WINTER PREP FOOD IDEAS
This post is about winter food prep ideas. I’m going out on a limb here, and assume that you also love Croatian food.
If you want to save this for later, you can pin it to Pinterest here:
If this your first time to find me, here are some details about me and how this blog began:
It is so fresh and tasty and much of the homegrown stuff is unsprayed with chemicals or pesticides. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I emigrated to Croatia because even though I grew up in California, until now I had never tasted such delicious tomatoes.
The apple/pear/fig doesn’t fall far from the tree…
I inherited my love of cooking from my mom, Helen Kingsley. She’s French, you know. Of she, myself and my younger sister, she is definitely the slimmest -but the best cook. OK, I am in the second place (for both categories). I think cooking fills your senses with the lovely aroma that when it comes to sitting down and actually eating, a person already feels half full.
Winter Food Prep Ideas:
Despite the warm weather and the reluctance to think about summer coming to an end, it unfortunately will.
As Kate Northrup says, There is a cycle for everything. A three-minute You-tube video that talks about this very concept: Click here to hear Kate
Anyway, here in Dalmatia we have our rituals and as summer comes to a close, (sob, weep) there is lots to be done in the kitchen.
No, not remodeling silly – that is in Spring.
We start paring tomatoes, cooking salsa.
Related Post: Legendary Home Grown Tomatoes
We pick figs off our trees (as well as abandoned trees that no one tends to) and dry them in the sun.
Related Post: (add link to prior post).
We plant cabbages and potatoes for winter – even though no one “feels like it” they’ll be ready to eat right in time for early winter.
So what do cooks need to get these projects off the ground?
Tools and gadgets that I recommend:
- A good food processor. My Gorenje “multipraktik” as it’s called here (i.e. food processor) has been in daily use since my daughter was still in her stroller – twelve years going strong (but it is time to be thinking of buying a new one). I use it to dice onions, and even make my own peanut butter (it is tastier than the store brand and zero preservatives – good stuff when the kids need a quick sandwich)
- A good set of knives. Because we are all a little short on cash, many of us wait for hotel presentations put on by traveling salesmen (yes sometimes these are scams) selling mattresses or massage machines – all high-end items. Because they know you aren’t probably going to sit through their presentation without at least a parting gift, we wait till the end and get our free knife set or something similar. That is how I got mine 🙂
- A pressure cooker. I didn’t know that you can cook beans and legumes well in advance and store them in freezer bags. They stack right up. Before long, the kitchen will soon begin to smell wonderful – and you have dinners in the freezer for later -what a win-win 😀
I am a big believer in healthy eating, and most Croatian eat healthily without realizing it.
The Full Plate Diet
As a side note, there is new research out there that Fiber is the best way to keep hunger cravings at bay, and that by aiming or 75% fiber, digestion will take longer, and weight loss will be aided.
It’s also nice because you feel full and no one nags you about diet because you are actually eating a lot of food! More details about the (easy to follow) Full Plate diet can be found here:
How to cook legumes
However: to keep fuel costs down, I use a pressure cooker which cuts the cooking time in half. If possible, soak them overnight, rinse and then add a generous pinch of salt, celery (or selen, as it is called here. It looks like parsley but with a thicker stalk and is a MUST for good stews, soups or anything else for lunch that requires a tasty sauce) sprig, onion, carrot, garlic and tablespoon of Vegeta.
Our Goal: Save time and money
Instapots are the rage, but I prefer using the pressure cooker then add the homemade pasta and so on, I like being able to mix and match. Maybe your family, like mine, has its picky preferences. We have a vegetarian (who could eat nothing but vegetable all day long) and a recently reformed anti-vegetarian who will eat a spoonful or two of veggies, but more than that is pushing it 🙂
Autumn (simple) lunch
Anyway, you get my point. For autumn meals I usually have a pot of legumes or brown rice, plus a pot of vegetables (grilled eggplant and zucchini, with salsa as needed) and in a frying pan I cook up some homemade sausages or some other things so that each member is satisfied.
My family actually hates to eat out, they have gotten used to healthy eating, which is a huge money saving, and they are also looking quite healthy and fit 🙂
Given that I am self-employed and don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen, I have experience in this. So, I highly recommend that you consider the following:
- Planning meals at least a few days ahead, and cooking at least a double batch as long as the flavor doesn’t suffer (adjust spices and make sure it’s just as tasty)
- Store the rest for future usage – freezer, canning fruit in jars, making marmalade, salting bluefish like sardines with rock salt (it takes about two months), and drying figs (see photo). I also like to make a special dried fig cake called HIB, it looks like a round of cheese and goes down well with a shot of Croatian brandy.
- Canning fresh fruit – autumn crops include DUNJA – a wonderful fruit for winter doldrums
- Making a double batch of burek (cheeses pita) and desserts to keep fuel costs at bay – easy to warm up later and they taste just as good 🙂
- Focus on preparing seasonal foods now. Given the blessed bounty, it’ easy to get sick of a certain food item, but now is the time to prepare for winter.
When it’s cold outside it’s so much nicer to take something out of storage. First, you don’t have to go to the grocery store, and second, you feel like an ace. Believe me, it is so much nicer to take a winter walk, then read a book and/or learn how to knit a sweater or a potholder by the fire!
One of the advantages of living here is feeling that you are on Nature’s timeframe, so why not just go with the flow and like Kate mentions above, follow the four seasons.
Related Post: All about Figs
Winter food prep ideas are as abundant as the types of fall harvest foods available. Of course, we resist it, but late summertime really is the time to prepare for winter. More details to follow in future posts.
Tell me in the comments which ideas appeal to you most and what you would like to see more of.
Disclaimer: I do use affiliate links for the products which I myself use and recommend below. I may earn a commission, but at absolutely no cost to you.