Best healthy cooking methods for Fall and Winter

Q. How should I cook in winter? And why is it different than cooking in summer?

A. It's natural to want a bowl of hot oatmeal on a cold morning, a piping hot bowl of soup for lunch, or slow cooked meat and vegetable one-dish meals for dinner. Why does this feel so natural? The reason is your body wants foods that are warming. Winter is a time when you are trying to stay warm. Just as some foods that are in season in the winter will warm your body, so will different cooking methods.

Q. How do I know how to cook what foods in fall and winter?

A. It just so happens that these cooking methods and certain foods are a natural complement to one another. Many of the winter root vegetables take longer to cook than summer vegetables, and make a healthy and flavorful addition to soups and stews. So they would naturally be more suitable to cold weather cooking methods.

Q. What are cold weather cooking methods?

A. The best cooking methods for cold weather months are:

  • Braised in the oven, with a little liquid in the pan, and covered
  • Simmered slowly on top of the stove on low heat
  • Crock pot
  • Roasting your vegetables in the oven

All of these slow cooking methods will nourish and warm your body the best in cold weather. Many of our soup recipes are easily prepared in a short amount of time. However, the longer you cook them, the more warming affect they will have. Similarly, braising in the oven or on top of the stove cooks meat and vegetables slowly. This cooking method will tenderize meat and vegetables, and infuse the flavors with the broth. Food cooked this way in the winter nourishes your body, is easier to digest when it’s cold out, and helps your body to build heat. This alleviates stress from the body trying to stay warm. We all could use less stress.

Q. Can you give me an example of how I slow cook?

A. The best way to cook foods slowly is to pick vegetables that are in season such as root vegetables. Begin by Healthy Sautéing your onions, add your meat and vegetables, mix well and add broth. It can either be put in the oven at this point to be left alone to slowly braise, no higher than 350 degrees, or cooked on top of the stove on low heat. If you choose to cook slowly on top of the stove, it will cook a little faster than in the oven, but it takes more attention. You have to check on it periodically and stir. If you choose to braise in the oven, you can simply put it in the oven on a low temperature and return a couple hours later if you choose. Roasting vegetables in the oven is another way of creating a more warming affect from your food. Remember, if you want a more warming affect from these recipes slow down the cooking. The longer and slower they cook the more warming affect they have on your body.

Following are some of our winter recipes to support you to cook warming foods.

All of our soup recipes are wonderful for the winter months except Gazpacho.

This page was updated on: 2002-11-21 19:03:54
© 2002 The George Mateljan Foundation