Contrary to popular belief, the average college student diet shouldn’t rely solely on frozen foods and booze. When you’ve decided it’s time to evolve from the nightly ramen splurges and drinking binges, step into the market and try buying these fruits and vegetables to expand your dietary horizons. This list can also help out those of you who are just starting out in the big wide world of cooking for yourself. Your knowledge of in-season produce will impress your peers and parents. Luckily in California, the fertile soil and favorable weather produces a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from at the farmer’s market and grocery store. We at the Clog have compiled a list of some of this produce to give you ideas on how to incorporate in-season fruits and vegetables into your meals.
If you’ve noticed the apples at the dining commons getting bigger and juicier, it’s not because of a secret experiment by the College of Chemistry. Apples are at peak performance during the fall and easy to eat on the go. We recommend picking out Red Delicious, Fuji and Gala apples for their crisp flavor. Need a late night snack? Ditch the chips and salsa and substitute them with apple slices and peanut butter.
Though they may look like heirloom tomatoes, persimmons are actually sweet and have a consistency similar to melons. Beware, because eating them too early can result in a bitter taste that shrivels up your mouth. Once they’re ready to be eaten, though, they’re a delectable treat. Let them soften before cutting into them — which we at the Clog think is the best way to eat them. Do yourself and your stomach a favor. Go buy yourself a bushel of locally-grown persimmons at the Downtown Berkeley’s Farmer’s Market.
This fruit can be mashed, microwaved and made into delicious soups. Even though the outer skin can be really tedious to peel, the treasure inside is worth the effort. Unlike other winter squashes, the butternut squash lives up to its name by giving any recipe a nutty and creamy taste. Be careful when toting this fall favorite produce around campus during lunchtime, though. Squirrels are fans of this gourd-shaped squash and are likely to steal it off your plate on Sproul.
Cauliflowers are versatile — they can be boiled and mashed like potatoes or grated into fine pieces like rice. The simplest way to cook cauliflower is to boil it whole for 10 minutes in salted water and then break into bite-size pieces. Cauliflower also makes a great addition to salads if you prefer your vegetables raw. Looking to make some gains at the RSF? This vegetable is packed with vitamin C and is a low-carb option for those of you interested in cooking healthier meals.
If the memory of french fries from GBC still haunts you to this day, baked sweet potato fries with a side of Greek yogurt fits all you’re looking for a healthy, but crispy snack. Ditch the boring old potato this holiday season and substitute sweet potatoes for your root vegetable cravings. Roast them in the oven and top with marshmallows or walnuts if you need a quick and easy side dish to bring to your potlucks. To pick out a good sweet potato at Safeway or Trader Joe’s, look for the ones that aren’t wrinkly and are smaller in size for better flavor.
Make fruits and vegetables an actual food group in your diet, and you’ll be patting yourself on the back for eating like an actual adult. In-season fruits and vegetables are the way to go.
Contact Angeline Nguyen at [email protected].