Vegetables are plants that are used as food. They should be eaten everyday because they are a very important source of vitamins, mineral substances, water and roughage. In order to get the best value from vegetables, they should be stored, prepared and cooked carefully so that the food value is preserved. If possible, buy vegetables soon before using them so that they do not become stale. This is particularly important for green vegetables, as vitamin C is lost if the vegetables are allowed to wilt.
If vegetables are grown in the garden, do not pick them until just before they are required. Green vegetables can be kept fresh for a while if they are kept loosely rolled in old newspaper or brown paper and put in a cool, airy place. They will keep crisp and fresh in a refrigerator if they are kept on the lowest shelf in the refrigerator, where the temperature is not low enough to freeze them. Root vegetables should be kept in a well-ventilated vegetable rack or basket in a cool, dry place.
The followings are the cooking method for vegetables:
This is the simplest and most common method of cooking vegetables. It is an economical and easy method of cooking but over cooking and the use of too much water will spoil the flavor and cause valuable nutrients to be lost.
Root vegetables should be cooked in boiling water which is sufficient just to cover them. The pan should have a tight fitting lid to keep in the steam which helps to cook the vegetables. Cook the vegetables gently until tender, for rapid boiling will cause the outside of the vegetables to break up before the inside is soft. The time of cooking depends on the kind of vegetable, its age and size. In boiling root vegetables test them with a fork pierced through the thickest part to see if they are ready.
Green vegetables should be cooked for a short time in a little boiling water and served at once, so that as little nutrients as possible is lost. Use only enough boiling water to prevent the vegetable from being burnt, and cook with the lid on, so that the vegetables will be cooked in the steam as well as cook more quickly. After boiling, the little liquid left in the pan can be thickened and served with vegetables as gravy. Vegetables cooked in this way are well flavored, crisp, a good green color and are nutritious.
Dried peas and beans should be washed, covered with at least 1″ water and allowed to soak overnight. When well soaked, the peas will be double their size. Boil the peas in the water in which they are soaked. Bring to the boil slowly with lid on and boil gently until the peas are tender.
This method is usually used to cook the very young shoots of vegetables like bean sprouts which require very little cooking. The vegetables are cleaned and drained. They are then lowered into a pan of boiling salt water for ½ minute, lifted up and drained immediately. The blanching removes the sharp green taste from the vegetables and cooks the vegetables very lightly so that they will be crisp and well flavored.
This is a suitable method of cooking most vegetables. Deep fat frying is used for making chips, fritters and for browning onions and garlic. All vegetables to be deep fat fried must be cleaned, cut into even sized pieces so that they will all cook at the same time and dried before frying so that they will fry evenly and will not cause the oil to spit.
What is locally known as fried vegetable should be more correctly called ‘braised’ vegetable. Braising means to toss or brown food in a little oil first and then to finish cooking it in a little water in a covered pan so that the food is cooked in the steam. This is the best method for cooking vegetables as very little nutrients is lost, the vegetables are very quickly and easily cooked, are crisp and well flavored. It is important to remember that most vegetables require very little cooking. To get the best results they should never be overcooked.
This method is sometimes used for cooking root vegetables. It is not a recommended method for cooking green, leafy vegetables as it takes longer than boiling and in the prolonged cooking, vitamin C is lost. However, sweet potatoes and yams are better flavored when steamed.
Daphnie is a food lover who has been involved in food industry for 10 years. She learned the easy and simple way cooking style from her mother and grandmother. She prefer to have the home make cooking style instead of outside food. She knew how much housewives will appreciate the recipes. Special thought has been given to the speed and ease of preparation to streamline cooking chores whenever possible to the minimum. Not only are these dishes attractive, they really are simple and speedy to make. Test and try out any of these dishes and you will agree that as well as being entirely successful, they all live up to our claim that they are not only delicious but quick and easy to prepare.