Sunday, October 2, 2011

Vegetable Tips:

by Christi Jardine- Stake Provident Living Leader

  • When washing greens from your garden, such as spinach or lettuce, fill a large bowl with cold water and place greens in water making sure to submerge them. Let sit for 5-10 min.  Agitating occasionally.  The garden dirt and sand will sink to the bottom of the bowl. Remove the greens from the bowl and rinse and drain in a colander. The greens will not crunch with dirt and sand!
  • When storing greens such as spinach and lettuce, wash thoroughly and lay on a towel or paper towel to partially dry. (Or if from your garden use the method above.) Place in a plastic container or a Ziploc bag lined with a paper towel. This will keep the greens crisp and ready to use for a week or more.
  • Most vegetables should be stored in the refrigerator to preserve freshness and nutrients.
  • Bell peppers store best in the refrigerator vegetable compartment without plastic bags or wrap.  When only part of a bell pepper is used, seed and core the rest and return to the crisper as is. When ready to use again, the edge of the pepper may be trimmed off. Peppers stored in plastic bags rot quickly.
  • Root vegetables, winter squash, onions, and eggplant should be stored at 60 degrees.
  • Tomatoes store best at room temperature. If your are not ready to use them when they are very ripe they will store in the refrigerator for several more days, but if are left at room temperature will spoil.
  • When making a large batch of spaghetti sauce from garden tomatoes, enjoy some for dinner and then freeze the remaining sauce in loaf pans for several hours. When frozen remove from pans by letting thaw for a few min. Then place in freezer bags. Regular loaf pans make about 1 quart of sauce; just right for a family dinner. Mini loaf pans make about the right amount for pizza sauce. These spaghetti sauce “bricks” stack great in the freezer, and area great make ahead meal.
  • When boiling or steaming vegetables remember this rule: if the vegetable grows underground (carrots, potatoes, beats, etc.); place water and prepared vegetable in the pot and then bring to a boil. If the vegetable grows above the ground (spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, artichokes); bring the water to a boil and then add prepared vegetables to the pot. The above ground vegetables will retain better color and texture if they are cooked this way.
  • Microwaving vegetables is fast and simple. Place prepared vegetables in a microwave safe dish and add a few tablespoons of water, cover. Microwave until vegetable is cooked. 
  • Do not cover broccoli while cooking. It will cause the broccoli to go gray/green. Follow the rule above for cooking above ground vegetables and your broccoli will stay bright green and be much more appealing.
  • Baking: When baking squash, wash and clean out the seeds. Place face down in a baking dish and add water. Then the squash can be cooked without foil and will be moist and delicious.
  • Grilling: Vegetables are great grilled. Vegetable shish kabobs are a great way to handle them on the grill.
  • Corn on the cob can be grilled or cooked over hot coals by peeling the husks back without removing from the cob. Clean silks off of the cob and pull husks back up to cover the cob. Soak in water for an hour and then grill or throw it on the coals. Cook for 3-5 min. and rotate until corn is cooked.
  • Roasting vegetables adds great flavor. Try some:
1-      Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2-      Cut vegetables up in chunks.
3-      Place in a bowl and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss.
4-      Place on a baking dish or cookie sheet, only 1 layer high. Do not pile vegetables up. They will not evenly brown this way.
5-      Place in the oven and roast for 10-12 min.
6-      Remove from the oven and flip them over. Return to the oven and roast for another 5-10 min.
7-      Remove from the oven and serve.

Source information for roasting vegetables is from:

Source information for “Vegetable tips”:
1-      Betty Crocker Cookbook
2-      Personal experience.