Vegetable Prep Tips

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veg_prep

Vegetable Prep Tips by Molly Neuman The Co-op has done a great job of keeping us stocked with high quality produce throughout this brutal winter. Many of us are busy and may even have a hard time keeping up with it! Here are a few ideas for ways to prep veggies so that they’re easier to use throughout the week between shopping trips. Most vegetables benefit from two cooking steps to enhance flavor and color. And a little extra work in advance can save time on your daily meal preparation.

Every Sunday I try to prep and store my vegetables so they are ready to go into my favorite recipes. After blanching, broccoli, kale, snow beans and string beans are ready to stir fry or roast. They keep their color and have a more tender texture than if you cook them raw. Softer, water-soluble vegetables like asparagus, spinach, and chard don't need blanching, but washing, trimming, and preparing in advance makes them easier to use and ready to add to sautées and soups. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your vegetables!

  1. Heat a big pot of salted water to boiling. Set aside a large bowl of ice water and a large colander for draining the vegetables.
  2. Wash, trim and prep your vegetables for blanching and shocking. Try to cut them into uniform pieces so that they will cook evenly.
    • Kale - pull leaves from stems, chop into bite-sized pieces.
    • Broccoli - trim broccoli flowers from stems and cut into bite-sized pieces.
    • Brussels sprouts - trim stems and halve or quarter Brussels sprouts to have uniform size.
    • Green beans or snow peas - trim ends and remove any strings.
    • Chard - pull leaves from stems, chop stems into small pieces and chop leaves into bite-sized pieces. Chard is tender and doesn't need blanching/shocking. The stems are perfect to sauté along with aromatics (onion, garlic, ginger) before you add the leaves.
  3. Add the vegetables to the pot. Blanch each type of vegetable separately for 30 to 60 seconds, long enough for the color to set and the salted water to flavor the vegetables.
  4. Transfer vegetables with a slotted spoon or spider to the bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Once the vegetables have cooled, drain them thoroughly in a large colander.
  5. Store in containers or zip-lock bags in the fridge.