Eating Seasonally…. Winter

For eating seasonally, here are some ideas: Winter Time = Roots, Onions, Squash, Potatoes, Winter Greens and Dried Beans.

The following is from: Recipes from the Root Cellar   270 Fresh Ways to Enjoy Winter Vegetables by Andrea Chesman

Squash

There are many different types of winter squashes, and which to grow or buy pretty much depends on your taste preferences. I prefer butternut squash above all others because it is the easiest to peel ad therefore the most versatile in the kitchen. Delicata is also a favorite because the skin is edible”.

“…Butternut squash may be peeled. Others should be cut in half or into pieces. Scrape out and discard any seeds and fibers.”

Types of Squash:

  • Acorn
  • Banana
  • Buttercup
  • Butternut
  • Calabaza
  • Delicata
  • Hubbard
  • Pumpkin
  • Spaghetti
  • Sweet Dumpling
  • Turban

Roots

Root vegetables… First and foremost, are all terrific roasted. Alone or in groups, there isn’t a root vegetable that doesn’t taste wonderful when roasted, and here’s the secret to roasting: use a hot oven (425-450 degrees F) and a large enough pan for the vegetables to barely touch each other. If the vegetables are crowded, they will steam rather than roast, and you won’t get the delicious carmelized sugars that give roasted vegetables their distinctive flavor. … Cut the vegetables to a uniform size (my favorite is a 1/2 inch – 3/4 inch dice) so they will cook evenly and fairly quickly, toss them with a little olive oil, and spread them out on an oiled half sheet pan. If they won’t fit in a single layer, use two pans. Roast for 2o to 35 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice …. They are done when the vegetables have shrunk considerably in size and are lightly browned and tender. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Or drizzle with balsamic vinegar or pomegranate molasses, season with salt and pepper and serve.”

…”There are just a few things to be careful about when it comes to root vegetables. Some root vegetables, especially carrots, beets, and parsnips, are quite sweet. So add them sparingly when sweetness is inappropriate- in soup stock,  for example. As root vegetables age, they use up their sugars. In the case of turnips and rutabagas, sulfurous flavors can become stronger.”

Types of Roots:


  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • celery root (celeriac)
  • Parsnips
  • Rutabagas
  • Salsify
  • Turnips
  • Kohlrabi

Winter Greens

“Hearty greens , as opposed to salad greens, stand up to cooking, though cabbage is delicious raw in a well-dressed salad.( Spinach, swiss chard, turnip greens, and beet greens are tender greens that are mostly unavailabe in the winter.) Most of the hearty greens belong to the Cabbage family, all descendants of the wild cabbage, Brassica oleracea.”

…”These vegetables stand up to some pretty cold growing conditions in the garden and can be counted on to store reasonably well in a refrigerator or root cellar. Most of all, they are all very nutritious, ranking high as a source of vitamines A, C, and E and calcium and are well regarded for their sulfur containing phytochemicals which are thought to provide significant protection against several different types of cancer. One of the best things you can do for the long term helath of your eyes is to enjoy a serving of greens a few times a week. You could also call these greens strongly flavored or assertive greens, because their flavors are strong 0r even bitter sometimes. …. You can tame the bitterness by blanching the vegetables for 5 to 7 minutes in plenty of boiling salted water, which will leach out some of the flavor compounds and give the greens a silken texture. Then prepare the recipe, sauteing or braising as the recipe directs. …. You can use kale, collard, and mustard greens interchangeably in most recipes.”

Types of Hearty Winter Greens:

  • Kale
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Collard Greens
  • Cabbage (Green, Red, Savoy and Chinese)
  • Mustard Greens

Tubers

“… B0th regular potatoes  and sweet potatoes had their origins in South America, and both are tubers, though the similarities pretty much end there….sweet potatoes are considered the most nutritious vegetable…. Nutritionists at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) ranked the sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegeatables.  Like potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes originated in the New World. Their roots sustained Native Americans, but have not been widely adopted by modern cooks. The slightly sweeter roots taste like a cross between potatoes and globe artichokes, if you can imagine that.”

Types of Tubers:

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Yams
  • Jerusalem Artichokes

Onions

“Despite the popularity of onion rings at hamburger joints and “blooming onions” at certain steakhouses, in most cases onions are used as flavoring rather than served as side dishes Althoug there are many types of onions, onions grown specifically for staroge are essential in the winter kitchen. They may have white, red, or yellow skins, but they can be used interchangeably. Storage onions are distinguished from green onions, somtimes called spring onions, which require refrigeration and are mild in flavor.  As a flavoring agent, the onion appears in many different types of dishes. In Cajun cooking  it is part of the trinity of flavors that includes celery and peppers. Quintessential eastern European Jewish cooking combines chicken fat with onions, while Hungarian cooking typically includes onions, lard, and paprika. Many French dishes begin with a mirepoix.. a mixture of diced onion, carrots, and celery,  perhaps sauteed in butter with herbs.  A similar mixture in Italy, sauteed in olive oil, is called a soffrito.”

Types of  Onions:

  • Onions
  • Shallot
  • Leeks
  • Garlic

Dried Beans

“A well-stocked winter kitchen contains plenty of dried beans, lentils, and split peas. These legumes add variety to the diet and are an extremely economical and healthful alternative to meat. Beans keep indefinitely. though age will toughen the skins and increase the cooking time. Beans should be salted after cooking. The rason is not, as it’s often said,  that salt in the cooking liquid toughens the skins, but that you are reducing the liquid so much that the beans may end up too salty– especially if you are cooking them with a ham bone or a piece of salt pork or bacon. Acids do toughen the skins, so never add acidic ingreients, including tomatoes, unitl the beans are fully cooked.”

…”Preparation… First, pick over and rinse the beans, discarding any foreign debris and shriveled beans. Then put the beans in a bowl, cover with water so there is at least 3 inches of water above the level of the beans, and leave to soak for 8 hours or overnight…..If you forgot to soak overnight, you can use the “quick-soak method”. Put the rinsed and sorted beans in a pot and cover them with cold tap water by at least 3 inches. Cover and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat, and let stand, covered, for 1 to 2 hours. Lentils and split peas do not require presoaking…..combine 2 cups soaked beans with 8 cups water, a choppped onion and bay leaves, and cook until tender. Then use the beans as a basis for any bean dish that calls for canned beans, including chili, soups and stews. Your home-cooked beans will have much more flavor than canned ones”.


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