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Harvest is here, and along with it, some of the best seasonal fruits and vegetables of the year. What’s in season in October is a sampling of both summer and fall favorites. See what fruits and veggies are at their freshest and most affordable, then discover how to add these seasonal produce stars to your fall menu.
The beautiful few weeks when summer slowly drifts into fall might just be my favorite time of year to cook. Why? Beyond being peak sweater weather, it’s because what’s in season in October is a cornucopia of both seasons’ best, including late-season berries, stone fruit, and tomatoes and early winter squash and prime time corn. Does anyone else notice their stomach growling?!
If you stock up on seasonal fruits and vegetables like those listed below in my guide to what’s in season in October, you’ll save money and add flavor to your meals and snacks. While something shipped can be shipped to your supermarket from hundreds or thousands of miles away, these in-season ingredients are so much fresher as well as more affordable. (To save even more dough, dig in and grow your own!)
Consider adding these October fruits and vegetables to your garden-harvesting, last-call farmers market, or grocery shopping list. Then prepare your appetite: I’m sharing a bounty of fall recipe options for how to put what’s in season in October to work in meals and snacks for yourself, your family, or tailgate gatherings.
Table of Contents
What’s in Season in October?
- Stone fruit and berry family fruits: We are nearing the end of the season for cherries, nectarines, peaches, and plums, so be sure to get your fix this month. I adore using them in warmly-spiced crisps, pies, and cobblers. Stone fruit is also a treat in fruit salads, fruit salsas, or folded into oatmeal, yogurt, or cottage cheese. As far as berries go, botanically, pomegranates fall under this category, too. They shine during fall. Blackberries, cranberries, and raspberries are approaching their season end as well, so stock up to jam, freeze, and smoothie your heart out! Or snack on any of the above out of hand, stir them into tarts, pies, quick breads, muffins, or cakes, or layer them in parfaits.
- Grapes, mulberry, and rose family fruits: Admittedly, figs are actually a flower and member of the mulberry family, not a fruit. But since we often cook and bake with them like a fruit, here they are! Try fresh figs in quick breads, pies, or in a sweet-and-savory skillet dinner with chicken or pork. Kid-friendly grapes, apples, and pears (the latter two fall under the “rose family” umbrella, by the way) are ideal to add to brown bag lunches; slice for safety and ease of eating for young diners. Or try these long-shelf-life fruits in fruit salads, as part of crostinis, or to freeze to nosh on (grapes) or bake with (apples and pears) later.
- Grasses and nightshade vegetables: Corn, a grass, is a staple part of many Midwestern menus during October. Grilled, roasted, air-fried, boiled, or baked; sweet corn is a delight and perfectly sweet right now. Late-season nightshades like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant are also still ripe and readily available for a limited time. Mix them into casseroles, pasta sauces, dips, salads, soups, or salsas.
- Leafy greens, tubers, and daisy family vegetables: Spinach leaves, daisy-family artichokes, parsnips, and sweet potatoes are all phenomenal (and ubiquitous, am I right, gardeners?) in October. Try them in mashes, soups, salads, wraps, or as pizza toppings.
- Brassicas: Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage are ready to play. Flip open TikTok or walk down the grocery store aisles for some inspiration; cauliflower and broccoli are now being transformed into steak, gnocchi, pizza crust, mashed “potatoes,” rice, and beyond. Sprouts and cabbage are ready to roast, salad-ify, or stir into soups, stews, or stir-fries.
- Winter squash: From acorn and butternut to delicata and pumpkin, these sturdy, versatile vegetables are just popping up. Ideal for roasting and mashing or blending into hummus or soups (and pies, of course), now is the time to stock up on naturally-sweet squash.
The Best Fruits and Vegetables to Eat in October
Stone Fruit and Berry Recipes
Cobblers, cocktails, condiments, and more can shine as part of your October menu thanks to my favorite cherry, plum, nectarine, and peach recipes. Put the berries to tasty use in in drinks, galettes, salads, or quick breads. Or freeze either of the above to enjoy their sweetness all year long.
Cranberry Apple Sauce
Cranberry Cheesecake Galette
Grapes, Mulberry, and Rose Family Fruit Recipes
Fruit salads, drink recipes, and baked goods can all be vehicles for this diverse group of fruits. Figs are dreamy in cakes and quick breads, grapes are a Midwestern staple in salads (real ones and dessert-style whipped topping-based treats we generously call “salads”). Apples and pears are primed and ready for baking, roasting, poaching, or crunching into as-is.
Cinnamon Apple Cake
Apple Cider Donuts
Grasses and Nightshade Vegetable Recipes
A bit of butter and dash of salt is all October sweet corn asks for, but I can’t hold back from dressing it up in a variety of ways (chowders, salads, salsas, casseroles…). Tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers can be at your service in dips (can that salsa and marinara sauce now!), pasta entrees, casseroles, pizzas, sandwiches, soups, or stews.
Balsamic Chicken and Tomatoes
Chipotle Corn Salsa (Copycat)
Stuffed Bell Peppers
Leafy Green, Tuber, and Daisy Family Vegetable Recipes
Popeye will be proud when you fill your cart with plenty of fresh spinach for salads, soups, stews, and dips. Artichokes are stellar steamed, stuffed, and roasted, while root vegetables are a treat nearly any which way; try mashing, roasting, pureeing, or layering them into casseroles or atop pizzas.
Spinach Artichoke Dip
Spinach Salad with Bacon Dressing
Brassica Vegetable Recipes
Rice it, mash it, roast it, taco it; cauliflower and broccoli are among the most adaptable veggies around. Get a taste in these crowd-pleasing side dish, appetizer, and dinner ideas. Brussels sprouts are getting their well-deserved moment in the sun as well, lately, and are being roasted and smashed, shaved and slawed, tossed with pasta, and more. Stuff that cabbage, or use it in any place you might showcase another crisp leafy green.
Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
The Best Cabbage Soup
Winter Squash Recipes
Sure, you could simply use squash as seasonal decor. But why would you want to do so when scrumptious squash recipes abound? In both sweet and savory formats, roasted, mashed, and baked winter squash of all kinds is a total treat.
Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce
Meggan Hill is a classically-trained chef and professional writer. Her meticulously-tested recipes and detailed tutorials bring confidence and success to home cooks everywhere. Meggan has been featured on NPR, HuffPost, FoxNews, LA Times, and more.