Rethinking Winter Veggies:
Here are two questioning comments I hear often around changing the diet to a whole food and seasonally based one:
- There are no vegetables that grow in Northern NY in the winter time. I have to purchase kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, and other vegetables that are grown in Florida and California. Otherwise, what would I eat?
- OK, so I am getting to know the local vegetables that are available in late fall and winter but what do I do with them?
A list of winter storage vegetables available in Northern NY:
- cabbage: red and green
- winter, hard squash (there are many varieties)
- burdock parsley root
Farms and stores to purchase local (winter) vegetables in Northern NY: (I am certain this is not an all-inclusive list; investigate and find a farmer who grows good food near you!)
CSA Farms for Winter Veggies: (Again, not an all-inclusive list BUT to find more, go to www.gardenshare.com, Gardenshare's Local Food Guide and find a farmer near you who offers what you are looking for.)
OK, now for the cooking part. I am not going to put recipes here. I am more in favor of people learning to improvise in the kitchen: grab what you have and be creative based upon time honored methods of cooking and seasoning. Trust me, it is easy. Take a deep breath and just relax and let the cooking flow!
- Mashed potatoes are yummy! Try any of these root veggies in the mashed version, adding milk and butter. Try several root veggies steamed up and mashed together. Hint: When you steam, simmer, or boil the root veggie: use the least amount of water necessary and simmer gently. Maybe an inch of water in the pot, depending on the pot size and the amount of veggies. (Do not "rolling boil" them to death; it kills the flavor and the nutrients. As you boil off the nutrients you are boiling away the flavor!) Pour the "simmer" water off into a coffee mug and drink it. There will be just a little bit of water left by conservatively adding water and simmering gently.
- Roast any or all of the root veggies. Chop into bite size chunks, coat with your favorite oil sturdy enough to handle the oven heat, and roast for 35-45 minutes. Stir every 10 to 15 minutes and stab with a fork after 30 to test for tenderness. You want to create crunchy, cooked veggies, not mushy veggies.
- Soups, stews, stir fries are always good options.
- Squash, well... it is squash, roast it up. Steam them if you are short on time. Oven roasting can take 1 hour or more, steaming takes 20 minutes. A butternut squash, raw, grates up nicely into a winter veggie slaw. Just add chucks of apples, maybe a few raisins, and an olive oil - apple cider vinegar dressing seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and nutmeg.
- Cabbage is yummy in soups, stews, and stir fries. Saute' a pan of onions, potatoes, and cabbage and serve with your favorite protein.
- Make cabbage and grated root veggie slaws. (If you click that link back there, you will get one recipe from me! But... it is one I have given you many times!) This is my nightly favorite to add a "raw" salad to the winter meal fare: good fiber, good nutrients, and good enzymes from raw foods!
The above slaw is grated: red and green cabbage, celeriac, purple and orange carrots, and a Braeburn apple. The apple was so juicy I only added a bit of olive oil, a dash of cinnamon, and called it "dressed!"