4 Easy Ways to Cook with Natural Ingredients

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4 Easy Ways to Cook with Natural Ingredients
David Hopkins

4 Easy Ways to Cook with Natural Ingredients

Introducing Delicious, Healthy Foods into your Daily Routine

If you’ve been interested in the benefits of cooking with natural ingredients, but haven’t been sure where to start, the good news is you’re not alone. In recent years more people have been talking about organic, unprocessed, whole ingredients and fresh farm-to-market foods. It’s an exciting trend, and it’s never been easier to get started.

What is natural?

Heidi Swanson, the author of Super Natural Cooking, had this to say about natural ingredients on 101 Cook Books:

“The term natural is open to interpretation, but here is what it means to me: Natural ingredients are whole — straight from the plant or animal — or they are made from whole ingredients, with a little processing and as few added flavorings, stabilizers, and preservatives as possible, thus keeping nutrients and original flavors intact; for example, tomatoes crushed into tomato sauce, cream paddled into butter, olives pressed into olive oil, or wheat berries ground into flour. For me, focusing on natural ingredients also means avoiding genetically modified and chemically fertilized crops, as well as dairy products that come from cows treated with growth hormones. Take these natural foods with their super nutritional profiles, their unique and complex flavors, and their lighter impact on the environment and you have an expansive and exciting realm to explore.”

How do we make natural ingredients part of our daily routine?

1. Cook at home

If you set a goal to cook more at home each week, you will already be well on your way to using natural ingredients—by avoiding microwaveable meals and fast foods, where you may not be entirely sure what the ingredients are. Some people don’t cook at home because they aren’t confident about their cooking ability or they believe it takes too much time. At Saladmaster, we have cooking coaches available at a Dealership near you. They are happy to discuss your cooking goals and can provide ways for you to increase your confidence in the kitchen with meals that take less time to prepare.

Ultimately, cooking at home gives you greater control of what ingredients you introduce to your family.

2. Visit the bins at your grocery store

If you cook more at home, you will be going to the grocery store more often. Instead of walking immediately to the frozen food section, visit the fruit and vegetable bins. Many grocery stores do a good job of labeling their produce. Look for terms such as "local," "seasonal," and "organic." Familiarize yourself with what each term means. Decide what matters to you.

Buying from the bins is usually cheaper than buying frozen, bagged vegetables. You will often get more for your money. The Saladmaster Food Processor will enable you to quickly cut and prepare your produce.

3. Visit the farmers markets

If you have a farmers market near where you live, you should go visit it. Walk around and see what they have available. You may also want to look into CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm Shares. It isn’t always as convenient as your grocery store, but you may find that it’s worth it to support local farms.

4. Dabble with a backyard garden

Now we’re getting into something that’s a bit more advanced. However, you can’t get any more “local” than in your own backyard. You can start simple. Mother Earth News recommends beginning with radishes, salad greens, green beans, onions, strawberries, peppers, bush zucchini, tomatoes, or potatoes. These are some of the easiest to grow and offer lots of combinations for cooking. Most are easy to grow from a packet of seeds. If you enjoy gardening, you can always expand what you’re doing.

Do you have any suggestions on how to make cooking with natural ingredients part of your daily routine? Share your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Use the #Saladmaster hashtag so we can see it. 

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