Vibrant Green Vegetables
Cooking tips for the caring cook.
It is best to use vegetables within a few days of purchase to obtain the best flavor and nutrient value.
- Green vegetables lose color if subjected to continuous heat - do not overcook them.
- When you are boiling green vegetables always add them to a pot of rapidly boiling salted water and cook them uncovered. Following these steps preserves their wonderful jade color.
- If the green vegetables are cooked covered or if they are started in cold water and then boiled, the green vegetables will turn an olive color.
- The more surface of a fruit or vegetable you expose, the more nutrients will be lost to oxidation. In addition, enzymes needed by the body are lost in cooking.
- Add a piece of baking soda the size of a pea and two teaspoonfuls of salt to every two quarts of water.
- Pick over your greens carefully, and remove all decayed leaves. Next, wash the leaves thoroughly. If possible, let them stand in cold salted water for an hour. This freshens them, while the salt will draw out insects should there be any. Next put the greens into a pan with plenty of fast boiling water, with salt and baking soda in the given proportion noted above. Let the greens boil quickly with the lid off the pan, carefully removing all scum as it rises.
- When your greens are tender, drain off the water, pressing the greens well. Chop them, add a lump of butter and a little salt and pepper. Mix all together, stirring them in the pan over the fire. Arrange neatly in a hot dish, cutting them across several times with a knife.
- If you sprinkle salt into the water when you are washing vegetables, it will draw out insects. However.. Never salt vegetables while cooking. The salt draws the liquid out of the vegetables and consequently, they will not cook evenly.
- Wash all vegetables in cold water to remove any chemicals. Never soak or store them in water. Vitamins B and C are easily lost. Dry all vegetables after washing.
- Never allow your vegetables to be placed in the same bag with meats. Juices may leak and contaminate the vegetables.
- When sauteing large quantities of vegetables such as onions, be sure not to overload your saute pan for optimal browning. Overloaded saute pans may lead to unevenly cooked vegetables, often a mixture of some that are burned and some that are underdone.
- Save liquids from vegetables you have cooked and use the liquids in soups, stews, etc.
- Cut up assorted fresh vegetables for dipping ahead of time; cover with damp paper towel and store in a zipper-style plastic bag in the refrigerator.
- When you are cooking greens, collards or kale, try placing a few unshelled pecans in your saucepan. This helps keep the odor down.
- Wilted vegetables can be freshened by soaking them for an hour in cold water with the juice of one lemon.
- If you add a small amount of sugar to vegetables, it will bring out more flavor.
- When boiling greens, add a pat of butter to the water. This will prevent them from boiling over without constant stirring.
- For extra flavor, cook vegetables in beef or chicken broth instead of water.
Misc. Cooking Tips
- When cooking turnip tops or kale it is a good plan to boil them in fast boiling water for five minutes, then to pour that off and add fresh boiling water. This lessens the somewhat bitter taste.
- Brussels sprouts must be well drained, but must not be pressed or chopped.
- Fruit and Vegetable Wash. You never know what kind of pesticides or dirt may be lurking on the skin of your favorite fruits and vegetables. Slice your lemon and squeeze out one tablespoon of lemon juice into your spray bottle. The lemon juice is a natural disinfectant and will leave your fruits and vegetables smelling nice too.
- If your vegetables are too salty add some raw potatoes to them. Potatoes absorb the salt. (Some say this is a wives tale, some swear by it; all you can do is see if it works for you!)