HANDY HINTS FOR COOKING VEGETABLES – An excerpt from my Cookery Book VEGETARIAN DELICACIES
1. Always use fresh vegetables as far as possible. Avoid vegetables that are preserved in the refrigerator for too long as they tend to decay and lose their freshness.
2. When buying vegetables such as beans, beets, carrots, etc, choose, firm, crisp, tender and fresh ones. Beans should snap readily when broken. Carrots should be firm, clean, smooth and fresh in appearance and of good colour.
3. Greens and Leafy vegetables should be fresh, crisp and green. Avoid buying leafy vegetables that are limp and yellow.
4. Slice root vegetables and shred green ones. Break cauliflower and broccoli into florets or sprigs, don’t slice them!
5. Vitamins and minerals of vegetables generally lie close to their skin. Pare vegetables as thinly as possible so as to retain as much of their nutrients as possible.
6. Do not boil vegetables in cold water. Always add them to hot water. They will cook faster this way.
7. Green and leafy vegetables retain their natural colour if cooked in an open vessel with less water. Just use enough of water to cover the vegetables so as to avoid throwing away all the nutrients with the excess water.
8. Do not throw away the excess water in which vegetables have been boiled. Use it as a stock when preparing other curries or soups or thicken with flour and use as a sauce.
9. Salt should be added to the vegetables preferably at the end of cooking as salt drains out the nutrients from the vegetables if added at the beginning. If vegetables are cooked carelessly, much of their food value is lost.
10. Vegetables should not be over cooked as they lose their flavour and food value if cooked too long.