Seasonal vegetables, how to cook and prepare them in the best way? Especially in spring and summer we have fresh products available in quantity, also thanks to our vegetable garden. Cooking vegetables is a real art.
To cook vegetables in the best way, it is good to know what are the most common mistakes in this field to learn how to avoid them. In this way you will prepare tasty and healthy vegetable dishes. In your dishes you can alternate both raw vegetables and cooked vegetables to enjoy all the benefits of these foods.
Here are the 10 most common mistakes to avoid when cooking vegetables.
1) Slicing the vegetables in advance
If we slice the vegetables in advance before cooking them or preparing them, we risk that these foods lose some of their precious nutrients because of the contact with air and light. Then it would be better to slice vegetables at the last moment, before cooking or consuming them. There are many tools, not necessarily electric, that can help us in slicing vegetables quickly and easily even when we have little time. Sliced vegetables in advance risk blackening if you do not dress them with lemon juice.
2) Throwing away peels and stems
Some recipes ask to use only the best parts of vegetables and to throw away peels, stems and other waste. Especially if you cook with organic vegetables or with the products of your garden, do not throw away peels, leaves and stems. We can reuse them to prepare other recipes. For example, the pods of the peas are perfect to prepare pureed soups, with the potato peels you can prepare some crunchy chips and the broccoli and cauliflower stems are suitable for soups and side dishes. Here there are many useful ideas for using every part of vegetables.
3) Do not dry well vegetables
Do you want to prepare crispy vegetables, cooked in a pan? Then be careful to dry them well before starting cooking. In fact, the water present on the still wet vegetables will produce steam inside your hot pan and the vegetables will not turn out crisp and will tend to soften too much. So if you are aiming at the crispness of your vegetables, take care of the drying time. This is a common mistake caused by haste. Take some time to dry your vegetables. So the results of your cooking in the pan will be better.
4) Forgetting to season cooked carrots
If you prepare cooked carrots, do not forget to dress them with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. The reason is very simple. Beta-carotene is more easily assimilated by the body after being subjected to a short cooking. In addition, vitamin A is fat-soluble, therefore to be absorbed it needs a fatty substance. So, when you cook carrots, pay attention to season them immediately with a little oil.
5) Cooking the vegetables too much
Always pay close attention to the cooking times of your vegetables. There are vegetables, like potatoes, that need to be cooked to perfection, because they can not be eaten raw. Other vegetables, such as broccoli and carrots, should remain of a beautiful bright color during cooking and always be rather crispy. In short, in general it is better not to cook vegetables for too long so you can taste them "al dente" and the taste will also be better.
6) Adding too much salt
Vegetables have a particular taste that deserves to be tasted all the way and not to be almost completely covered with salt. So, do not use too much salt and maybe replace the common kitchen salt with whole sea salt and, even better, with spices that can enhance the taste of vegetables. Do not forget to keep in mind that every vegetable has its spice or aromatic herb.
7) Drowning the vegetables in the oil
A drizzle of oil as a condiment is fine, indeed it is advisable to use raw oil to season the vegetables both raw and cooked. Instead you should not overdo the amount of oil to be used during cooking in the pan. One or two tablespoons may suffice depending on the quantity and type of vegetables. If you heat very little oil in the pan well before putting the vegetables, you will notice that cooking will be faster and that the vegetables will be crispy and much less greasy.
8)Forgetting the marinade
If you love grilled vegetables, do not forget marinade. In fact marinade is considered a fundamental step in the preparation of grilled vegetables, both for taste and to prevent the vegetables from blackening too much and developing bad substances during the cooking on the grill. Marinating helps to keep foods moist and helps you avoid burning them.
9)Using poor quality oils for frying
From time to time do you happen to fry vegetables? In this case it is good to avoid poor quality oils and aim directly at the olive oil. Some people tend to prefer other frying oils, to save money, but a recent study has confirmed that olive oil is better for frying than sunflower oil, corn oil and soy oil, both in fryer and in frying pan.
10) Throw the cooking water
Do not throw away the cooking water used to prepare boiled vegetables or steamed vegetables. It is a precious resource. In particular, with the water of boiled vegetables you can prepare other recipes, such as creams, soups, risottos and minestrone soup, as if it were a broth. You can also use the cooking water of steamed vegetables to cook other courses. Never waste water, even when washing vegetables. Try to collect water in a bowl and reuse it, for example you could reuse it to wash dishes.