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What foods are in season in autumn?

In partnership with Dr Sandro Demaio

Here's what should be on your autumn grocery list.

Credit: nib health insurance

There’s something quite magical about autumn in Australia. The clear, sunny days and crisp nights are a welcome reprieve from the heat of summer, and the shelves are full of new-season produce to tempt us back into the kitchen.

Nutritionists recommend eating a rainbow of fruit and vegetables every day – and autumn is an ideal time to put this into practice, with an array of green, red, orange, yellow and purple produce to fill your plate.

Not only is eating seasonally tastier and more sustainable, it's generally more cost effective.

To celebrate the best the season has to offer, we asked Dr Sandro Demaio, a medical doctor, the CEO of VicHealth and author of The Doctor’s Diet cookbook, to share his autumn grocery list and recipe ideas.

Autumn vegetable shopping list

Bok choyEggplantSilverbeet
Brussels sproutsKaleSpring onion
CapsicumLettuceSweet potatoes

Autumn vegetable recipe ideas

Root vegetables like potato, parsnip, carrots, squash and sweet potato are all in season during autumn. For an easy and tasty side dish, chop them into medium-sized cubes and roast them in the oven; any leftovers will taste even better the next day.

Sandro also has some suggestions for simple meals that’ll have the whole family eating their greens – even broccoli and cabbage.

“Broccoli can be roasted with garlic to make a crunchy, delicious side, or lightly steamed and served in a salad with flaked almonds, feta, olive oil and seasoning. Cauliflower can also be roasted with garlic or spices, like cumin, and turned into a soup, or tossed with barley, walnuts and herbs to make a delicious salad.

“Cabbage is also a favourite of mine, although it commonly has a bad reputation. When done well, it’s a very cheap and tasty way to get your daily greens. I like to slice it into wedges and pan-fry it with butter and oil, which brings out its sweetness while keeping its shape.”

Autumn fruit shopping list


Autumn fruit recipe ideas

So many different fruits are available in autumn and many of them – like apples, bananas and mandarins – can be easily packed into a lunchbox for a healthy mid-morning snack. Traditionally, this is also a time for preserving fruits – try stewed rhubarb or plums for a tasty dessert or turn an abundance of berries into jam. Or, freeze chopped banana and raspberries now and use them in healthy smoothies and muffins later.

Sandro adds that autumn fruit is an unexpected but delicious addition to salads, too.

“Autumn salads can also be taken up a notch with seasonal pomegranates and figs. Mix green leaves, such as rocket, spinach or kale with pomegranate or sliced figs; add some goat’s cheese and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and you have yourself an elegant yet simple autumn salad.”

Want more recipe ideas using autumn ingredients? Check out this yummy roasted cauliflower salad with creamy tahini dressing.

Do autumn vegetables and fruits differ across states and territories?

The sheer size of our country means that autumn in Australia can differ widely depending on where you’re located. In Far North Queensland, it’s likely to be windy, with mild temperatures and little rainfall, while Tasmania can feel decidedly chilly, with temps in the low teens and southerly winds blowing up from Antarctica.

In spite of this, in-season vegetables and fruits will be fairly similar across the country, as many growers ship their produce nationwide. There may be some small differences in locally grown produce – for example, you might spot more watermelons and rockmelons in Queensland at this time of year. Always look for produce marked “Grown in Australia”.

How does shopping seasonally save on grocery costs?

Eating Australian-grown produce not only ensures you’re eating in season, and sustainably, it can also lower your grocery bill by cutting down on transport costs. Shopping at local farmers’ markets is another way to save.

Environment Victoria estimates out-of-season produce travels more than 21,000km before it reaches your kitchen, so eating locally sourced seasonal produce is a great way to help the environment too.

For another healthy eating tip that will save you money, Dieticians Australia recommends keeping frozen foods on hand for when seasonal fresh produce is unavailable. Find out everything you need to know about Fresh vs frozen: Which vegetables are best?

Dr Sandro Demaio

Dr Sandro Demaio smiling

In partnership with

Dr Sandro Demaio

Co-host of the ABC TV series ‘Ask the Doctor’, author of 30 scientific papers and ‘The Doctor’s Diet’ (a cookbook based on science), Dr Sandro Demaio is an Aussie medical doctor and global expert on non-communicable diseases.

For more articles by Dr Sandro Demaio, check out The Check Up’s dedicated section.