If you’re a foodie or just love good food, you’ll agree that there’s something magical about creating dishes with seasonal produce. Summer is kept pretty light and easy with salads and grilled meats, but once fall rolls in, we’re enticed to experiment with belly-warming stews, curries, and homemade soups. Fall fruits and vegetables have already started to pop up at our local grocers, and though it’s exciting, it can also be a bit overwhelming. With that in mind, we’re giving you this guide to help you make the most out of this autumn’s harvest.

1. Apples: Though left hidden in the shadows of pumpkin spiced everything, apples are the true embodiment of fall. Aside from the obvious apple ciders and mulled wines, this sweet and crisp fruit gives us nostalgic treats like warm apple pie. You can also use them in savory comfort dishes like pork tenderloin. Bonus: If you use a slow cooker, your entire home will smell ah-mazing.

2. Beets: With a subtly sweet and earthy flavor, this versatile root veg is great to have in your fridge for warm fall-inspired salads and hearty soups, or to simply roast in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of coarse salt. The beet comes in varying sizes and colors — from fuchsia to orange — so it’s guaranteed to add a pop of color to your dishes. To avoid the inevitable “bleed,” peel it under cool running water in the sink.

3. Brussels Sprouts: As kids, the only way we’d eat these itty bitty cabbage heads was smothered in a melty cheese sauce; as adults, we like to take that idea and elevate it with cheesy gratins. But we don’t *need* cheese to enjoy these little green gems — Brussels sprouts are also fabulous pan-fried with crispy bacon, roasted with olive oil and salt, and shredded into a salad.

4. Figs: Chances are you’ve had figs in chewy cookies and granola bars, but have you ever indulged in a fresh fig? They’re nothing like their candied counterparts; they’re delicately sweet and offer a subtle crunch due to their plethora of tiny seeds. You can eat them raw in a salad, stuff them with goat cheese and bake them, or top an artisanal pizza with them.

5. Leeks: They go way beyond potato and leek soup. Fun fact: This veg is related to both the garlic and the onion, but it offers up a milder and sweeter flavor. Leeks are available year round, but they tend to shine a little brighter in comforting dishes, like quiche, stews, and numerous soups. You can also slice them up, pan-fry them to a crisp, and use them as a garnish.

6. Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are a fave among many, and for good reason. You can mash them, stuff them, turn them into fries, and make soup out of them. This naturally sweet root veg is high in dietary fiber, complex carbs, and beta-carotene.

7. Pomegranates: These little ruby jewels are far more versatile in the kitchen then we realize. Though they’re delicious in desserts and cocktails, sweet-yet-tart pomegranate arils add a brilliant hit of fruitiness to savory dishes like stews, salads, and even racks of lamb. A little bit goes a long way, so one fruit — which holds up to 600 seeds — leaves plenty of room for creativity.

8. Winter Squash: Last but not least, one of our faves — winter squash! This includes the ever-so-velvety butternut, hubbard, acorn, delicata, and kabocha. Out of the many different types, each squash has its very own unique taste and use; butternut makes impeccable soups, while roasted spaghetti squash is a great way to replace carbs in classic noodle-y dishes. You have all winter, so try them all.

For more ideas on how to use up your produce this fall, follow us on Pinterest.

(Featured photo via Pexels)