Is it true that generally speaking, there is not a single “ideal” way to prepare a given vegetable? The truth of the matter is, cooking vegetables is simple. There are methods that can be used to cook vegetables that give consistent results with a minimum of fuss. Of course, you need to identify the vegetable, and know the general rules for preparing it in order to preserve its nutritional and healing properties. Vegetables are tenderized if they are to be considered cooked, and there are different ways to accomplish this.
To some extent, the correct cooking technique depends upon shape. You would not use a saute pan to cook a whole potato, or a whole head of cauliflower; but cut either into small bits and the skillet becomes a fine alternative to boiling or steaming.
“One other great thing about vegetables is that although they are very distinctive, it would be much easier to mistake beef for lamb than it would be to mistake spinach for kale, or zucchini for broccoli.”
October 1st is the day to celebrate vegetarianism and give meatless fares a try. October 1st also marks the kick-off of Vegetarian Awareness Month.
Founded in 1977 by the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS), World Vegetarian Day aims to bring awareness to the proven health benefits of vegetarian diets. As stated on NAVS’ website, these benefits include:
- A reduced risk of major killers such as heart disease and stroke while cutting exposure to foodborne pathogens;
- A viable answer to feeding the world’s hungry through more efficient use of grains and other crops;
- Conservation of vital but limited freshwater, fertile topsoil and other precious resources;
- The preservation of irreplaceable ecosystems;
- Mitigating the ever-expanding environmental pollution of animal agriculture.
One other great thing about vegetables is that although they are very distinctive, it would be much easier to mistake beef for lamb than it would be to mistake spinach for kale, or zucchini for broccoli.
“Vegetables are particularly sensitive to cooking methods.”
If you buy super-fresh, super-high quality vegetables, you can give them the minimalist treatment and they’ll be singing with flavour! You can simmer almost any vegetable by immersing it in enough boiling water to cover it, and, in most cases, that’s the easiest way to cook them. But most vegetables can also be steamed, and steaming has its advantages; It’s quicker, and the vegetable has less of a chance of becoming waterlogged. Should you decide to steam, you can use a special pot designed for steaming, or the common and convenient basket of interlocking metal that will convert almost any saucepan into a steamer. To note however, is that vegetables are particularly sensitive to cooking methods.
Here are 5 guidelines for preserving the power of vegetables when preparing them:
- Cook vegetables in as little water as possible.
- Leave vegetables in contact with water for as little time as possible.
- Balance heat and water contact. If you use high heat, keep water contact at a minimum, either by steaming, or baking. You can allow more water contact if low heat is used. For example, simmering is okay because you bring the water to a boil and then turn down the temperature. But never boil on high heat with direct water contact for more than a few minutes – reason being (as with the above guidelines), nutrients that dissolve in water are less likely to be lost.
- When vegetables become more vivid in their colours, with brighter greens and yellows and reds, the power of the vegetables is being enhanced. When the colours begin to pale or become lost, the power is also being lost. This is the Colour Power test.
- Think tender, not soft. Soft almost always means less healing power. Tender is what your digestive system needs with several types of vegetables, especially those with tough stems and stalks.
“Happy World Vegetarian Day! Go veggie crazy!”