“When you think of southern cooking, you probably have some specific foods in mind. While the south is often known for their fried foods, there are many flavors and styles of cooking native to this area. However, if you want to learn more about the essential aspects of southern cuisine, read on to find out more.
Variety of Greens
While greens seem to have taken over the nation recently, these hardy vegetables actually got their start in the deep south. Collard greens, mustard greens, and many more have been staples of southern cuisine for years. If you’ve ever tried these foods, you may find them to be bitter and tough. However, in the traditional southern way, stewing and sauteeing them has been one of the best ways to enjoy them. They are not only easy to find and grow, they’re also chock-full of nutrients and a great side dish for any meal. Try cooking up a pan for some of the fresh flavors of the south.
Cornbread and Biscuits
Unlike other areas where egg breads or light, crusty loaves have been a staple, southern cooking tends to have more quick breads. Of course, cornbread is a staple. It can be enjoyed by itself or with a variety of toppings. People will even soak it with molasses and enjoy it as a dessert. And, you wouldn’t want to forget the humble biscuit as well. Made with lard or shortening, the flaky biscuit is a side for every meal in the south. While other types of bread have made their way into southern cuisine, these two breads continue to be cornerstones.
Fried foods are common in the south, but probably not the way you think. Unlike the deep frying you often see today, most of the battered fried foods were actually pan-fried, using only a small amount of oil to achieve the crispy outside and seal in flavor. Of course, fried chicken is a staple, but you’ll also find favorites such as fried trout and catfish or even fried green tomatoes. These foods are made with a traditional cornmeal coat and lightly fried until golden brown. If you make a trip to the southern states, make sure to try one of these traditional meals.
Jams and Preserves
With their temperate climate, the south has a rich tradition of canning and saving foods for winter. While you can find many canned foods, one of the favorites is the variety of jams and preserves that offer a sweet taste throughout the winter months. Try some huckleberry jam the next time you’re in the south. You’ll also find all sorts of unusual jams and preserves that you won’t find anywhere else. Enjoy these over ice cream, with breads and biscuits, or even by themselves.
These are some of the signature flavors and dishes that you’ll find in southern cuisine. The basis of southern cooking is making use of what you have and enjoying flavor in all your meals, so you’ll be sure to enjoy the foods that you eat when in the southeast.”