Never know what’s growing now? Let’s take it one month at a time, with TIME‘s Foods That Taste Better Now Than They Will All Year.
It’s officially fall, and as the leaves and weather change, so do the produce offerings at your local markets. This month is the best time to look out for the unique varieties of fall staples like apples, says Chris Romano, a global produce coordinator at Whole Foods. “These [varieties] were not developed for storage, so growers will only have them for a month or two,” he says. Here, fruits and vegetables worth eating in October:
Apples: “People know Fuji and Red Delicious, but October is the perfect month to venture outside the norm,” says Romano. Though offerings will differ depending on your location, this month apple lovers should look for unique varieties—like Gravenstein apples, which taste slightly sweet with a sharp finish. It’s also the best time to bite into a Fuji apple, since they’ll be in peak season.
Pears: Romano says early-season pears, which should be eaten when they’re soft to the touch, really pop in flavor this time of year. Bartlett pears will become very yellow and luscious, he says. Like apples, pears come in unique varieties that will appear this month. Try the French butter pear, which has a creamy texture and is more common on the west coast.
Grapes: We’ve been eating grapes all summer, but if you’re a fan of sweeter tasting grapes, then October is the month to buy them. “Cooler nights bring out the sugar, and then you still have hot days so the grapes continue to ripen,” says Romano. Red grapes are especially tasty, and if you’re a green grape fan, Romano recommends looking out for the ones that are starting to turn a little amber. “Late-season grapes will be the sweetest grape you can eat,” he says.
Persimmons: You can really only eat persimmons in the fall, Romano says. Hachiya persimmons are tall and pointed and should be eaten ripe. “When you find a good hachiya, let it fully ripen and eat it with a spoon,” says Romano. “Sliced in a salad is pretty amazing, too.” Another variety of persimmon, called Fuyu, is also great this month. Fuyu persimmons are much flatter and can be eaten while they’re still hard like an apple.
Pumpkins: October is the uncontested best time to get a pumpkin, especially if you plan on carving it for Halloween. Baking pumpkins will be around for longer, but this month is a good time to start stocking up since they’ll be more readily available.
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