A large percentage of the mineral and vitamin content in vegetables lies just under or in the skin. That is the reason baked or boiled potatoes are more nutritious than those that are peeled or scraped. If scraping or peeling is necessary, do it very lightly.
Each vegetable should be cooked by a method that will bring out the color and flavor, yet retain its shape and highest possible food value. Boil or steam vegetables in a small amount of water and cook as quickly as possible. Overcooking causes the vegetable to become mushy and soft.Bring water to boiling point, then add vegetables. A lot of vitamin content is lost and dissolved out when vegetables are added to water and then brought to boiling stage
Cook white vegetables, such as potatoes, cauliflower and corn, in water to which a little lemon juice has been added.
Save the cooking water, which contains minerals and vitamins, and use to flavor soups, gravies or for part of the liquid to mash potatoes.
To prevent the smell of cooking greens, add a lump or so of loaf sugar to the water, or put a piece of dry toast in a clean muslin bag and boil it with the greens. Another method is to add a teaspoonful of vinegar to the water when it is boiling.
Lemon juice or vinegar in the water cauliflower is cooked in makes it keep its snowy-white color.
To preserve the color of green vegetables, put them on to cook in boiling water with a pinch of soda, or keep the cover off the kettle while boiling them.
Vegetables that are to be cooked by steaming will preserve their color in the process if, after being washed in the usual way, they are given a final rinse in boiling water containing a little soda.
Wash leafy vegetables, such as spinach, thoroughly just before cooking. Add no water–the water that clings to the leaves is enough to cook them in.
To keep cauliflower snowy white, soak for half an hour in cold salt water before cooking it.
When slicing potatoes, hold the paring knife over a gas flame or in boiling water and the potatoes will slice easily.
Root vegetables, such as carrots, turnips, etc., should be freed from all dirt and grit; those of the green variety should be allowed to soak for a few minutes in cold water to which a generous pinch of salt has been added.
Keep sweet potatoes from looking dried out by greasing the skins with any cooking fat or oil before baking them.
Green tomatoes left on the vines can be saved by pulling the plant and hanging it in a dry, frost-proof place. The fruit will ripen for some time. Peppers can be kept for as long as three weeks if the plants are pulled up and hung upside down in a damp, cool corner of the basement.
How do you peel or skin a tomato? Tomatoes don’t have thick rinds like citrus fruits and aren’t firm like apples that make them easy to peel, so the process of skinning a tomato is a little more work–but still so easy to do. First dip fresh tomatoes in boiling water then plunge into ice cold water–the skins will slide off effortlessly.
What’s an easy way to core cherry tomatoes for stuffing? Use a melon baller to hollow out cherry tomatoes quickly. Whole tomatoes can be washed and frozen in containers or plastic bags. When you are ready to use simply thaw and the skin will slip right off and they are ready to be used in cooking.
Clean the seeds and membranes from peppers with a serrated grapefruit spoon, cleans them up nicely! Also useful for removing seeds from squash, melons, tomatoes and fruits.
Remove the smell of garlic from hands by rubbing your fingers over a stainless steel spoon or the sink tap. To remove any disagreeable odor from your hands or a cooking vessel, wash with apple cider vinegar. Another way to get the smell of garlic off your hands is to crumble a couple of saltine crackers in your hands an rub them together. The best recipe for removing all scents from your hands: Used coffee grounds from the coffee filter and the juice form a small wedge of lemon. Why does it work? Without going directly into the science… rough skin traps food and odor particles, the coffee grounds act as a mild abrasive and help trap odor particles the lemon is a perfect disinfectant. Then simply wash everything off with a little soap and water.
Use a steamer basket to cook potatoes for mashing (instead of boiling them). The flavor is much better and you never have to worry about your potatoes being watery.
Keep an unused toothbrush in the kitchen to scrub things like fresh mushrooms and corn on the cob to remove the silk. It comes in very handy!
Cabbage Rolls Tips: Wash cabbage heads, pat dry then wrap well in plastic and place in freezer a couple days before you plan on making stuffed cabbage rolls. Thaw the cabbage heads in the fridge one full day before preparation. When the cabbage is thawed the next day, you’ll find the cabbage leaves will come off the head easily and roll nicely. Another method you could try: Microwave cleaned cabbage head on low heat setting for 10 minutes. Once cool enough to handle, peel leaves off. If you find the cabbage leaves aren’t as supple once you’re down a few layers, reheat for a few more minutes as needed.
Fluff Up Mashed Potatoes: Try adding a healthy pinch of baking powder to the potatoes when mashing them. For fluffier mashed potatoes, use an electric mixer to whip air into them. Potatoes, boiled with their jackets on, should first be split around the center to permit the salt to boil through and flavor the whole potato. Save time on baked potatoes by first boiling them for 15 minutes to pre-cook. Then put them in a preheated oven to finish cooking.
Mashed Potato Warmer: Is there ever enough stove top space when preparing large meals (like at Christmas or Thanksgiving)? Here’s a way to get the mashed potatoes done early and out of the way: Prepare your mashed potatoes an hour or two before serving the meal and store them in the slow cooker (on low heat). Serve with the rest of the meal and they’re still hot and tasty.
Make Your Own Celery Flakes: Instead of cutting off the leafy tops of celery and tossing away, try making your own celery flakes. Simply wash and dry the leaves well, place in oven at 180° F. until crispy dried (a few hours), crumble and store in an air tight container. Use the celery flakes in cooking dishes such as soups, stews, stuffing and anything else you’d like to add a little flavor.
Celery: To assure crispness, place in a pan of water with half a lemon, for an hour or two before serving.Celery: When celery loses its crispness, place it in a pan of cold water. Slice a raw potato and put it in the pan. Let stand for a few hours. Remove the celery from the water and you will find that it has regained its original crispness.
Add Flavor To Cooked Vegetables: Toss in a bouillon cube or two to the boiling water instead of salt when cooking vegetables. Adds a delicious flavor to the veggies. Another alternative is to add a couple roughly halved cloves of garlic to the boiling water, then lightly tossing veggies in butter once cooked.
Carrots for salads or general cooking should first be dropped in boiling water for two or three minutes. The skins will then come off easily.
Cauliflower will remain white and give off no odor while cooking half milk and half water. Use liquid for soup or cream sauce.
Head lettuce leaves may be removed without breaking, but first cutting around the core with a knife and then holding the head of lettuce under running water.
Onions, held under water while being peeled, will not make you weep because the fumes are thus prevented from rising.
Vegetables that have become withered can be freshened by soaking them with a strong solution of baking soda. Withered parsnips, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, lettuce, etc., will become crisp again.
What are some garlic equivalents? 1 medium clove garlic = 1 teaspoon minced garlic = 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt = 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic = 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder. What does a clove of garlic equal minced? 1 small clove = 1/2 teaspoon minced; medium clove = 1 teaspoon minced; large clove = 2 teaspoons minced (these are approximate measurements). How should garlic bulbs be stored? Garlic should be kept cool with good air circulation (don’t refrigerate it and don’t lock it up tight in a plastic container). Keep a bulb or two in a small bowl or basket on the kitchen counter if you use it daily, the rest can be stored in a basket in a cool, dark pantry to help the garlic last longer. Can you freeze whole bulbs of garlic? Yes you can! Freeze whole, unpeeled bulbs of garlic in a freezer bag then remove cloves as you need. You can also separate the cloves before freezing or place peeled cloves in an empty icecube tray, cover each with olive oil, freeze, then pop them out and freeze in a large bag or airtight container–grab a cube when you need it. How do you peel garlic cloves? For big batches dunk garlic cloves for about 10 seconds in boiling water then strain and dunk in ice cold water. The cloves should pop out of their skins easily. If it’s just a few cloves you need to peel, cut off one end of the garlic then peel off the skin with the blade of the knife. If the recipe calls for minced or crushed garlic, just smash the clove with your knife and you’ll be able to pick out the skin easily.
Sometimes kitchen odors can linger (especially when cooking cabbage and onions). I set out a small bowl of ammonia on the kitchen table and go to bed. When we get up in the morning, the smells are all gone.
For an extra crunchy potato, try cooking with the skins on. When potatoes are just about done, sprinkle with your favorite spices and herbs for more flavor (garlic, parsley, rosemary). New baby potatoes are the perfect size to roast, just wash them and they’re ready to go. After parboiling the potatoes, you can refrigerate them until ready to roast (saves time for later).
One way to deal with an overabundance of zucchini is to freeze it for year round use (works great for baking), and it isn’t as fussy or time consuming as you might think!
Here’s a quick and easy way to freeze zucchini:
Shred all the zucchini you plan on freezing (can be frozen both peeled and unpeeled).
Measure in one or two cup amounts and pack in freezer bags, removing as much air as possible from the bag before sealing.
Mark the date and amount on the bag then store in the freezer. That’s it! When ready to use the zucchini (such as baked goods like zucchini bread), thaw then drain excess water by patting with paper towels or allowing it to drain in a colander for awhile.**** Tip: If you’d rather freeze the zucchini in cubed form, first blanch the cubes in boiling water for a couple minutes before packing (cubes can be frozen peeled or unpeeled). Works well for vegetable medleys, lasagna, etc.
Homemade Produce Wash Recipe: 1 cup water
1 cup vinegar
2 TBS baking soda
2 TBS lemon juice
Mix ingredients then pour in clean spray bottle. Spray fresh vegetables & fruit generously. Sit for 5 minutes then rinse off well.
Note: Make sure to first mix ingredients in deep container since there will be some fizzing from the baking soda & vinegar.