Health

11 Foods You'd Be Stupid Not to Eat in September

Published On 09/01/2016 Published On 09/01/2016
mushroom lasagna
Drew Swantak/Thrillist

The crisp autumnal air of September has arrived, and everyone is giddy in anticipation of fall! Well, everyone except Billie Joe Armstrong, who doesn't even want to be conscious for the entire month, let alone pick his own apples in the waning dusklight.

But hey, he's earned it -- did YOU compose a rock opera that was adapted into what The New York Times called a "gorgeously wrought" Broadway musical? Did YOU earn 3.5/5 stars from Rolling Stone for said rock opera, which praised you for the "emotional flavor" of your "top-shelf" songs? No? Then you have no right to sleep through September.

And why would you want to, what with all these beautiful foods rolling into a farmers market near you? Eat 'em up, until September ends.

Flickr/Duncan c

Romanesco

It's crazy what they're doing with vegetables these days! Oh wait, this one's been around in Italy since the 16th century. Damn, why'd we let this fly under the radar for so long? It's a brassica, so you'd think it would be everywhere, what with its bevy of health benefits and alien aesthetic, but you still have to do some searching to find it on the regular. When you do, follow Mario Batali's lead and make yourself some romanesco alla diavola

Flickr/Ferrous Buller

Matsutake mushrooms

You're going to have so much fun saying the names of seasonal foods this September, what with all the romanescos and the matsutake mushrooms you'll be cooking. Also, you've forgotten what fun is. Anyway, the start of fall is a good time to pick up whatever new wild mushrooms turn up at your local market to saute with butter and onions, but we can all agree that "matsutake" sounds the coolest, right? Whatever 'shroom you choose, it's safe to say you'll receive the potassium and copper your deprived body craves

Flickr/Angela Redmon

All kinds of apples

You don't deserve to live if you're one of those monstrous "humans" who eats Red Delicious. There's no greater bait-and-switch in food marketing: "Oh, look, these apples are accurately described as red. They must also be delicious," you think, just before biting into one and getting a mouthful of BETRAYAL.

Arkansas Black, Stayman Winesap, RubyFrost, Autumn Crisp -- if there's an apple you haven't tried before at your farmers market, EAT IT. There's no chance it'll be worse than a Red Delicious. And you know the old saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away," is based on truth -- generally a good thing unless you've been severely wounded and require immediate medical attention. 

bonchan/Shutterstock

Uni

Who among us doesn't enjoy sea urchin gonads? Because sea urchin is hand-harvested, it's much more sustainable than other commercial catches, especially when it's from Canada. Those Canadians seem to know how to do everything just a little bit better, don't they? Right down to the urchin harvesting. 

"Urchin" is a funny, antiquated insult to bust out at a family dinner, preferably over sushi, because let's be real: you're not going to be buying fresh urchins and preparing them yourself. But their season tends to start in mid-September, so this is the time to go. Did you know that sea urchin immune systems are proving crucial in our understanding of immune system evolution? Now you do! 

Flickr/arsheffield

Figs

Newton shouldn't have a monopoly on figs, which have been around since before Biblical times and deserve more than their reputation as the sad excuse for dessert that lame parents pack in their kids' lunches. Nobody will trade their Gushers for them! Figs on their own are quite beautiful, which is why you've seen them more and more on your Insta feed, but they've also stuck around for so long because they give you all the major carotenoids, which is a good thing, duh! 

Flickr/see1,do1,teach1

Grapes!

Taking a page out of the Jeb! Bush rebranding playbook, but somehow it works with grapes, which do not make a good ice cream flavor. On second thought, this rebranding kind of ruins The Grapes! of Wrath, though old Tom Joad could use some freshening up for a millennial audience that wants positivity and constant action and fewer starving old men suckling at the teet of a mother who's just had a stillborn child. 

Now that you have that image in your mind, remember that grapes should be eaten right off the vine so you can soak up all that sweet anti-cancer resveratrol

Flickr/Stijn Nieuwendijk

Sardines

These aren't your grandfather's sardines, and if they are, throw them away immediately, why the hell do you have Pawpaw's old fish? The old canned junk is all well and good, but find some fresh ones to throw on the grill and you'll be rewarded, if not in riches than in omega-3 fats, which are so, so, so, so, so good for you you'll forget to die. Once you find a good fresh source (from the Pacific!), all they need is a little salt and lemon and they're good to go. 

Flickr/Karen Christine Hibbard

Bitter melon

Now with 20% more bitterness! For the sourpusses out there who don't like foods that taste "good" to a Western palate, start getting down with bitter melon, which Serious Eats, in an apparent mark of praise (?), says is "unabashedly bitter, with an acerbic taste that leaves your tongue and the roof of your mouth dry." Still, what may be strange at first is all the more reason to try it; when's the last time you really felt challenged in life? Probably never! And you'll get all sorts of anti-diabetic and anti-cancerous benefits to boot. 

Flickr/urbanworkbench

Amaranth greens

NPR just ran a pretty clever headline about amaranth, somehow implying that people tend to overhype new superfoods in this fast-paced internet age, when newness is more valuable than all other qualities, yet few things are genuinely new. Cut loose and enjoy the amaranth, NPR, sheesh. Most of the amaranth buzz you hear will be around the grain, so why not zig when everyone else is zagging and go for the greens? Amaranth comes in many varieties, but tends to be drought-resistant and durable, making it the perfect way to get your fiber during the Food Wars of 2020. Until then, throw it into your favorite stir-fry. 

Flickr/William Ismael

Little Sweetie cantaloupe

Melon season is fading into the distant memory of another summer passed without having spent enough time enjoying yourself outdoors, so hop on these Little Sweeties and marvel at the bizarre world of branding and trademarking food that you can grow. Intellectual property FTW! These are just smaller cantaloupes, really, but they're certainly not bitter. If you want to take your 'loupe game (that's what everyone says) to the next level, zest some lime over a fresh-cut fruit and soak up that sweet, sweet beta-carotene

Drew Swantak/Thrillist

Vegetarian lasagna and root beer

According to multiple credible sources, this is Billie Joe Armstrong's favorite meal, so now is a good time to mention that BJA said of smash-hit Broadway musical American Idiot, "I didn't know women would sound that good singing my songs." And, of political songs, he told TIME magazine, "It can't just be some empty rhetoric and a bunch of finger-pointing. If you're going to write a political song, it's gotta come from the same place that you write a love song."

True enough! This September, thank your lucky stars that the '90s and the culture void of the early aughts they inspired are over, and we now have access to all kinds of good organic food and streaming music. 

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Anthony Schneck is the Health editor at Thrillist and the frontman of a Green Day tribute band. Follow him @AnthonySchneck.

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