Fall is harvest season. Each year, an abundance of delicious fruits and vegetables hits the stands at grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Working with seasonal fall aromatics is one of the best ways to create a flavorful meal.
The following are some of our favorite heirloom and specialty varieties. The best place to find them is at your local farmers’ market, or you can grow them. The seeds are available at seed saver websites.
What are aromatics?
Aromatics are vegetables and herbs that can add rich, deep flavors to your meals. Common aromatics include onions, garlic, and ginger. Many recipes start by sautéing aromatics to create a base flavor profile for your dish.
Seasonal fall aromatics
Garlic: The first ingredient in hundreds of Blue Apron dinners, spicy garlic is a powerful aromatic ingredient. Multiple varieties, including black garlic and Italian purple garlic, are in season in the fall.
Bronze Fennel: Often used as an ornamental plant. Its dull golden leaves and bulb can be used much in the same way as green fennel. Try fennel in pasta dishes or on top of a pizza.
Celery: Modern celery is derivative of wild celery that has been carefully cultivated to be tender and crisp. This ancient vegetable has been mentioned as far back as Homer’s Iliad. Celery is a key ingredient in mirepoix and sofrito, the essential aromatic bases of French and Italian cuisine.
Celeriac: The edible root of certain varieties. Distinct, earthy, yet crisp flavor. Can be eaten both raw and cooked.
Fennel Pollen: A fine powder found in the flowers of the fennel plant. Intensely aromatic when heated.
Leeks: Leeks are a type of onion characterized by bundled cylinders of tightly packed leaves. Leeks have been grown in Mesopotamia since at least 2000 B.C.E.
Lovage: Perennial herb. In Old English, called “love-ache.” Herbaceous rosettes of leaves. Very strong and reminiscent of celery, but more nuanced and floral.
Red Celery: Long considered a “gentleman’s vegetable.” Grown in the U.S. since the 18th Century. (At first, only in the gardens of the well-to-do.)
Craving more seasonal produce? Learn more about the types of pears in season this fall.