To face the drop in temperature, it is important to eat well. Nature is always generous and offers us fruits and vegetables for every moment of the year, adapted to the needs of our body. In November, it is still possible to enjoy some autumnal vegetables such as squash, mushrooms, broccoli or cauliflower. In December, the undisputed stars are the root vegetables, such as carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, turnips, beets, salsify, but also oranges, mandarins and clementines. A great choice on the shelves before the arrival of winter. Under the magnifying glass: Jerusalem artichokes, chestnuts, pears and walnuts. To make your mouth water.
Jerusalem artichoke, winter artichoke, earth pear, perennial sunshine or Canadian truffle, the Jerusalem artichoke has many nicknames. Native to North America, this pinkish-brown tuber has a fine, mild flavour similar to that of the artichoke. The Jerusalem artichoke, which replaced the potato during the Second World War, was long forgotten. But this root with multiple virtues seduces today the palates, and its return on the shelves from October to February is a moment much awaited.
Easy to cook, Jerusalem artichokes can be eaten hot or cold, but always cooked: in boiling salted water, in the oven, in a frying pan or in the steam. Connoisseurs cook it in a steamer, as this is how its flavours come out best. Before using Jerusalem artichokes, peel them in the same way as potatoes. As it oxidizes quickly, immerse it in lemon water. You can also eat it with the skin. Simply brush it to clean it.
In simple version, the Jerusalem artichoke is satisfied with a knob of butter or a mixture of parsley, chopped shallots and mustard. But it is also suitable for more elaborate preparations. It is used for example in the preparation of gratins, custards, purées or soups. It goes well with white meats and is delicious with refined products such as foie gras or scallops. Jerusalem artichokes go particularly well with roasted hazelnuts, drizzled with hazelnut oil. You can also roast it in the oven after having cut it into sticks, brushed with olive oil and seasoned with savory or thyme. Or sauté it in a wok in the Chinese style.
The greediest have even come up with a sweet version. Cooked in foil and garnished with dried fruit and spices, or simply topped with maple syrup and cinnamon, Jerusalem artichokes can also be made into soufflés, creams or cakes.
Health advantages : Jerusalem artichoke is an excellent source of minerals (potassium, phosphorus, magnesium) as well as trace elements (iron, copper, zinc). It contains B vitamins, carbohydrates and fibre. It is a very interesting food in a slimming diet, because its caloric density is low, its glycemic index moderate and its satiety high.
Unlike potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes do not contain starch butinulin, a specific carbohydrate that cannot be absorbed. These fructans are also useful for diabetics, as this type of carbohydrate does not influence blood sugar levels.
Tip : Consumed just after being harvested, Jerusalem artichokes may cause stomach aches and bloating. It is therefore preferable to cook it a few days after harvesting.
Our gourmet recipe : Baked Jerusalem artichokes with garlic and thyme
Companion of winter and holiday periods, the chestnut decorates our dishes with its sweetness while offering us its many nutritional qualities. Originally from Asia Minor, the chestnut tree has always been considered as a nourishing tree. Its energetic fruits were a staple food for certain European peoples living in the mountains, where cereals did not grow. Little by little, the chestnut has lost this status to become today a real seasonal treat.
In the kitchen, the chestnut is available in both sweet and savoury versions and can be prepared in many different ways. It can of course be eaten plain, by cooking it for 30 minutes in boiling water or by roasting it in the oven for 20 minutes at 200°. But always after having cut the skin. Chestnuts are also good in purée, soup or velouté. It goes very well with all autumn vegetables: pumpkins, carrots, mushrooms, cabbage and even coral lentils. Its slightly sweet flavour goes well with fish, poultry, game, bacon, rustic cheeses, or foie gras for a festive dish.
But the chestnut evokes especially the desserts. It goes deliciously well with citrus fruits (orange, kumquat), whose acidity allows an ideal balance. With apples, pears or dark chocolate, it is a delight. The chestnut also makes sweet jams and its sweet breakings will accompany cheesecake, cream or pana cotta. Chestnuts also produce a flour with a sweet and gluten-free taste, ideal for making bread, cakes, pancakes, muffins or cakes. Finally, chestnut honey: an essential ingredient in gingerbread that will give a unique flavour to your recipes.
Health advantages: Rich in carbohydrates and fiber, chestnuts are an excellent source of minerals and trace elements: calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and copper. Its vitamins C and E bring antioxidant virtues to him, and the presence of vitamins of the group B (particularly vitamin B1) allows an excellent assimilation of its carbohydrates by the organization. The chestnut also contains carotenoids and vitamin A. Its richness in "resistant" starch, i.e. digested slowly and incompletely, allows to fill the stomach without causing a peak of glycemia. Moreover, the well-cooked chestnut is tolerated by the fragile intestines.
Tip : Chestnut or brown? That is the question. We are used to eating turkey with chestnuts, chestnut cream, hot chestnuts or marrons glacés. In reality, the chestnuts that we greedily swallow are chestnuts. While the chestnut comes from the Chestnut tree, the marron comes from the Horse Chestnut tree and is a poisonous fruit. To tell the difference, look at the bug: the chestnut's bug is covered with more spikes than the marron's, and it contains three chestnuts separated by membranes, whereas the marron's bug contains only one fruit.
Our gourmet recipe : Pancake with chestnut flour, marrons glacés and maple syrup
Originally from Central Asia, the pear can be enjoyed all year round, but should be eaten in autumn to boost its natural defences. Refreshing, sweet, melting and slightly granular, it is good for our health and can be eaten in many ways. It comes in thousands of varieties, shapes and colours, but for the autumn period you should choose the Hardy butter (rough skin, firm and sweet flesh), the Conference (thick skin and rather acidic), the Louise Bonne (firm, sweet and fragrant flesh), the General Leclerc (fine, tender, juicy flesh, with a spicy flavour), and the Comice (melting, juicy, sweet and acidic flesh).
As a table fruit, the pear can be eaten at any time of the day. It will thus bring its full potential of nutrients. In its prepared version, the pear will do wonders in both sweet and savoury versions. In a salad with other vegetables, it brings a touch of freshness and acidity. It is excellent with lamb's lettuce, endives or beetroot. Stewed or roasted, it is perfect with poultry, game or fish. Let yourself be surprised by its combination with ewe's milk cheese, Roquefort cheese or raw ham.
For dessert, the pear is also very effective. Raw and cut into pieces, it completes fruit salads. You can flavour it with aromatic herbs such as mint, lemon balm or verbena. Cooked or poached, it is excellent with vanilla, orange or lemon peel, honey, spices (ginger, cinnamon, star anise, cardamom), chocolate or sweet red wine. It is particularly tasty with nuts, almonds or hazelnuts. The pear can also be cooked in pie, cake, clafouti, compote, crumble, sorbet, jam and jelly. Finally, don't forget to enjoy them in juice!
Health advantages: Hypocaloric despite its very sweet taste, the pear is a fruit rich in water that has the power to refresh and quench thirst and rich in minerals (potassium, calcium, magnesium), trace elements and tannins. Generous in vitamins A, B, C and E, the pear is also a good source of pectin.
Tip : Fragile, pears should be stored at room temperature, separate from other fruits such as apples, avocados or bananas, which can speed up their ripening.
Our gourmet recipe : Goat cheese and pear tart
The walnut tree is one of the oldest food sources on earth. As early as the Stone Age, men were already consuming it. Today, it is the second most consumed dried fruit in the world. Harvested from mid-September, it has the advantage of being able to be nibbled all year round. In addition to being tasty, walnuts are particularly rich in nutrients, proteins, fiber and good fats.
To benefit from its advantages, it is preferable to eat it raw and natural. Roasted or caramelized preparations have no nutritional value. In the form of small snacks, the nut provides energy to our brain. To nibble smartly when you are a little hungry, do not hesitate to mix it with raisins, almonds and hazelnuts. When prepared, walnuts can enhance the taste of dishes. Added to salads, it will particularly appreciate endives, young spinach leaves, lamb's lettuce, beetroot, apples or citrus fruits, but also Roquefort cheese or bacon. It can be used as a base for a pesto with pasta or fish. This fruit also enhances rice, poultry stuffing and soups.
As for desserts, walnuts are perfect with pears (baked, stuffed with walnuts and drizzled with honey), in cakes, muffins, on fruit tarts for more crunch, in muesli or bread. Walnut wine and walnut kernels are a great combination for an aperitif. Finally, don't forget walnut oil, very fragrant and a little sweet : to season your salads, steamed vegetables, or simply on a slice of walnut bread with fresh figs.
Health benefits: Walnuts are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, including omega-3 and omega-6. These fatty acids are essential for the human body, as it is not able to produce them itself. Walnuts are also highly concentrated in arginine, an essential amino acid, and phenolic compounds, notably ellagic acid and gallic acid.
The walnut is also an excellent source of minerals and trace elements essential to nutritional balance: manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and potassium. Finally, its high fiber content makes the walnut an ally for lazy transits.
Tip : In ancient times, it was thought that because of its shape the walnut was good for the brain. And it was not wrong! California researchers actually published a study in 2018 on the benefits of walnuts on our brain activity.
Our gourmet recipe : Apple and walnut crumble