Cooking Fresh Veggies

Summer time – a great time for fresh veggies that taste wonderful! When picked in season, they are nutritional bargains! Some people might not know how to cook fresh veggies or know where to begin. Vegetables just need a little prep work and then they will be ready to cook. All fresh produce should be washed thoroughly and ‘bad spots’ should be removed.  Cut into uniform pieces so they cook evenly.

Here are a few ways to get your started!

Roasting:

Roasting vegetables is an easy way to bring out the flavor of the vegetables and is a healthy way to eat them. You can roast vegetables either alone or in combination with others. You won’t need much (or any) seasoning because the flavors are concentrated. After you prepare the vegetables, mix them with a little olive oil. Put vegetables on roasting pan. You want the vegetables to be in one layer (not tightly packed), so make sure your pan is big enough. Cook for 20-25 minutes at 400 F in multiple batches if necessary. Roast until the pieces are tender and are a caramel brown color around the edges.

Microwave:

Place the vegetable pieces into a microwave safe container. Add 2 tablespoons of water. Cover with a tight fitting lid. If the container does not have a lid, use a microwave safe plastic wrap to seal the bowl. Be sure to vent the bowl. Cook on high for 5-7 minutes. Drain water from vegetables and season as desired. My favorite is lemon pepper or garlic salt! Or just add some shredded cheese to ANY vegetable.

Stir Fry:

Use a large non-stick pan to steam pieces of vegetable until they are tender and tasty.

Place uniform pieces of vegetables in a pan with a shallow layer of water across the bottom, about 1/4 of an inch deep. Heat over medium to medium-high heat. Cover the pan with a lid to cook faster. Cook vegetables to crisp-tender. Check at 5 minutes for doneness.

Not sure whether a certain vegetable is a good candidate for stir-frying? It all comes down to the density and moisture level of the vegetable. Zucchini, sweet peppers and spinach are high moisture veggies and can be quickly stir-fried at high heat without the addition of extra liquid. Lower moisture vegetables like broccoli and carrots, require more cooking time. Most recipes call for the vegetables to be stir-fried briefly and then boiled in a liquid such as chicken broth. Another option is to briefly blanch (cooking technique in which food is briefly immersed in boiling water) the vegetables prior to stir-frying.
Also check out this seasonality chart for vegetables and here is more info on cooking vegetables.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: