Organic cooking wines give you the benefits of organics while still allowing you to enjoy cooking with wine. The same principles apply when choosing a cooking wine as you would use choosing a wine to drink.
Choosing Organic Cooking Wines
Rule number one when it comes to choosing organic cooking wines is that you should choose a wine that you would want to drink straight from the bottle. You don't have to buy the most expensive wine out there, but you should cook with wines you enjoy drinking.
Cooking wine concentrates the flavors, which means if you don't like the taste coming straight out of the bottle, you won't like it any better when it has cooked with your food. That's the big problem with wines that are labeled as cooking wines: they often have a huge amount of salt and aren't at all tasty.
So skip the cooking wines in your grocery store, even if you can find organic varieties there. Instead, go to the wine section of your store or to your favorite wine shop to choose a wine for cooking.
The other main thing to keep in mind when choosing a wine to cook with is that you want a wine that blends well with the food you are cooking. Again, this goes back to some extent to what you would drink with it. Using white wine to cook with chicken and fish and red wine with red meat is a good rule of thumb. Try white wine with light vegetable dishes and red wine for heartier vegetarian fare.
You can always experiment and use your favorite wine to drink with the meal you are preparing, and you might find the perfect combination for you doesn't quite follow "the rules."
Finding Good Organic Wine
There are more and more organic wines available these days from all over the world, from Chile to California. That means that even though organic products tend to be more expensive than those that are conventionally produced, you can still find good organic cooking wines at just about every price point.
It really pays to get to know someone at your local wine shop or in the wine department at your favorite organic food store. People who work with wine every day are very knowledgeable about the wines in their store, including the organic wines.
They can help you by pointing out the wines they like, the wines other people have liked, and the wines that meet with your preferences for drinking wine and the kind of food you are planning to prepare.
Cooking with Wine
Cooking with organic wine is the same as cooking with conventional wine. Add a splash to bring richness to any dish. Using wine to deglaze a pan after sautéing vegetables or a piece of meat gives you an instant sauce that is rich and delicious. (Add a pat of butter for a smooth, decadent wine sauce.)
The main thing to remember when cooking with wine or any other type of alcohol is that alcohol can catch fire. Always pour the wine you are going to use in your dish into a shot glass or another container before adding it to the pan, and remove the pan from the heat before you add the alcohol.
Always keep the lid for the pan you are using handy in case of flare-up. It's also a good idea to have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen at all times, but the flames from alcohol usually stay nicely contained within the pan and will die down after a minute or so.
Contrary to popular belief, all of the alcohol does not cook out or evaporate when you cook with wine. Depending on when the alcohol is added, how much is used and how long it is cooked, as much as 60 percent of the alcohol may still remain in your dish. If you are cooking for someone who is sensitive to alcohol, don't cook with wine for them. It's also a good idea to avoid cooking with wine when you are cooking for children.