Preparing for Winter Down Under

While summer is now in full swing in America and other parts of the Northern Hemisphere, it is easy to forget that the folks Down Under are now in winter.

As an aside, and a little bit of trivia, the term “Down Under” is a colloquialism used to refer to New Zealand (where I hail from originally, although I now live in California) and Australia. In fact there is an 80’s song titled Down Under by the Australian band Men At Work (OMG I ‘m showing my age!!). You might know it…..it’s awsome, it ROCKS!! Here it is 🙂 Down Under by Men at Work

Or if you want a taste of New Zealand, you HAVE to check out Poi E (again, showing my age!)

Please leave me a comment if either of these songs make you smile 🙂

But I digress…..of course everyone in the Southern Hemisphere is now in winter, not just Australia and New Zealand. So I thought I’d write a post dedicated to my Southern Hemisphere readers, because in winter the weather is colder, winter produce is in the shops, and our bodies need different fuel and different nourishment in the cold, wet winter months compared to what we need in summer.

Winter Prep and Tips

1. Eat locally grown, seasonal foods. Even if you can still buy strawberries, watermelon, asparagus or peaches in the stores in winter, it doesn’t mean that you should. Out of season produce has typically been grown somewhere else and has traveled a long way to reach your local store. Out of season produce tends to be more expensive, contains less nutrition (due to being harvested before it’s peak and traveling long distances) and doesn’t taste nearly as good as it does when available in season locally.

New Zealand seasonal produce guides:
Seasonal fruits and vegetables guide
Seasonal vegetable chart

Australia seasonal produce guide:
Seasonal food guide

2. Eat foods that will warm you up and give you energy. Winter produce tends to be more warming. Foods that take longer to grow (such as root vegetables as opposed to fast-growing spring greens) tend to be more warming and calorie-dense than foods that grow quickly. All of the animal foods fall into the “warming” category (chicken, beef, lamb, eggs, butter etc), as do the root vegetables (carrot, potato, kumara, pumpkin, parnsips, swedes, beets), allium family vegetables (onions, garlic, shallots, leeks etc) and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts.

3. Cook with warming spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cayenne pepper.

4. Cook with more heat. Use your oven to roast and bake. Your house will be warm and smell delicious, and your tummy will be very happy 🙂 Here are some recipes that use the oven:

Basic Meatloaf
Shepherd’s Pie
Spaghetti Squash Bake
Roast Lamb

5. Cook low and slow. Casseroles and stews make great winter meals. Or break out your slow cooker, throw in a hunk of meat and some vegetables, some salt and spices, and cook it low and slow for 8 hours or so. Slow cooking is a great way to turn tougher, cheaper cuts of meat into flavorful, melting goodness!

Italian Chicken and Sausage Casserole
Morocan Chicken Casserole
Rosemary Lamb Stew
Moroccan Lamb Stew

6. Make stock. Homemade stock is very easy and affordable to make, yet adds so much taste and nutrition to dishes. Use it as the base in soups, stews, casseroles, or heat a cup of chicken stock and season with a pinch of salt for a nourishing, warming drink. The taste of chicken stock reminds me of the chicken chips flavor from my childhood, only better 🙂

Beef stock
Chicken stock
Fish stock

7. Make soup. Soups made from homemade stock are tasty and nourishing. They are great any time of the day, and can be an easy make-ahead meal. I have a ton of great soup recipes to choose from – I was making a new soup every week while my soup carnival Sunday Night Soup Night was running. Check out the archives for more great soup recipes!

8. Eat animal fats. Fat is calorie-dense and very warming. Spread butter on your toast. Cook with butter, or lard, or tallow. Make your own ghee!

9. Eat liver! Liver is a powerhouse of nutrition – fat-soluble vitamin A, B-vitamins (including B-12 and folic acid), iron, the antioxidant CoQ10 just to name a few.

Lamb’s Fry and Bacon
Liver and Beef Stroganoff
Chicken Liver Pate

Nature has a marvelous way of providing what we need to eat to be healthy in the region where we live. Eat well, keep warm and be healthy this winter!

Linking to: Monday ManiaHomestead BarnhopFat Tuesday, Traditional TuesdaysSimple Lives ThursdayPennywise Platter Thursdays

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7 Comment

  1. I love that I have found a number of lovely bloggers from Down Under this year! I love the great perspective that as I am sweating my buns off, you guys are bundled up against the cold winter. And when I read these sort of posts it actually almost makes me wish winter would hurry up and get here already! Well, almost…. 🙂 And yes that Men at Work is just one of those classics that never gets old. Blessings!

    1. Debbie says: Reply

      I’m from New Zealand originally but I live in California now (updated the post to make that clear!) but all of my family is in New Zealand and many of my friends. We just had my inlaws staying with us and they were not looking forward to going back home to the cold winter weather, and that made me realize…duh…that not everyone reading our blogs is in the same season as us! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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  3. Debora Diana says: Reply

    Hi Debbie,
    I’m from Brazil, São Paulo, and winter has reached us! It is very good to read about and remember the winter recipes. Thanks for the great post!

    1. Debbie says: Reply

      Thanks Debora! I hope you stay warm and healthy over winter 🙂

  4. Great read. How much does it save farmers after harvesting and preserving enough fruits and vegetables to last them through the winter months?

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