonal produce varieties have a crisp texture with a bright slightly acidic flavor that is overpowered by a fresh sweetness.
When purchasing a honeydew melon, no mater the variety, be on the look out for these characteristics. These melons should have smooth unblemished skin, with no excess moisture. Stay away from any mold hiding in the root areas of the melon or any soft or mushy areas. Discoloration is a hard pass!
Honeydew Melon Varieties
- Jade Lady– the Jade lady is one of the more interesting October fruits and vegetables in season. This melon has a similar visual appearance to its related species, but it has a way higher sugar content!
- New Moon– Good choice for eastern USA inhabitants. Smaller uniform fruits with a sweet flavor and firm flesh. These melons have a smooth, creamy white exterior with a visually appealing green flesh and a small seed cavity.
Pears are peak October seasonal produce! In the United States, we harvest 10 different varieties of pears each with their own characteristics and qualities. These fall fruits can range from brown to red hues with smooth or textured skins. Pears also offer a wide array of nutritious elements to your diet, so they shoot to the top of the October fruits and vegetables in season leader board!
When buying pears, look for pears with unblemished skin. Stay away from any bruises or soft, mushy areas. Pears continue to ripen after they are picked, so when in doubt pick the firmer pears. Be sure you check the root end and stem for any mold that could be hiding.
- Baldwin-Baldwin pears are semi-hard sweet pears, perfect for baking desserts! These plump fruits are yellow with a reddish tint with an oblong body style.
- Kieffer-These hybrid October fruits in season are large and golden yellow with a musky aroma. Their flesh is an off-white color with a coarse texture. These may be the most resilient of the October fruits and vegetables in season, due to their ability to survive both droughts and floods.
A persimmon is a large berry that grows on a variety of trees in the genus Diospyros. This is one of the more unique fall fruits and vegetables because of its blooming schedule, and its rarity. All varieties of persimmons fall into two categories: astringent, and non-astringent. Here are the varieties of persimmons to keep an eye out for!
When buying persimmons, look for plump fruits with smooth shiny skin. Avoid in soft or mushy areas with dark discoloration. Persimmons also develop black spots; this is an early sign of rot.
Probably the most popular of the October fruits and vegetables in season, the pumpkin is the symbol that represents the month and Halloween! Pumpkins can come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. There are over 100 varieties.
When purchasing pumpkins, be sure to check the following. Be sure the pumpkin feels heavy for its size. You also want to be sure the pumpkin has no discoloration or dark mushy areas. Lastly, give the pumpkin a good thump and see it its hollow.
A quince kind of resembles a pear in some regards, but they are definitely different. Quince fruits are one of the rarer October fruits in season. These fruits have a bumpy delicate skin, yet round in the middle.
When purchasing quince, you want to avoid any discoloration or mushy areas. It is common to see minor nicks or bruising on the skin layer.
Winter squash is a wide variety of different squash that all fall under the same umbrella. The main thing about winter squash is learning about the different varieties and how they differ from one another. Obviously, winter squash varieties all have different appearances; but there is so much more.
Winter squash, botanically, is considered a fruit. Hence my categorization of these delicious treats. Since their flavor and texture reminds us of vegetables that is how we prepare them! I mean they are barley fruit after all.
When buying winter squash, look for hard and thick rinds with the stem still attached. You want to select a winter squash that feels heavy for its size.
Winter Squash Varieties
- Buttercup-When it comes to October seasonal produce, nothing really says “winter” unlike a good squash. Buttercup squash may have the toughest rind of the bunch, but I may have the best flesh too.
- Spaghetti Squash- Spaghetti squash is definitely one of the craziest October fruits in season! Spaghetti squash comes in an array of colors from ivory to orange, but you will mostly see its iconic light yellow hue. When raw, its flesh is solid, but after its cooked the meat of this fruit falls from the rind in ribbons and strands.
Vegetables in Season in October
Also known as Chinese white cabbage, bok choy isn’t your usual cabbage. Instead of forming heads, they form small clusters in the form of bulbs with green leaf blades protruding out. This leafy green vegetable is native to southern China, but it is grown and cultivated here in America as well.
When purchasing bok choy, look for crisp leaves and firm and blemish free bulbs. These October seasonal produce should have perky dark green leaves. Stay away from any discoloration with brown or yellow areas, and excess moisture.
Broccoli is an edible green plant in the cabbage family. Broccoli consists of a large stalk with a flowering head of florets and leaves. These florets and leaves are eaten as vegetables. Broccoli has a bunch of different varieties that very in color, shape, and size.
When purchasing broccoli, look for bright vibrant flowers, crisp leaves, and firm stalks. Stay away from any black or brown discoloration. Steer clear of soft and mushy areas and excess moisture.
- Romanesco- Romanesco, often confused with cauliflower, is actually part of the broccoli family. One could actually argue that it’s a cross between cauliflower and broccoli. This is an edible bud flower from a larger plant. The Romanesco flower looks like a bunch miniature Christmas trees arranged in a geometric pattern. You will find green, purple, and orange Romanesco.
- Purple Sprouting- Unlike other broccoli varieties, these vegetables in season in October produce multitudes of smaller, vibrantly purple heads of broccoli. This plant often carries moderate amounts of sweet and delicate side shoots as well.
- Broccoli Raab-also known as rapini, this broccoli relative also closely relates to the turnip! This entire plant is edible from its bitter greens and stalk to its nutty heads. This ingredient is often used in Italian cooking.
There are dozens of different types of carrots out there. That’s why carrots are broken down into four main subcategories to help differentiate between them. The four categories are called imperator, danvers, nantes, and chanteney. You will find carrots in a multitude of colors from red to purple and white to yellow. Mostly, the carrots were accustomed to seeing are orange.
When purchasing carrots, look for crisp greens and firm roots. Stay away from brown mushy areas and excess moisture. Be sure to stay away from any mold that will hide at the base of where the carrot meets the greens.
Cauliflower is one of those vegetables that you love, or you hate!Personally, out of all the October fruits and vegetables in season, cauliflower is my favorite! Cauliflower belongs to the brassica family and comes in many different shapes, sizes and colors. The edible portion of this October seasonal produce is the head, which produces flowering buds or “curds”. You will see that all cauliflower isn’t white and round but can be a multitude of colors.
When purchasing cauliflower, try to buy as local as possible! This makes a huge difference in the quality and flavor. Look for firm heads that have no dark brown or black discoloration. You want the entire cauliflower to be tight with crisp light green leaves.
- Clementine-These are medium sized heads that sport a fiery orange color! The curds form a transverse elliptic pattern, and they offer an earthy and nutty flavor. These heads will have long and healthy leaves with pale green stems.
- DePurple– This is one of the very versatile varieties of the October vegetables in season because of its ability to perform under a wide window of environmental conditions. This plant matures with a dense, very tight, and tear drop shaped head. The coolest thing about it though, the purple curds.
- Snow Belle- Beautiful ivory white cauliflower variety with firm, medium to large heads that bolster a deep shape. This particular variety has a smooth flesh with and excellent grain. This is ideal for the experimental cook!
Celery is a marshland plant that has been cultivated since antiquity. This October seasonal produce is peaking in some regions of the US during this time. With its long fibrous stalks and tapering leaves, celery is found in almost all kitchens! This vegetable has an array of uses, from establishing a base flavor to eating a low calorie snack.
When purchasing celery, look for firm and tightly packed stalks. Stay away from rubbery stalks and wilted leaves. The leaves should be crisp and light green. Moisture on your celery is ok, but avoid any dark colored slimy areas!
Celery Root “Celeriac”
Also known as celeriac, celery root grows underground as the base of celery. Go figure! This is a popular part of the vegetables in season. Celeriac is often sold covered in dirt and looks like it is not from this planet.
Stick to the softball-sized roots for optimal flavor and be sure to check the root thoroughly. Celeriac tends to develop rot in spots rather than allover. Be sure to avoid celery root that is soft or squishy. You want your celeriac to be firm with no discoloration.
You may come across Swiss chard or Rainbow chard, but they are all relative to the vegetables in season in October. You can eat the leaves and the stems. You want the stems to be firm while the leaves to be crisp. Avoid any leaves with holes or tears, and definitely stay away from flimsy stems. Chard should display vibrant and appealing colors. Don’t buy chard that is lackluster and unappealing.
Collard greens are a staple in the southern region of the USA and rightfully so. These versatile greens can be consumed both cooked and raw. These greens fall into the brassica family and brandish an army green to dark green color. When buying this ingredient, be sure to pick bundles with no discoloration at all, the early signs of bad greens are yellowish spots throughout.
Endive is special because it is strictly a cold weather vegetable. Endives are commonly found in yellow or red varieties. They should have very tight compact leaves with no blemishes at all. Only buy the perfect endives because and break or tear in the leaves, and the endive will begin to oxidize leaving an unappetizing ingredient.
Is a large root, that varies in size. It has a brown exterior and is often covered in dirt. The interior of a horseradish root is white and creamy looking. The ideal horseradish is firm with no brown or black mushy spots.
Kale is becoming more and more common especially in the diet communities. The most common forms of kale can be found almost anywhere in both cooked and raw recipes. Kale is eaten in salads and entrees and drank in smoothies or teas alike.
When purchasing kale, make sure you know what variety you are looking at. This will help you know what to look for. You want kale that has firm stems with crisp leaves. You don’t want excessive moisture on your kale either, so try to avoid this. Definitely stay away from kale with dark brown or black colored areas or mushy spots.
Red Russian Kale– This variety is smaller and more tender than most kale varieties. With smaller frilly leaves, and reddish stems; these sweeter kale leaves are perfect additions to salads
Siberian Kale– Not your average kale by any means! This greenish blue kale produces a thinner flatter leaf, that stays close to the ground. This type of kale is barley considered kale, it actually relates more to a turnip!
Blue Scotch Kale– another blueish green tinted kale with the antioxidants and nutrients that classify it as a super food. You will find this kale in smoothies and other drinks. You will also see this type of kale in a salad, or lightly sauteed.
Kohlrabi is another member of the October vegetables in season. Kohlrabi is essentially a German turnip also known as a cabbage turnip. This cool season fruit is technically in the brassica family, which relates is similar to broccoli or brussels sprouts.
When buying this October seasonal produce, the bulb should be firm. Kohlrabi leaves should be edible as well. Stay away from mushy brown leaves and squishy bulbs. Brown spots are a no go when it comes to kohlrabi.
Mushrooms are available year-round with a few exceptions. Varieties like creminis, buttons, shitakes, portobellos and so on are totally fine to buy any time. If your looking for some October mushrooms, then your in the right place, because mushrooms are by far the rarest of the October fruits and vegetables in season.
Just be sure to avoid mushrooms without slimy or moldy spots. You definitely don’t want any added moisture. You want a plump cap with a spongy feel. Don’t buy shriveled mushrooms.
October Mushroom Varieties
The Mighty Cep- also known as “porcini”. Theses mushrooms have a thick stem with smooth brown cap with a white rim. These versatile mushrooms are sweet, with a huge umami flavor and a decent bite texture.
Lobster Mushrooms- These are actually a mushroom that has been “naturally pasteurized” by another fungus called, hypomyces. Oddly enough, this makes them taste like shellfish! When fresh, it is a slight flavor, when dried it is much more intense.
Hedgehog- or “sweet tooth” is a very unique looking mushroom. It has a yellowish-orange cap with a fruity aroma. The underside of its cap has a blanket of “teeth” for gills!
Mustard greens are peppery and leafy greens that come in large and micro varieties. These greens can range from green, red, purple, or other hues depending on multiple factors. Overall, Look for crisp and perky greens with no brown or black mushy spots. Stay away from wilted, bruised, or ripped leaves to ensure maximum shelf life.
Also known as broccoli rabe, Rapini looks like a leafier version of its cousin broccoli. Rapini should mimic the same dark green hue of a healthy broccoli. The leaves and florets should be vibrant and blemish free. Wilting or bruising are early signs of rotting, so stay away from any that fit that description. Any yellow spots should be avoided as well.
The most common sprouts are bean sprouts and alfalfa sprouts. Sprouts all very is color and shapes, but they can be sold living or harvested. If you have the choice, buy living. Sprouts are usually regulated well but nevertheless check the sprouts for any off-putting smell. They should smell like cut grass. They should also be dry, stay away from the slimy texture.
Turnips are a huge part of October seasonal produce, a winter staple and come in many different varieties. The most common turnip is the purple top white globe which is considered the general use turnip variety. Baby turnips are a close runner up in commonality. Either way turnips have a relatively neutral flavor with hints of sweetness. Turnips should be firm with tight skin and depending on the variety the skin is edible. Stay away from dark colored mushy spots on turnips.
This blog is an educational and informational resource based on traditional and modern use of plants, created to inspire others. The content represents solely my views and personal experience. The information provided on this website and my newsletters is not intended to replace professional or medical advice.