Farmers' Market Finds: The Best Seasonal Vegetables for Fall and Holiday Recipes

Culinary Expert Gail Simmons' tips to navigate the farmers' market for real authentic ingredients

By The LifeMinute Team

October 31, 2016

As the weather continues to cool, cooks of all expertise levels look for recipes using seasonal ingredients.

This is a great time of year to head to your local farmer's market to look for real authentic ingredients, like in-season apples, pears, squash, green beans and hearty greens. They're delicious this time of year and help you make the most of your holiday entertaining. "You should never have to compromise quality and flavor of good ingredients, and that's why I love Pure Leaf Iced Tea. It's made with real tea leaves, which you can see on the label, and you never get powder or concentrate," says culinary expert Gail Simmons. "It's real brewed tea and that's why I love cooking with it and drinking it."

In A Pickle

This time of year it's a great idea to pickle your vegetables. Says Simmons: "There are so many great crunchy vegetables in the market and a perfect way to extend their life through the winter is to pickle them. It sounds unusual but it's an easy thing to do and a great idea for holiday entertaining."

Start with a cup of Pure Leaf Sweet Tea, an ideal tool to use as a base for your pickling liquid because you don't have to add sugar and it adds a level of earthy delicious flavor. Next add one cup of apple cider vinegar which is also a great ingredient that goes with all this fall produce this time of year. Next pinch in some salt, some peppercorns and some sliced garlic. Give that a whisk and that's the base of the pickling liquid you will use for your vegetables. Next add vegetables from the market. Use radishes, green beans, cauliflower, carrots, or cucumbers. That goes covered into the fridge for two hours or overnight and when it comes out you have a flavor-packed crunchy pickled vegetable to use with whatever you want. Salads, sandwiches, you name it.

It can also be used as a marinade for chicken or salmon.

Veggie-Friendly Vinaigrette

"It's easy to make a quick and easy vinaigrette from this point. Something for all your needs. I recommend making the liquid in big batches so you can keep it at the ready for a couple of weeks," says Simmons, who recommends adding a little bit of honey and olive oil. Next, season it, give it a whisk and keep it in the fridge till you're ready to use it. "I love pouring it over my Fall chopped vegetable salad. I have a salad here with great seasonal ingredients, things like celery, radicchio, apples and fennel, a little bit of fresh parsley, garnished with that pickled liquid, Pure Leaf vinaigrette. Give it a toss and then top it with pickled vegetables you just made, and the celery leaves from the celery that are also in the salad."

Delicious Signature Drink

"Another thing I love about holiday entertaining is making signature drinks for people," says Simmons, who recommends a seasonal drink called the Apple Brown Betty. "It starts with a cup of Pure Leaf Sweet Tea. To it I will add apple cider, which is another ingredient you can get right now at your farmer's market." Next up, a little lemon juice and cinnamon. Shake it up and you have the perfect signature drink to serve at all your holiday parties. Garnish with a fresh apple slice and you have a great drink all year round!

For more recipes like these and more real brewed tips and information go to


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