Whether you are a vegetarian or not, preparing and cooking vegetables can have its challenges. Here are some handy tips to help you prepare veggies without the stress and the fuss.
1. Use a Veggie Brush
Instead of peeling, designate one or two brushes to remove the dirt from the skins of vegetables like potatoes, carrots, parsnips, or turnips. This tip saves time and provides the option of leaving the skin on. Believe it not, the peel of many vegetables actually contain tons of valuable nutrients.
2. Get the Most Out of Your Tools
A sharp, well made peeler can help make uber thin slices as made by a mandolin. In addition, a shredder or grater isn’t just good for cheese. This tool can be used to zest citrus and shred condiments, such as garlic or frozen ginger. If you don’t have a juicer, no problem. Use a pair of tongs to squeeze the juice out of citrus.
3. Get a Good Knife
If tip #3 made you feel that your kitchen arsenal is poorly equipped for taking on any vegetable, then just get a good knife. Sharpen with honing steel, dry it promptly after washing, and learn the correct technique. This saves time, maximizes knife lifespan, and ensures you only end up crying from chopping onions and not much needed fingers.
4. Plan Ahead
A little planning goes a long way. Washing leafy greens all at once when you get home from the store so they’re ready to go during the week can be a great time saver, especially when you come home after class, hungry for that quick salad or stir-fry. Also, plan to enjoy the less hearty greens earlier in the week and the heartier veggies later.
5. Get Hot
To get the most flavour out of your roasting dish, preheat your oven to 400-450°F. Add oil to your dish before tossing in your vegetables to cut down on roasting time, and to prevent your veggies from absorbing too much oil.
6. No Crowding
Overcrowding your fry-pan or roasting dish with vegetables prevents the even distribution of heat, which can increase cooking time. Additionally, crowding your roasting pan limits the amount of caramelization, also known as the formation of delicious golden bits on the bottom of the pan.
7. Know Your Cooking Times
Lastly, adding vegetables at different times can help ensure consistent doneness of all vegetables in the dish. When making a stir-fry, add hard, slow-cooking veggies, like carrots, onions or squash before quicker cooking veg, like snow peas and leafy bok choy. Additionally, chop your veggies into smaller pieces for faster cooking times.
How do you save time prepping veggies? Have some quick and easy recipe ideas? Tell us in the comments.
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