Local peaches, cranberries and pears start becoming available in grocery stores and farmers’ markets from mid-summer to early fall. Find out how to buy, shop, store and use delicious and nutritious fall fruits.
Peaches are a source of vitamin C. Vitamin C keeps your immune system healthy. It helps to heal cuts and keep your gums, bones, muscles, tissues and blood vessels strong. As an antioxidant, it may help lower the risk of cancer. Like other fruits, peaches make a sweet low-calorie dessert.
Buying local peaches
Look for local peaches in your grocery store and markets starting in July and peaking in September. Look for the Foodland Ontario logo when shopping or ask your store manager. When you buy local food, you support farmers so they can keep producing high quality, affordable food we can all enjoy.
Shopping for and storing peaches
Look for peaches with firm, smooth skin, a sweet smell and a peach coloured background. Avoid fruits with wrinkled skin, a greenish tinge or those that are soft or bruised.
Firm peaches can be kept at room temperature out of direct sunlight until they ripen and become soft enough to eat. You can store ripe peaches in the fridge for about five days. Once they become too ripe (when they are very soft) you should use them right away. Peaches can be frozen, preserved, or made into jam. They are a star player in many desserts such as fruit crisps, cobblers and pie.
Peaches have many uses. They can be eaten fresh, sliced into salads and added to cereal, yogurt, pancakes or waffles. For something extra special, bake peaches in the oven for a sweet and healthy dessert or poach whole peaches in wine, champagne or other liqueurs.
Give these recipes from Foodland Ontario a try:
Chicken, Peach and Snow-pea Stir Fry
Field Greens Salad with Peaches and Herbs
Cranberries are a classic fall fruit. Cranberries can be bought frozen, dried or raw.
Cranberry juice and supplements may help lower the risk of getting urinary tract infections in some people. The amount needed to lower the risk is not known. However, it is best to drink 100% pure cranberry juice or cranberry juice concentrate instead of cranberry juice cocktails. If you are considering taking a cranberry supplement, always read the label and look for a Natural Product Number (NPN) or a Drug Identification Number (DIN). This means the product is regulated and approved for sale in Canada. Speak to your health care provider before taking any supplement. Cranberry juice or supplements cannot treat an existing urinary tract infection. Cranberries are also a source of vitamin C.
Buying local cranberries
Fresh local cranberries are only available in October, just in time for Thanksgiving. Look for the Foodland Ontario logo when shopping or ask your store manager. When you buy local food, you support farmers so they can keep producing high quality, affordable food we can all enjoy. Frozen varieties may also come from a farm in Ontario. Look for the Foodland Ontario logo or contact the manufacturer to find out where the cranberries are from.
Shopping for and storing cranberries
If buying raw, look for dry berries with a colour that ranges from light pink to a deep, bright red. Berries that are crushed or have mold should be avoided.
Cranberries will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator in their original plastic bag.
To prepare cranberries, rinse and remove stems and leaves. Cranberries can be cooked into a jelly, sauce or relish. They can also be used to flavour a meat sauce and go very well with roast turkey, chicken or duck. They are too sour to eat raw, but add them fresh, frozen or dried to fruit crisps, muffins and other baked goods for a tart flavour.
Give this recipe from Foodland Ontario a try:
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffin Squares
There are countless varieties of pears. The ones you find most often at the local store are probably the Bartlett, Bosc and Anjou types.
Bartlett pears are the most common around the world. They are bell-shaped with light green skin that turns yellow when ripe. They are sweet and soft when eaten fresh, and delicious in desserts and preserves.
Bosc pears have a stretched out shape with a thin neck. They are a pale brown colour and even when they are ripe they are still crunchy. They are best eaten fresh.
Anjou pears are an egg shape with a yellow and green colour. They are mildly sweet and have a sweet smell. They are delicious both fresh and cooked.
Pears are a good source of fibre. Fibre keeps your bowels healthy and regular. Fibre may also help lower blood cholesterol levels and control blood sugars. Fibre is useful in weight maintenance because it helps you to feel full.
Pears are also a source of potassium, folate and vitamin C.
Buying local pears
Local pears are available from July until December. Look for the Foodland Ontario logo when shopping or ask your store manager. When you buy local food, you support farmers so they can keep producing high quality, affordable food we can all enjoy.
Shopping for and storing pears
Look for smooth pears that are firm but give a little when gently pressed. Cool temperatures bring out the best flavour in pears so store them in the refrigerator. Pears spoil easily so eat them soon after purchase. If you visit a Pick Your Own farm, the pears will need time to ripen at home. It’s best to pick pears before they ripen and give them time to ripen afterwards.
Pears make a great fresh snack and healthy dessert. They are also delicious in baked goods such as pies, crisps and cakes. They can be preserved, made into ice cream and sliced into salads.
Give these recipes from Foodland Ontario a try:
Parsnips with Pears and Wild Rice
Pear and Blue Cheese Salad
Microwaved Honey and Cardamom Poached Apples or Pears
For more information on fruits and vegetables, visit:
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association
Last Update – November 28, 2017