17 Fall Flavors That Deserve as Much Attention as Pumpkin Spice

Gone are the days of watermelon and rosé. It's practically fall and that means new autumn flavors to savor. Come the first day of fall, the country goes crazy for pumpkin everything: Starbucks officially starts serving their pumpkin spice latte, The Cheesecake Factory brings back their pumpkin cheesecake, you get the picture, but fall is more than just pumpkin (and it's spicy cousin).

Lots of fruits and vegetables - like peas, squash, sweet potatoes, and apples - flourish in the fall. Warming ciders and stews are craved for late-night comfort. Ready to stockpile your pantry with this season's specialty flavors? Here they are.

Apples

cosmic crisp apple

Apples are basically the unofficial fruit of fall. As soon as the foliage hits, farmer's markets, roadside stands and pick-your-own farms are filled to the brim with apples and hungry customers.

It's no wonder fans stock up. They are perfect for pies, butters, sauces and more, and apple picking is the best fall activity. Douse them in caramel, enjoy a steaming cup of apple cider, make apple cinnamon muffins or indulge in caramel apple pie topped with ice cream. Consider creating an apple brandy hot toddy or warmed cider to enjoy around the campfire or fireplace.

Local apples in the South are best enjoyed starting at the beginning of August through late-October.

Beer

Two cups of ice cold beer on a hot Summer day in Atlanta
Getty Images

Fall is the season for beer, especially darker craft beers such as Porters, stouts and and Imperials . Cooler nights crave warming fall brews that replace the lighter ales of summer.

Not a fan of darker brews? Try an Amber ale (Full Sail Brewing Co's Amber Ale is a winner with its caramel aroma and woodsy campfire note) or go for an Autumn beer infused with fall flavors of pumpkin spice flavor, wheat, oak, vanilla, malt, and spice.

Brown Butter

Kerrygold Irish butter
Flickr: Nick Saltmarsh

Brown butter is a classic French technique in which butter is cooked long enough to turn the milk and salt particles brown while also removing the water from the butter.

The result is a nutty and complex sauce that can add deep nutty flavor to sweet items (cakes, donuts, cookies) and savory items, too like butternut squash.

Tip: Make a big batch and store in a mason jar in the refrigerator for instant brown butter to add to your favorite recipes.

Carrots

Senior man with bunch of freshly harvested carrots
Getty Images/alvarez

Yes, you can get carrots year-round, but this is the season where warmed carrots make for a comforting side dish (especially if they are doused in honey).

Their hearty sweetness is the perfect base for fall-focused spices like cinnamon and brown butter, and they work perfectly in heartwarming soups, sweet cakes and breakfast muffins, not to mention waffles and other vegan goodies.

Chai

chai tea benefits

Chai is a rich spiced black tea that contains hints of warming clove, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. Served hot or iced, this comforting drink can also be combined with foamed milk to make a delicious latte.

Note: Chai translates to tea in Hindi, so when referencing chai, refrain from calling it chai tea or (tea tea).

Cinnamon

cinnamon-sticks

Cinnamon is warming and spicy, a perfect addition to fall flavors and one of the season's most quintessential flavors.

From frosted cinnamon rolls to cinnamon chocolate chip cookies, it can take you from breakfast to dessert easily, livening up baked dishes and dinner and also adds a bit of warmth and spice to any dish.

Cloves

 

Holiday hams studded with cloves are a holiday tradition in many households. Cloves are a strong spice that can enhance baked dishes, savory meats, sauces and glazes. Try adding ground cloves to muffins or whole cloves to mulled wine for a spicy note.

Cranberries

Tart-Cranberry-Bread

Cranberries reach peak color and flavor in autumn. Starting mid-September, they are ready for harvesting and begin to show up in markets and stands all over the country.

As they ripen, they can withstand cooler weather, making them one of the fall's freshest fruits. Their presence is a must on a Thanksgiving table since their tangy fruity flavor lends freshness and tartness to a rich meal.

Use fresh cranberries in muffins while dried cranberries star in salads and granola bars.

Figs

Fig-and-Goat-Cheese-Toast

Figs are one of the fall's hidden treasures. They are great for munching on raw or stuffing them with goat cheese or cream cheese and wrapping with cured meats like prosciutto for a sweet and salty snack.

Ginger

two ginger shots with benefits and honey

Just like cinnamon and clove, ginger is a spicy and warming addition to drinks and baked goods. It adds a bite to cookies and cakes, and heat to curries and stews that fill the crockpot all season.

Tip: When using fresh ginger, use the side of a spoon to peel the thin skin rather than a vegetable peeler for a cleaner peel.

Maple Syrup

Take advantage of the rich, nutty sweetness of all-natural raw maple syrup and how it can enhance other fall flavors. It pairs perfectly with the seasonal flavors of baked desserts and veggies like squash.

Also, consider using it to glaze turkey, ham, sausage, and more as it lends a sweet flavor to already salty and savory meats.

Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a sweet, aromatic and nutty spice that lends its warm flavor to fall dishes from sweet to savory. It's commonly grated into cream sauces (such as bechamel) to add a bit of depth and sweetness to the sauce. The next time you make a casserole of macaroni and cheese, grate in some fresh nutmeg for an added element of spice.

Pears

pear varieties

Chefs all over the country take advantage of pear harvest in the fall. From appetizers to entrees to desserts, they are a fall favorite for their subtly sweet flavor that can be enhanced with salty and spicy flavors. The early-ripening fall pear varieties to look out for are Bartlett, Clapp Favorite, and Orca.

Pecans

how to toast pecans

Pecans are a perfect fall companion. They are rich and creamy nut full of flavor. They're great for making pies with but also make a great nutty, cinnamon-y addition to cocktails, salads, savory stews, and baked dishes.

To keep nuts like pecans  fresh, try storing them in the freezer.

Red Wine

Pouring red wine into the glass against wooden background
Getty Images/jeka1984

Red wine starts to make its presence known especially in the fall. Not just because it makes the perfect base for mulled wine punches, but because it adds depth and flavor for sauces and gravies that fill tables in fall.

Some of our favorite Southern red wines come from Texas, so make sure to check out our list of winery recommendations.

Sage

sage

This woody, hardy herb is plentiful at fall farmer's markets. It boasts a thick leaf, so it is tough enough to grow in cooler temps and holds its flavor and structure when cooked under high-heat conditions. It has an earthy, fragrant flavor and can adapt to many meals including roast chicken, root vegetables, and pasta.

Squash

Roasted-Kabocha-Squash

From acorn to butternut to spaghetti, sweet winter squashes are a staple of fall. They are ideal for baking and using in pasta dishes because their sweetness pairs perfectly with savory herbs and nutty cheeses like Parmesan.

Purée baked squash for soup or bake into a muffin for a hearty and healthy breakfast.

This post was originally published on September 18, 2020.

READ MORE: 9 Wild Mushrooms To Try Foraging This Fall

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