Learning how to cook vegetables can be broken down into simple, easy
understandable parts. The essential parts involve cleaning and
preparation and the techniques of different cooking methods. In this
article we will cover these basics, as well as taking a look at what
methods are the fastest and healthiest ways to cook vegetables.
Planned Kids Cooking Curriculum
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Cleaning and Preparation
There are two major reasons for cleaning vegetables thoroughly
before cooking them. The first one, which will be obvious to anyone,
is that fresh vegetables are often covered in dirt due to being
grown in the ground. There’s also a less obvious reason – virtually
all vegetables you buy from a supermarket will come from crops
sprayed with pesticides. These chemicals, while invisible, can be
harmful and should not be ingested. Make sure all vegetables are
washed thoroughly before you start cooking. This is less important
with vegetables that will be peeled, but it’s still good practice to
Peeling and chopping are the next elements of preparation. The
recipe should specify how vegetables are to be prepared – whole,
peeled, diced, sliced, finely chopped, mashed, and so on. There is a
difference between sliced and diced – slicing means a long fine
slice in one direction through the vegetable, while diced means
cutting the vegetable into cubes.
Boiling. This simply
involves placing the vegetables in a pot of boiling water until
cooked – you can usually tell with most vegetables when they are
cooked because they will be soft when poked with a fork.
Sauté. A sauté
involves cooking all the ingredients of a meal in a pan at once,
usually with oil or a little fat.
Barbeque. You can cook
some vegetables on a grill to go with a barbequed meal.
Steaming. As the name
suggests, this is cooking using steam. You boil water underneath
the vegetables and the steam passes up through a grate to cook
them – this method requires the right cooking utensils.
Bake. Many vegetables
are best baked in the oven such as baked potatoes, eggplant,
squash or fresh pumpkin.
Boiling and steaming, as they only use water, are known to be very
healthy methods of cooking vegetables. Any method that includes
using oil, such as frying, tends to be less healthy – although this
depends on the type of oil used. Sautéing is next on the list of
healthy options after boiling and steaming.
To cook whole baked potatoes, pierce potato with a fork on all sides
of potato. Place on a cookie sheet or wrap in tin foil. Bake at 350
degrees for 20-40 minutes depending on size of potato. Potatoes are
done when you can poke a fork in the potato easily.
Cook fresh pumpkin
To cook a fresh pumpkin, cut pumpkin in quarters or small wedges.
Place on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until
tender. Pumpkin is tender when you can poke a fork into the pumpkin
easily. Time varies on the size of your pumpkin pieces. Scoop flesh
out of pumpkin rind and puree in blender or mash with a fork. Place
in plastic containers and freeze to use in future recipes.
See more pumpkin recipes
How to cook eggplant
Wash eggplant well. Pierce with a fork all over eggplant skin. Place
on a foil lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes
or until eggplant collapses. Allow to cool slightly. Cut open and
scoop out insides. Use chopped eggplant in casseroles, add to
spaghetti sauce, dips such as baba
ghanoush or an eggplant recipe of your choice.
Make teaching easier with our activities and recipes compiled in one easy to read format.
How to cook asparagus
Break off ends by bending and snapping the end of the stalks. Use a
wide skillet the stalks can lay down in. Boil asparagus in 5 cups of
water with 1/2 Tablespoon salt. Boil 5-7 minutes until skewer
pierces the middle easily. Don’t overcook.
How to Cook Artichokes
My favorite way to cook artichokes is in the pressure cooker. If you
have a pressure cooker, add your artichokes with the stems cut off.
Add 1 Cup of water and seal the lid. Once the cooker comes to
pressure cook for 15 minutes. Turn off and let pressure cooker cool
Without a pressure cooker add artichokes to a large pot,
add water to cover and cover pan with a lid. Allow to come to a
boil and cook 30-45 minutes or until you can insert a knife through
the middle of the artichoke. Allow to cool slightly.
How to Cook Zucchini
There are several ways to cook zucchini. You can slice zucchini into
slices and saute in a pan with a dot of butter. Season with salt and
pepper and minced garlic if you like and cook several minutes. You
want the zucchini to still be a little firm and not mushy.
Another way to cook zucchini is in the oven. Slice whole
zucchini in half lengthwise. Place on a sheet of tin foil.
Sprinkle zucchini with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Add cheddar cheese, if desired. Wrap up zucchini in tin foil and
bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until fork inserted into zucchini
shows it is tender.
How to Cook Beets
way to cook beets is roasted in the oven. Scrub outer skin of beets
or peel skins if desired. Place on tin foil, drizzle with
olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap up and bake at 400 degrees
for 20-30 minutes until beets are tender. Cut in slices or halves