At Bay Area Made we talk a lot about supporting our local makers, but we’re also into eating locally too. For help figuring out how to eat with the seasons we turn to The Local Foods Wheel, a beautifully designed and illustrated interactive chart that shows what foods are being grown, raised, caught, harvested, preserved, foraged, or otherwise produced within a specific region. The three women behind it, Maggie Gosselin, Sarah Klein, and Jessica Prentice, are on a mission to connect people with local foods and food traditions. As we head deeper into Fall we asked them to connect us to their favorite fall foods and recipes.
What are some of your favorite Fall foods?
It’s hard to choose favorites, but some that leap to mind are persimmons, radicchio, and pomegranates.
Why are these your favorites and what can you do with them?
Radicchio is a type of chicory, in the same family as dandelions and sunflowers. Chicories are eaten for both their roots and leaves, and both are very nutritious. Radicchio in particular is our chicory of choice because it’s a beautiful crimson color and the tightly layered leaves grow like cabbage and keep for a long time in the fridge, making it an easy salad ingredient to have on hand. The leaves are slightly bitter, so they pair well with sweet fall fruits.
“Persimmons are the jewels of Fall. They ripen once the trees lose their leaves, so they look like bright orange ornaments hanging in orchards and backyards all over the Bay Area.”
Persimmons are the jewels of Fall. They ripen once the trees lose their leaves, so they look like bright orange ornaments hanging in orchards and backyards all over the Bay Area. There are two main types. Fuyus are eaten hard — out of hand like an apple or sliced in salads. Hachiyas, the more oblong type, and are *very* astringent until they soften to the consistency of a loose jam. Once soft, they can be used in baking, spread onto toast, or just eaten straight like pudding. When their season starts coming to a close, you can find both types dried. If you’re lucky you might come across some hoshigaki, which are Hachiya persimmons dried whole using a special Japanese process that involves peeling and brushing and lots of patience. The result is incredibly succulent and sweet and so so special — if you ever see them, buy them!
Okay, maybe pomegranates are actually the jewels of Fall. The seeds, with their flat facets and brilliant red color literally look like gems, and the pop of sweet-sour-juiciness they create in your mouth really is inimitable.
Do you have any recipes to share that use these or other favorite Fall fruits?
Yes! Here’s a favorite that brings in a few other Fall foods as well:
AUTUMN CROWN SALAD
Radicchio, persimmon, pomegranate and carrot with savory seed crunch and a buttermilk dressing.
1 head radicchio (or another type of chicory, like endive or frisee)
4 Fuyu persimmons (apples could work here too)
2 shaved carrots
Seed Topping Ingredients:
5 garlic cloves, peeled
½ cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup sesame seeds
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 ½ teaspoons salt
¼ cup buttermilk (or yogurt, if buttermilk isn’t something you keep on hand)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pulse the garlic cloves and sunflower seeds in a food processor until coarse . Add in the sesame seeds, olive oil and salt and pulse a few times to combine. Pour this mixture onto a greased or parchment covered baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the topping is a deeply golden brown. Let cool completely before serving to bring out the the crunch.
Whisk together in a medium sized bowl the buttermilk, honey and olive oil. Add in the lemon juice and salt and whisk until well combined.
Wash and then coarsely chop the radicchio and place in a large bowl. Peel and thinly slice the persimmons. Wash and peel carrots. With the same vegetable peeler shave long strands of carrots and set aside. De-seed a pomegranate, reserving the seeds.
Arrange the radicchio, carrot and persimmon in layers. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and then drizzle with the dressing to taste. Lastly, sprinkle the salad with 1/3 cup of seed topping.