We often think of fall in terms of beautifully colored trees, brilliant fall flowers and bright blue skies. Fall also bring us the rich jewel colors of fall vegetables. Squashes are splashed with golden yellows, pumpkins and sweet potatoes are ablaze in orange, and purple potatoes and bright green Brussels sprouts shimmer in the sun.
Fall vegetables are not only eye candy, but they are some of the most nutrient rich foods that we can eat. Research has shown that the more brightly colored the vegetable, the more protective health benefits they have. This is due to the vast assortments of plant compounds call phytochemicals. Phytochemicals help our bodies fight the effects of free radicals, which form a naturally occurring process called oxidation in our bodies. It is this oxidation that may lead to more serious health problems later in life. Studies have shown that the phytochemicals and antioxidants found in deeply colored vegetables can neutralize the free radicals before they can do damage. Many of the deeply colored vegetables are abundant with beta-carotene and vitamins E and C.
The color purple is not just a great movie, but a real treat at the farmers market too. For many years we did not see these brightly colored vegetables at the supermarkets because commercial agriculture literally wiped out the variety of colored foods. With the resurgence of locally grown foods, heirloom and colored varieties of produce are finding their way back into our lives.
So what purple veggies can you find at the market? Besides eggplants, which easily comes to mind, there are many others. You will find purple potatoes, carrots, kaleidoscope kale, peppers, beans and even some purple cauliflower from time to time.
Take some time this weekend to explore the richness of the fall market! Here’s a nice recipe to help you enjoy the color purple. More fall recipes can be found on our Pinterest boards. Happy eating!
Roasted Purple Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4 to 6
- 2 to 3 large purple sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs), peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Pinch ground cardamom
- Salt to taste
- 1/3 Tbsp. toasted pecans, chopped
- Heat the oven to 400.
- Toss potatoes with melted butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and cardamom. Season with salt and pepper
- Bake 30 minutes or until soft.
- Top with chopped pecans and serve.