People tend to eat different types of food depending on the season. Salads and other cold meals are refreshing in summertime. In the winter months, people look forward to a hot meal in the evenings to warm up after a long day at work. For a number of reasons, stew is a great winter meal. Some of those reasons include the following.
Warm and comforting
The most obvious reason that stew is a great winter meal is simply that it is warm and comforting on a cold winter’€™s night. There is the added benefit that, whether cooked in a slow cooker, on the stove, or in the oven, the house is given extra warmth in the process. Perhaps more importantly, people tend to lack serotonin levels in the cold winter months because of the shorter days, and, as a result, crave more carbohydrates. Root vegetables are packed with carbohydrates and can therefore make you feel instantly better.
Easy to prepare
After getting in from work on a cold night, the last thing that must people want is to prepare something complicated. A stew is quick to prepare and, even better, it can be cooked in a slow cooker during the day so that it is ready to eat once you get in from work. If there isn’€™t time to prepare the ingredients for a stew before going to work in the morning, they can be quickly put together after work and then left to cook in the oven or on the hob while you do some housework or have a warm bath.
Root vegetables are in season
Although there are a range of stews that you can make, they are particularly comforting when made with root vegetables, which tend to be in season during the winter months and tend to keep longer than other types of vegetables. Potatoes, both sweet and the ordinary version, parsnips, suede, beets, turnips and carrots all go very well in a stew and add a lot of substance to a meal, particularly when paired with dumplings, crusty bread or even rice. You can choose to eat meat or fish stews, or with just vegetables if that suits your palate.
Although there tends to be a lot of emphasis put on the nutritional value of green vegetables, root vegetables can be very nutritious themselves. A serving of sweet potato, for example, provides a daily allowance of Vitamin A, as well as being low in fat. Parsnips contain good amounts of vitamin C and potassium and beets are a good source of manganese and folate. Added to that, most root vegetables are an excellent source of dietary fiber and carbohydrates, which help keep you fuller for longer.
Cook in bulk and freeze
Stews are not only easy to prepare, they also freeze beautifully. If you prepare a large pot of stew each time, you should be able to put at least one portion aside to eat at a later date. Then, on those evenings when you just want something hot in a very short space of time, you can heat it up it and have a ready-made, nutritious meal. Even better, because you can add in whatever food you have available, the taste will be slightly different each time and so you are unlikely to become bored with it.
No matter what your taste, you can almost certainly find a type of stew that you enjoy. Go for something that you find online, or simply make up your own once you have mastered the basics.