5 Essential Tips For Grilling During Winter

Grilling during the winter season is a lot different than doing so in the summer. There are more elements to consider and the weather is overall more harsh. Not to mention that it’s freezing cold! But that’s what makes a fresh off the grill burger, hotdog or steak more appetizing – a warm, delicious meal on a cold day.

Here are 5 essential tips for grilling during winter that you can try this holiday season:

A cover makes all the difference

Using a cover for your grill, whether it’s winter time or not, ensures that your grill will be protected from harsh elements outside, making its life longer. When it’s snowing, all the more a cover is needed – it will protect your grill from heavy rainfall and will keep it snow-free. Just have a brush or a small shovel nearby to dust the snow off the cover before cooking.

Keep extra fuel

If you’re grilling using charcoal, it’s ideal to have some extra as charcoal burns quicker because of the cold and the wind – you don’t want your barbecue to be cut short because you’ve run out of fuel. If you’re grilling using gas, make sure that your tank is full before each barbecue session to make sure that your grill is able to maintain the right temperatures to cook food evenly.

Don’t over check

Once the lid is down, set your timer and wait for your food to cook properly. When you check too much, the winter weather will cause your grill’s temperature to drop and your food won’t be cooked evenly. Keep the lid closed and check only when necessary.

Practice safety

During winter, the grease can accumulate at the bottom of your grill quickly which increases the risk of fire. Have a bottle of water ready (it’s not as easy to access the hose during winter as it is in summer time) or a fire extinguisher ready in case of fire or flare ups.

Pre-heat your grill earlier

When the weather is cold, your grill takes a lot longer to heat up before you can cook anything on it. You also have to allow some time to melt off the grease first. Also, it’s ideal to pre-heat your serving platter – when the food is cooked, you don’t want it to cool too quickly. Serve warm, delicious grilled food on a pre-heated serving plate.

A Healthy Way of Cooking Rice & Grains

Cooking rice and grains is a bit more complicated than cooking other foods. While too less heat may leave them uncooked or unevenly cooked, heating them too much may make them mushy and ruin their natural flavor. Similarly, while adding too much water may make them watery, using less water may cause them to be dry and not be soft and fluffy like you want them to. The thing is – the cookware plays a great role in cooking them with just the right amount of water and heat distributed evenly and thoroughly.

Most conventional cookware made from metals or ceramics fail to serve this purpose. First of all, the heat from this cookware is too harsh and is never evenly distributed. It’s usually more at the bottom than at the top which leaves the grains unevenly cooked. Secondly, there is no efficient way to filter out excess water so that just the right amount of water may be left that makes the grains moist and fluffy – just the way everybody likes them.

Another serious problem with conventional cookware is that most metals and ceramics leach toxins into food while cooking. I did an alkaline baking soda test on some cookware to confirm this fact. The alkalinity of food makes it reactive to the metal ions that this cookware leach. So, when an alkaline baking soda solution is heated in such cookware, they do the same to it. The test is pretty easy to do though:

  1. Boil 2-3 cups of water in any pot, when it starts boiling add 2 tsp of baking soda, boil for 5 more minutes. Turn stove off.
  2. Wait till cool enough to taste then taste the water (take a sip). If you taste metals, that’s what you’re eating! If water has a rubber/paint taste it’s the chemicals from enamel/glaze.

As a control, stir 2 tsp of baking soda to 1 glass of water and take a sip – you will taste just the baking soda.

I did the same test on a pure clay cookware as well and surprisingly it didn’t leach. I did some research and found out why it happened. Pure clay is a naturally inert material and if no chemicals are used in manufacturing process or for glazing, it stays that way and so, doesn’t leach.

Unlike metal/ceramic, pure clay cookware radiates far-infrared heat that is food-friendly and penetrates deep into each grain to cook evenly and thoroughly. They are good heat retainers, so you can turn the stove off even before the water fully boils – the grains keep cooking with the heat retained in the pot.

Pure clay pots are semi-porous which lets excess water evaporate and leave just enough moisture in cooked grains to make them soft and fluffy. I cooked rice in them and noticed that they were delicious and each grain was separate from each other without adding any fats, oils or additives – the pot took care of everything. I can confidently say that pure clay pots are ideal for cooking rice and grains.

Miriam’s Earthen Cookware is known to be the only makers of pure clay pots and I got mine from them. They have chosen this healthy material, pure clay for making cookware after a lot of research and people are really happy and satisfied with this healthy way of cooking, as evident from Google reviews.

Six Benefits of Coconut Oil That May Change Your Perspective

It’s no secret that coconut oil has become very popular all over the world. With all its benefits and uses it can definitely be on the top of your next shopping list. Here are six benefits of coconut oil that may change your perspective.

  1. High in saturated fats, your body automatically becomes healthier turning all LDL cholesterols in your body to HDL cholesterols. This means that any unhealthy and dangerous cholesterol found in your body gets converted to improve your health and reduce your cholesterol levels.
  2. Coconut oil is easier to digest and passes through the body quickly. It turns into energy rather than fat because it passes through the liver. Whilst it is an easily digestible food it also adds great flavour and volume to most of your dishes that makes the body crave more.
  3. It also treats UTIs and kidney infections. The components that make up coconut oil have antibacterial properties that help to speed up inflammation in the kidneys. The water of the coconut is also beneficial when trying to heal any kidney infections or UTIs.
  4. The coconut oil improves energy making a day easier to handle. As it does not get stored as fat and gets converted into energy, like most food, it helps you to live your day without feeling tired or fatigued. Your metabolism also increases to help you with digestion throughout the day.
  5. Besides being consumed, coconut oil can also be applied on the skin. Components that make up this oil helps to heal skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, burns and dandruff. Its hydrating feature cures any flaky or damaged skin that does not have moisture anymore.
  6. Best of all, it is an oil that does not contain carbohydrates. Most oils don’t actually contain carbohydrates but they often don’t settle well in the stomach if a lot is consumed. This oil, on the other hand, agrees with many of the body’s organs and helps them to fight off disease and infection whilst being digested.

So there are the six benefits of coconut oil that may change your perspective and views. All facts have been scientifically proven but it is always advisable to check with your doctor if you have any adverse effects. Before deciding to only consume coconut oil, keep in mind that to survive and to be healthy, your body needs to consume all types of food from the various food groups.

3 Essential Tips For Cooking Fish On The Grill

Once in a while, it’s nice to take a break from heavy meats like beef and pork. Try grilling fish – it’s a lighter meal but equally satisfying. Fish that are firm and thick are most ideal for the grill because they won’t stick as much and won’t fall apart easily. Halibut, salmon and tuna are great choices because they are packed with natural oils (they don’t dry up too quickly).

Follow these 3 essential tips for grilling fish and you’ll have a light smoky and hearty meal in no time!

Choose good quality fish

While frozen goods are an option, the fresh variety is most ideal. When at the market or store buying fish, be aware of its smell – there is indeed that distinct odor but it shouldn’t be too strong and won’t make your pinch your nose together. Aim for one that is firm to the touch with moist, shiny skin and pink gills. The meat should be white, not beige or yellow. If you must buy frozen fish, go only for those well-packaged ones – tightly wrapped in plastic without dryness or freezer burns and displayed in a bright and clean section.

Prepare it right for the grill

Experts recommend to grill the fish on the day of purchase, depending on the packaging’s “use-by” date if bought frozen. If you got it fresh, immediately clean it and transfer it to a container. Cover it tightly then refrigerate until ready to grill. If you got it frozen, keep it in its original packaging then refrigerate as well. Marinate for only about 3 to 4 hours as the meat of fish is soft and could easily get mushy. Tuna, swordfish and other dry, firm and thick fish are best for marinating. When grilling delicate ones such as flounder or tilapia, it’s ideal to wrap them in foil packets so that they won’t fall apart on your grill.

Grill it right

When you’re ready for the grill, make sure that your fish is dry as a wet one won’t sear. To prepare your fish, rinse it with cold water then use a paper towel to pat it dry. If you’re not using any marinade, brush the fish with oil then sprinkle it lightly with salt and black pepper before it hits the flames. Oil the grates and pre-heat the grill – this will help prevent the fish from sticking to your grill.

These 3 essential tips for grilling fish will help you successfully make a light, delicious meal!