Cooking with Vegetables Tips

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What is the easiest way to peel a tomato?

How to peel a tomato

The best way I have found to remove the skin from a tomato is to dip it in boiling water for a few seconds, remove it, and immediately place it in cold water. The skin will slip right off!


How to Open a Plantain

Plantains should not be peeled like a banana. The skin is much to thick for this to be done correctly. The best way to open a plantain is to cut off each end. Then make a slice down the middle. You will then be able to easily unwrap the rest of the plantain peel.

I can’t seem to get the hang of boiling corn on the cob. No matter what I do the kernels are tough. Can you help?

A Tough Lesson

Have you ever tried to boil corn on the cob only to wind up with hardened kernels, no matter how long it's been on the stove? It may be that you're adding salt, which toughens kernels, to the cooking water. Instead, fill a large pot or straight-sided skillet with cold, unsalted water ¾ of the way up and bring to a rolling boil. Then, carefully drop in several shucked cobs of corn, making sure they're all immersed in the water. Return to a boil. Cover and turn off the heat, allowing corn to remain in the pot 4-6 minutes for perfect, crisp-tender corn every time.

How do I keep my broccoli from losing its color?

Keep your broccoli green

Broccoli cooking tips:
After you have cooked your broccoli (or other green vegetables), remove them from the cooking water and immediately plunge them into ice cold water. This will not only stop the cooking process, but also leave the broccoli at just the right temperature to eat.

How can I add more flavor to vegetables?

Flavorful Vegetables

Cook frozen vegetables in chicken, vegetable, or beef broth to add flavor.

How do I remove silk from cob corn?

Cob Corn

To remove corn silk from corn, dampen a paper towel or terry cloth and brush downward on the cob of corn. Every strand of corn silk should come off. --Mary Ellen's Best of helpful hints.

How do I prepare an avocado?

Avocado Preparation

First remove the stem from the fruit. Using a sharp knife, slice the avocado in half, turning the avocado on the blade as you slice. Twist the avocado halves to pull apart. If possible, scoop the seed out with a spoon. If the seed won't come out with a gentle tug, then pierce the seed with your knife. Give the blade a gentle twist and remove the seed. Make a small slice down the skin on the outside, and simply peel it away. Now you are ready to serve it, slice or mash for guacamole.

What is the best way to wash spinach?

Washing Spinach

Spinach cooking tips:
Place bunch of spinach in a large bowl of tepid water, leaving the stems tied together. Shake gently to loosen the dirt, opening the bunch slightly as you shake the spinach. Drain spinach, clean the bowl and add cold water. Wash in cold water twice, draining in between washings. When done washing, shake the spinach gently to remove as much water as you can. Refrigerate, leaving the ends tied together for easier trimming.

How can I peel onions without tears?

Peeling Onions

When peeling onions, soak in cold water for half an hour before peeling to prevent irritation to the eyes. Alternatively, peel under a running cold tap.

How can I have less tears when slicing onions?

Crying over Onions

More veggie cooking tips:
If your onions always make you cry, next time stick them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before you chop or slice them. Also don't cut through the root part of the onion as it releases most of the tear-producing odor.

How do I remove the pulp from avocados?


Instead of peeling, just cut avocados in half, remove the pit, then scoop out the pulp with a spoon.

How do I roast garlic?

Roasted Garlic

Interested in making roasted garlic? Here are simple garlic cooking tips:

You will need:
1 Head of Garlic, unpeeled
1 Tbsp Olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cut off top quarter inch of garlic head (pointed end). Drizzle oil over the head. Wrap head in foil, and bake until golden, about one hour.

More flavor for vegetables?

More Flavor

Want to add some extra flavor to your beans or other vegetables? Try adding a bouillon cube to the water you're cooking them in.

How do I grill corn-on-the-cob?

Grilled Corn

To make corn-on-the-cob on the grill, gently fold back the corn husk. Remove the silk. Add one Tbsp of butter and 1 Tbsp of water to each ear. Close the husk and wrap tightly in foil. Place on a hot grill with the hood closed. Cook for 25-35 minutes, turning often. Carefully remove foil and husk.

How do I keep from crying when I'm slicing onions?

No more crying!

There are many methods that have been recommended over the years to stop the tears when you are chopping onions. Some people say that slicing them while holding them underwater works...but it seems too dangerous to me! I've also had someone tell me they hold a piece of bread in their mouth while they are slicing. I just keep my mouth closed. As long as I don't talk or breath through my mouth while I'm chopping, I never shed a tear.

How can I tell if asparagus is fresh?

Fresh Asparagus

You can tell if asparagus is fresh if the stalks are tender yet firm. The tips should be close and compact. Asparagus should be used soon after purchasing, because it gets tough rather quick.

How do I make celery fans?

Celery Fans

Veggie cooking tips:
Make celery fans to dress up your plate. Slice celery stalks into 3 or 4 inch lengths. Using a sharp knife, cut several slits at one or both ends of each piece of celery, cutting almost to the center. Place in ice water and refrigerate until the fans curl.

How can I prevent avocados from turning brown.

Preventing Brown Avocado

Adding a little lemon or lime juice to an avocado will help prevent it from turning brown.

How do I freeze corn?

Freezing Corn

Vegetable cooking tips:
To freeze corn, shuck and remove the silks. Blanch corn in boiling water for 11 minutes. Immediately plunge in ice cold water. Cut off the cob and put in heavy duty freezer bags. Freeze immediately.

How do I clean leaks?

Cleaning Leeks

To clean leeks, trim and remove the root ends and any damaged parts of the green leaves. Starting at the green end, split each leek in half, with the knife stopping about an inch short of the root end. Spread leaves and white root end apart and wash thoroughly under cold running water. When you think the leek is clean, wash it again...there is probably still some dirt lingering between the layers.

How do I clean mushrooms?

Cleaning Mushrooms

Clean mushrooms as you use them by wiping them with a damp cloth. A quick rinse in cold water is also fine, but never soak them or they'll get soggy.

How do I remove corn from the cob?

Removing corn from the Cob

To quickly remove corn kernels from the cob, use a clean shoe is a perfect fit!

What is the easiest way to peel garlic?

Peeling & Chopping Garlic

Garlic cooking tips:
The easiest and quickest way to peel garlic is to crush a clove with the flat side of a large knife. Once it is crushed, the peel can be removed easily. Since the clove it flattened, it also makes it very easy to dice the garlic.

How do I chop foods with a tough exterior?

Cut on non-wax side

When chopping foods that have a tough or waxy exterior (such as bell peppers), chop with the waxy side down, as the more tender inside flesh is easier on knife blades.

How can I tell if an avocado is ripe?

Avocado Ripe?

Press the avocado with your thumb. If it dents easily, it is ready to use.

How do you roast peppers?

How to roast peppers

Broil whole peppers with tops 5 inches from heat, turning occasionally, until skin is blistered and evenly browned but not burned. Place peppers in a paper bag, close, and let stand 20 minutes. Peel skin from peppers.

What do I add if the vegetables are too sweet?

Vegetables Too Sweet??

If a main dish or vegetable is too sweet, add a teaspoon of cider vinegar.

How do I remove the seed from an avocado?

Preparing an Avocado

Taking a seed out of an avocado: Cut the avocado in half. With a little force and a sweeping motion from about a foot above the seed, drop a chef`s knife down into it. The knife is stuck in the seed. Now, holding the avocado in one hand, use the other to turn the knife to give a twisting motion and the seed comes out of the avocado.

How do I remove corn from the cob?


First, cook the corn. Let the corn cool enough so that you can handle it, and stand the cob on its larger end. Holding the cob firmly, cut the kernels off with a sharp knife, starting at the top and working your way down to the bottom.


When are Plantains Ripe

Plantains resemble the banana, but are very different. First, plantains are not actually a fruit. Second, they do not ripen as quickly as bananas. Plantains can take up to a month to ripen from the time they are picked. You will know if they are ripe because the plantain's skin becomes a dark brown or black color. At this stage the plantains are sweet and ready to use in your favorite recipe.


Parmesan Corn on the Cob

Give your corn on the cob a little more flavor by making a sauce out of butter and Parmesan cheese. In a bowl combine half a stick of butter, two Tbsp. of Parmesan cheese, 1/2 tsp. of salt, and 1/2 tsp. of pepper. Microwave on high until the butter has melted completely. Stir and spoon over your corn on the cob.


Substitute Wax Beans

Wax beans have many health benefits including extra iron and vitamin C. They are almost fat free and low in cholesterol. The best thing about wax beans is that you can use them as a substitute for green beans in almost any recipe. You can even toss them in with the green beans. The taste isn't too much different, so you should have no trouble getting your kids to eat them.


Pickling Your Green Beans

Slightly cook your green beans, but make sure that they are still crunchy. Place them in a sterilized jar. Set an equal amount of water and vinegar in a pot and bring it to a boil. Pour the mixture over the green beans. Add one tsp. of salt and two sprigs of dill weed. Close the lids and then set the jar on a shelf for three days. After that you can eat your beans.

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Guru Spotlight
Alicia Bodine