Walking down the produce aisle at the grocery store can be intimidating. How can you tell what veggies are fresh? Ripe? One good way of picking better tasting vegetables is shopping more seasonably!  By buying plants at their peak seasons (and reading up on how to tell when they're ripe), you can always have food at its natural best. Here are a few great fall vegetables you shouldn't miss out on this season, with tips on how to pick 'em!

Okra

Okra, also known as "lady's fingers" outside the US, grows early and easily in hot weather.  It's best to pick medium-sized pods free of bruises or scars that are tender, but not-too-soft, and fuzzy all over. Don't wash the okra until you are ready to eat them, as storing wet okra will cause it to become sticky.

Creole Okra

Brussels Sprouts

These wild cabbages, named after the city in Belgium, are a love-it or hate-it crop. If you love them, the best way to buy Brussels sprouts is in their natural state - thick clusters still on the stalk. They'll keep for much longer this way, and are tastier too!

Brussels Sprout and Cauliflower GratinBrussels Sprout and Cauliflower Gratin

Rutabagas

Rutabagas, sometimes called yellow turnips, are actually larger and sweeter than ordinary turnips.  Their season extends from fall into winter, though they are generally available all year round.  If you want to enjoy rutabagas at their seasonal best, pick ones that are smooth and heavy for their size that are firm with no green shoots.

Mashed Potato, Rutabaga, and Parsnip CasseroleMashed Potato, Rutabaga, and Parsnip Casserole

Artichokes

Peak artichoke season is in the spring, but if you love this leafy little plant, you'll be happy to know they have a second mini-season in mid-autumn! The artichokes might be a little smaller this time of year, but they're just as tasty as ever. To pick a good one, you should look for tight, compact formed heads with thistles, and the artichoke should be heavy for its size.

Artichoke Spinach LasagnaArtichoke Spinach Lasagna

Turnips

White turnips are a classic addition to many Thanksgiving tables.  If you've never eaten one, many liken the taste and texture to a cross between a potato and a carrot. In fact, they're frequently paired with those vegetables in dishes because of their complementary flavors! Picking a good turnip is much like picking a good rutabaga; choose one heavy for its size.

Turnip SouffléTurnip Soufflé

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Photo Credits: Blog Stew, Parentables, Food Network, Southern Living, Rick Bakas

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