How to Cook With Unprocessed Food

Do you want to know how to cook without using processed foods? If so, read on below about how to use unprocessed and organic ingredients.


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    Buy organically. This means means buying foods that don't have any pesticides in them. Look for the organic seal of approval or even just the word "Organic". Fruits and veggies should definitely be bought organically. Yet, some fruits and vegetables are higher in pesticides than others. Peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, lettuce, imported grapes, pears, spinach, and potatoes should all be purchased organically because of their high pesticide amounts. Onions, avocados, frozen sweet corn, pineapples, mangoes, frozen sweet peas, asparagus, kiwi, bananas, cabbage, broccoli, and eggplant don't have to be purchased organically due to their low pesticide amounts.
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    Research organic recipes. Try getting books on recipes using organic food. Some good books might include Moosewood Cookbook and Broccoli Forest Cookbook.
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    Most organic foods can still be used in standard recipes (after all, they had to cook this way in the past), but you need to know how they are made. If (for example) you need curry paste but can't find any organic grade, make your own from individual organic spices. It is usually a lot more fun, tastes far better and is great experience in learning how to cook and balance flavours.
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    A lot processed foods (eg crushed tomatoes) are time saving conveniences. You can get around this using the raw ingredient and other tools such as food processors, blenders, down to the basic such as potato mashers, graters, knives, forks (etc.) to achieve the same product.
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    Invest in a cook book that talks about food preparation (cheapest from charity stores or swap-meets / flea markets) or read how-to guides from the Food Preparation section in wikihow.
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    Many processed foods contain large amounts of salt, sugar or fats which improve the flavour. When making from scratch taste the food you cook and season to taste. If you find you need a higher amount of salt than you would prefer, start to wean yourself off it by reducing the salt content and removing the salt shaker from the table.
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    Making your own preserves and pickles is satisfying, cheap, and makes a good reliable backup as many off-the-shelf products are full of additives and chemical preservatives. Organic preserves are pretty hard to find, but often you can get them from community fundraisers or town fairs where members have home-made their own jams etc to sell. It doesn't always contain organic ingredients, but is a good cheap alternative as a home cook rarely has access to chemical preservatives.
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    Marinating food in herbs, spices, vinegars and flavoured oils are a great flavour enhancer if you find the ingredients become a little too similar in flavour.
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    Vary your cooking methods from steaming to include grilling, baking, smoking, braising (etc) to keep your meals varied and interesting.
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    Eat raw. Almost any fruits or vegges can be eaten raw and are delightful in salads or on their own. You don't have to cook them. As organic foods often have a better flavour than their mass produced counterparts, enjoy their natural taste!


  • Try buying fresh food that's in season. Did you know that most of the food you eat isn't grown in your state?
  • Encourage and support good purchasing practices in retail stores, the retailers won't buy what they can't sell.
  • Grow your own - growing potted herbs, a fruit tree or easy vegetables such as tomato, chillies or carrots is far more satisfying.
  • In any recipe, ingredients can be switched with organic ingredients.
  • Try buying foods at Farmers Markets, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, or even in your local grocery store.
  • Organic food is also wonderful to our Earth(less amounts of chemicals in the ground, less fossil fuel being used to transport etc.)


  • Not all fruits and veggies are organic.
  • Not all organic food is expensive!!
  • Just because something is Organic, doesn't mean you should buy it. Buy foods you will actually eat.
  • If you think Organic food is too expensive for your budget, try only purchasing a few organic foods at a time.

Things You'll Need

  • Willingness to scrummage around your Grocery store more
  • Willing to research
  • Willing to possibly spend more money

Article Info

Categories: Food Preparation | Food Safety