Simmering, or stewing, is a modification of boiling. By this method, food is cooked in liquid at a temperature below the boiling point, or anywhere from 185 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (85-95 Celsius). Water at the simmering point always moves gently--never rapidly as it does in boiling. Less heat and consequently less fuel are required to cook foods in this way, unless, of course, the time consumed in cooking the food at a low temperature is much greater than that consumed in cooking it more rapidly.
Aside from permitting economy in the use of fuel, simmering, or stewing, cooks deliciously certain foods that could not be selected for the more rapid methods. For example, tough cuts of meat and old fowl can be made tender and tasty by long cooking at a low temperature, for this method tends to soften the fiber and to develop an excellent flavor. Tough vegetables, too, can be cooked tender by the simmering process without using so much fuel as would be used if they were boiled, for whatever method is used they require long cooking. Beets, turnips, and other winter vegetables should be stewed rather than boiled, as it is somewhat difficult to cook them tender, especially in the late winter and early spring. If dry beans and peas are brought to the simmering point and then allowed to cook, they can be prepared for the table in practically the same length of time and without so much fuel as if they boiled continuously.