Enjoy The Bountiful Harvest Of Fall Vegetables

Let’s start with a joke: How many potatoes can you put in an empty sack?
One. After that, the sack isn’t empty anymore!

Fill your grocery sack with delicious root vegetables. How about some roasted carrots, potatoes, onions, beets and/or rutabagas?

Vegetables provide fiber, vitamins A, C (and others), and minerals such as selenium and potassium. In general, adults and kids need about 2½ cups of vegetables daily. Selecting vegetables at their best and storing them properly can help you get the best value for your money – and colorful, delicious food on your plate!

When you select vegetables, which of these tips do you already use?  (Answering “yes, I do” means you are taking steps for high-quality, safe food. If not, consider doing these things.)

  • I buy in season. Vegetables that are purchased in season usually will be the best quality and give you the best buy.
  • I consider the storage available, and I buy only what I can store and use within the recommended time.
  • I handle produce gently because the bruised parts are most likely to spoil.
  • I choose high-quality vegetables without bruises.
  • I pick frozen vegetables that are frozen solid and get them to my freezer as quickly as possible.
  • I buy canned vegetables in cans without sharp dents in the seams.
  • I buy dried vegetables in tightly sealed, undamaged packages.

When you store vegetables, which of these tips do you already use? (Answering “yes, I do” means you are taking steps for high-quality, safe food. If not, consider doing these things.)

  • I store vegetables properly. Most fresh vegetables should be kept cold and humid.
  • To increase storage humidity, I keep vegetables in a plastic bag or in the hydrator (crisper) compartment of the refrigerator, or both.
  • I do not refrigerate potatoes, sweet potatoes and hard-shell (winter) squash. Cold temperatures convert the starch into sugar, which affects the flavor. Store them at cool room temperatures; about 50 degrees Fahrenheit is best. Potatoes should be kept in a dark, dry place.
  • I sort vegetables before storing and remove any with bruises or soft spots.
  • I store frozen vegetables at 0 F or lower; they can be stored for eight to 12 months.
  • I store canned vegetables in a cool, dry place.
  • I store dried vegetables in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. I use them within a few months.

See www.ag.ndsu.edu/food for recipes more information.

Here’s a recipe courtesy of Colorado State University Extension to enjoy the delicious veggies of fall.

Roasted Root Vegetables

1 onion, quartered and layers separated

1 medium-size white potato, peeled (optional) and diced into ½-inch cubes

1 medium-size sweet potato, peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes

3 to 4 medium-size fresh beets, peeled and diced into ½-inch cubes

Nonstick vegetable spray

4 tsp. olive oil, canola oil or other salad oil, divided

1 tsp. salt, divided

(Note: You can substitute equal amounts of your favorite vegetables, such as squash, if you see a vegetable that is not your favorite.)

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with foil and coat with nonstick vegetable spray. With an extra piece of foil, create a separate foil boat to hold the diced beets. Coat with nonstick spray and place it on top of the baking sheet.
  3. Peel off dry outer onion layers. Quarter and separate the onion layers.
  4. Toss onion pieces with 1 tsp. oil and ¼ tsp. salt. Place on baking sheet.
  5. Wash, scrub, peel and dice white and sweet potatoes.
  6. Toss white and sweet potatoes with 2 tsp. oil and ½ tsp. salt. Place on baking sheet.
  7. Wash, peel and dice beets. Caution: Beet juice can stain your hands, cutting board and the counter.
  8. Toss beets with 1 tsp. oil and ¼ tsp. salt. Place in foil boat on baking sheet.
  9. Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes or until vegetables are soft and the edges are a light brown.

Makes six servings. Each serving has 90 calories, 3.5 grams (g) fat, 2 g protein, 16 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber and 420 milligrams sodium.

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Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., is a professor and food and nutrition specialist with the North Dakota State University Extension Service.