Welcome to September! The children are back in school, and the days are getting shorter... But in the end, it's a great foodie time of year: it's in this season that the orchards are bursting with fruit, the vegetable gardens are still producing beautiful, vitamin-rich vegetables, and cheeses are at their best and freshest. Gourmets know that September is when local seasonal products fill tables with beautiful and delicious produce. 

Squash

Acorn squash, spaghetti squash, Buttercup, Sunburst, Pattypan... Did you know that there are more than one hundred varieties of squash? Squash is grown on more than forty farms across Canada. There are two types of squash: summer squash and winter squash. Winter squash has a tender skin and a sweeter taste than summer squash. Summer squash, such as green or yellow with whitish flesh, added to an Asian vegetable stir-fry, is distinguished by its slightly sweet, artichoke-like flavour. 

Chioggia Beets

At the end of August, the Chioggia beet, an original, tasty and decorative variety of Italian heritage, arrives on the market stalls. The root is a beautiful pink colour with alternating white and red circles resembling a target.

With soft and tender flesh, it is sweeter than other varieties. Its green leaves make a delicious substitute for spinach and can be cooked the same way as spinach. Chioggia beets can be eaten grated in vinaigrette or steamed for salads. It can also be used in soups, coulis, purees, as French fries or potato chips. When cooked, it loses its beautiful colour. To retain as much of it as possible, simply cook it whole, peel it and cut it just before serving.

Celeriac

With its pale yellow, dense and rather ugly appearance, celeriac is worth getting to know. Grown throughout Canada, this strange root vegetable is excellent in stews and soups and makes a great gratin, with or without potatoes. It also makes an incredibly silky puree. Raw, it can be grated into salads, as is the case for its most famous dish: celery remoulade. Difficult to peel, it is recommended to use a knife. Although celery root and celery come from the same plant, celery root is grown for its root rather than its stalks. Both vegetables taste like celery.

Pumpkin

It may seem easier to go to the grocery store and buy a can of pumpkin puree rather than a pumpkin to use in your fall recipes. But you'll be depriving yourself of all its freshness and flavour! In farmer's markets, it is expected in early September.

Pumpkin is versatile in pies, soups, casseroles, pasta and sauces. It is best to choose a pumpkin weighing 4 to 8 pounds for cooking, as it will have a smooth, flavourful flesh. Pumpkins have a long shelf life; they can be stored for months on the counter or in a basket (cool, dry and airy environment). Don't forget to save and roast its delicious seeds! 

Apples and Pears 

Of all the fruits grown in Canada, apples and pears are a favourite of many Canadians. These beautiful fruits taste great in almost any form: juice, compote, pies, ice cider, preserves, etc. In the fall, growers welcome hundreds of visitors to their orchards for self-harvest, which allows young and old alike to discover the cultivation of these fruits, their wide varieties and the products that result from their transformation.