Health Column: Harvest Your Health

By Caitlin Huber, Viterbo student nurse

Fall is just around the corner and visions of pumpkins, corn mazes, apple pies, and garden fresh vegetables may be dancing in your head. Fall is the perfect time of year to harvest fresh foods that are not only nutritious but also make a colorful dinner plate.

If you are lacking a green thumb and do not have fresh produce growing in your backyard, you might be wondering where the best place is to get fall produce. There are many places throughout the community, such as the La Crosse farmer’s market on Fridays and Saturdays in Cameron Park, local apple orchards, or even just picking out seasonal produce at a local grocery store.

Some tried and true fall foods sure to please your palate include sweet potatoes, cranberries, apples, sweet corn, beets, pears, pomegranates, squash, cabbage, and persimmons. Get some of your favorites, and if you are feeling adventurous, add a new food to your basket. For example, persimmons are a small orange fruit that are high in fiber, vitamins A, C, E, and B6, copper, magnesium, and potassium. In essence, these fruits can boost immune system, help with digestion, improve eye health, help lower blood pressure, and improved circulation.

Here are two recipes including fall harvest foods that are sure to please.

Baked Parmesan Sweet Potatoes


  • 2 sweet potatoes (peeled and cubed)
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 2 TB butter (melted)
  • 4 TB grated Parmesan Cheese
  • ½ tsp. garlic salt
  • ½ tsp. Italian Seasoning
  • dried parsley


1.     Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.     Peel and cube sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes.

3.     Place garlic, oil, butter, salt, Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning in a resealable bag and mix well.

4.     Throw in sweet potatoes and shake until well coated.

5.     Place aluminum foil on cookie sheet and lightly spray.

6.     Place coated sweet potatoes onto cookie sheet and spread out evenly.

7.     Bake for 18-22 minutes.

8.     Serve warm and sprinkle with dried parsley if desired.


Easy Persimmon Jam


  • 1 cup persimmon puree (6 large persimmons, peeled)
  • 1 cup sugar
  •  Juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch


1.     Peel the persimmons, chop and place in a food processor. Pulse until you are left with a smooth puree.

2.     Transfer persimmon puree into a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and add the sugar. Boil for 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring occasionally.

3.     In a small bowl, mix water and corn starch until the corn starch is dissolved. Add the mixture to the persimmon puree followed by the lemon juice and boil on low - medium heat for another 15 minutes, (stirring occasionally), or until slightly thickened.

4.     Let the jam cool to room temperature.

5.     Pour into sterilized jars and seal, store in the freezer. Or pour into mason jars, that can be closed airtight and store in the refrigerator for immediate consumption.

6.     Tastes great on cheesecake or toast.


Nine Amazing Benefits of Persimmons. (2017). Retrieved from