There are so many wonderful things about this time of year: changing of the leaves, sweater weather, and holiday season is fast approaching—but our favourite part of this time of year is the harvest! Farmers all across Ontario have been working hard all year and especially this growing season to produce wonderful produce for us to enjoy now that it’s harvest season.
The most prominent local produce includes carrots, apples, potatoes, carrots, beets, onions, pears, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, and pumpkins!
Thanksgiving Recipes with Local Produce
To see all of Ontario’s local bounty in some recipes, be sure to check out our recipe collection to take advantage of the harvest bounty! Check out our hot tip about each commodity below, and click on the images to get to their full 101 articles so you can learn everything you need to know about that fruit or vegetable!
Did you know that pears ripen from the inside out? To find out if a pear is ripe, “check the neck”! Meaning gently pinch the part closest to the stem to see if it’s tender.
Did you know you don’t need to peel most carrots? Only the mature carrots should be washed and peeled, but most carrots you find bagged in the produce section are quite young and have a tender skin, meaning all you need to do is just wash them!
Know your potato varieties! Yellow and white potatoes are best for mashing because they have less starch than baking potatoes (like Russets). Using white and yellow spuds mean creamier mash with less butter and milk!
FUN FACT: Apples produce a natural ethylene gas that speeds the ripening of other fruits so be sure to store apples away from other produce, unless you want to speed up their ripening time.
Did you know you can use beets as a colourful egg-replacer in baking? Cook your beets (boil, roast, or steam), peel, then purée. Use ¼ cup cooled beet purée per one egg in your cupcakes or cookies.
If you find your cutting board smelling slightly like onion even after cleaning it, give it a good scrub with baking soda and water or rub it with the flesh of half a lemon.
Contrary to the myth that you cannot wash mushrooms, if they’re really dirty, you can give them a quick rinse in cold water and pat dry. Soaked mushrooms may add a small amount of water but they’re already high in water content so cleaning them doesn’t make too much of a difference. The most noticeable difference is that it may take an extra minute or two for the mushrooms to release their juices before they start to brown.
Brussels sprouts are a nutritional POWERHOUSE! About 5-6 boiled Brussels sprouts contain 175% of your Vitamin K, 103% Vitamin C, 27% of folate, and so much more! (Source: Canadian Nutrient File)
Sugar Pie Pumpkins:
Did you know that not all pumpkins taste the same? To make delicious pumpkin pie, opt for smaller pumpkins called either sugar pie pumpkins or pumpkin pie pumpkins. Larger Jack O’Lantern sized pumpkins are specifically grown so that they have a sturdier texture for carving!
Fun fact: You should only wash cucumbers just before eating them because excess moisture during storage will promote spoilage.
The skin of a pepper can be tough, which makes it hard to slice thin from the skin side. Instead, slice the pepper from the inside flesh of the pepper (skin side down).
Avoid storing tomatoes in a plastic bag or in the fridge as the cold causes them to turn mealy and they lose their delicious tomato flavour!