Vegetables Made Easy: Your Complete Guide To Veggies!

Vegetables are among the key ingredients in your kitchen. In fact, many recipes could not exist without them. Even our condiments and sauces include them. Of course, there are a lot of reasons for this.

Contrary to popular belief, vegetables are actually tasty and full of flavor. If you prepare them the right way, these ingredients can add delicious flavors to any of your delicacies. They have a better flavor spectrum than fruit, which is generally sweet. From being sour to slightly bitter, vegetables have a lot to offer your tongue.

However, the most significant reason why we need to eat veggies is their rich nutritional contents. Eating vegetables and healthy kinds of meat can boost your bodily system and functions. In fact, they are beneficial to every aspect of your well-being.

In this article, I am going to teach you all of the fundamental things that you need to learn about vegetables. So hop on and get your notes, as I will be guiding you through everything you need to know about the green and healthy paradise of delicious vegetables!

Vegetables Made Easy: Your Complete Guide To Veggies!

Benefits Of Eating Vegetables

Of course, we need to specify the perks of consuming vegetables. In fact, I need to convince you and your kids that eating these ingredients will bring about many wonderful effects to your bodies. As l would run out of space if I enumerated all of their benefits one by one, I will just turn to the five basic, yet compelling reasons to eat veggies.

Benefit 1: They Are Rich In Essential Vitamins And Nutrients

A diet that’s filled with a myriad of vegetables is truly lovable because it allows your body to be fueled by all of the crucial nourishment that it needs to keep on working. Some of these nutrients include folic acid, fiber, potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and many more. These important components both vitalize and regulate the different systems of your body. As a result, you will no longer be as susceptible to disease.

Benefit 2: Vegetables Have Low-Calorie Content

Unlike your favorite meat, vegetables are naturally low in calories and fat. Therefore, you can consume as much of them as you want, without having to worry about increasing your weight. This is the biggest reason why many dieticians recommend a full portion of vegetables for people who want to trim down their body size.

Benefit 3: They Optimize Your Gut

Vegetables are extremely rich in fiber, which is an essential component that regulates your bowel movements. If you want to avoid spending too much time in the comfort zone, you had better eat a lot of vegetables. Fiber and water, in particular, can optimize the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut, which helps to stop constipation and other bowel problems.

Benefit 4: They Can Lighten Your Mood

Getting stressed these days is pretty easy. With all of the ruckus and erratic schedules that we are facing, it is easy to become negative in our outlook. Fortunately, you can stay positive and focused by eating vegetables at meal times. For example, a study released by Mental Health America showed that the regular consumption of vegetables, fruit, and whole grains can improve the mental welfare of any individual. So, if you want to keep your smile, veggies can help you out!

Benefit 5: Immunity

Perhaps the best perk and benefit that vegetables can give you is they can ward of illness by strengthening your immune system. As a result, they will provide your body with a foolproof immunity to all of the common ailments. They can even significantly reduce the risk factors that cause people to develop serious diseases. Therefore, overall, veggies can protect your body from allergies and bacteria while also improving the balance in your intestines!

Vegetable Classification

Categorizing vegetables is not easy. After all, there are a number of different variants to consider. Their world is too vast to explore. Fortunately, there is one good way to classify veggies. That is to identify the edible parts of vegetables. Take note that doing this allows some vegetables to fit into a number of different categories. Here are some of them:

Flowers

Examples: broccoflower, broccoli, squash flower, artichoke.

Roots

Examples: carrots, daikon, radishes, turnips, swedes, beetroots, parsnips.

Fungi

Examples: shiitake, portabello, enoki, swiss brown, button white.

Available Methods To Cook Vegetables

Vegetables will become edible and tasty if you cook them properly. Fortunately, there are a lot of cooking methods that can be applied to your favorite veggies. Here are some of them!

Method 1: Eating Them Raw

Let's take a good look at this. I know that cooking is necessary to ensure safe and tasty food. Sometimes, however, eating your veggies raw is the best way to enjoy them. Leaving them just as they are, without any cooking, allows them to maintain their nutritional contents.

But let’s be clear about this, eating raw veggies doesn't mean that you won't have to do anything. You don't have to eat them like you are a cow or a goat. For example, if you want to make salad dressings, you will need to place the veggies in olive oil so as to create the extra texture you require. There are other methods that enable you to make noodles and soups out of raw vegetables. Marinades, herbs, and spices will all turn out better if you can add some "natural flavor" to them.

Method 2: Boiling

Of course, this method is pretty much a given, as most of these green buddies can be cooked by boiling them in water or another appropriate liquid. This cooking method is the most efficient way of turning your veggies into mouthwatering delicacies. Of course, you need to be moderate in this process, as it can make your food mushy if you overcook it and dry out all the nutrients.

The ideal veggies to boil are cauliflower, green beans, and broccoli. They are great ingredients that sustain a healthy heart. You can boil them easily by submerging them in a boiling pot of water with some salt. But don't overdo the boiling. Once you notice they are turning bright, then you should remove them immediately. This is a method known as blanching.

Another method that is related to boiling is simmering. This process is simple. Just pour the veggies into the pot before the water starts to boil. After that, you can let the ingredients cook for a long time. You can do this by turning the temperature to a lower heat. Veggies like eggplant, potatoes, and turnips are all great ingredients for simmering.

Method 3: Steaming

This cooking method is perfect if you don't want to drown your vegetables in any liquid. One of the greatest advantages of this is that it allows the veggies to retain all of their nutrients. So your vegetables will still be bright and tender result without risking their nutritional contents. Moreover, it will make them both flavorful and delectable.

You can steam any vegetables you want. However, the best veggies to steam are those that have a delicate and sensitive texture. Asparagus is one of them. You can also steam some veggies before you sauté them, such as carrots and sprouts.

Steaming vegetables is pretty simple. Just let the pot of water simmer. Next, put a colander or steamer on top of the pot. After that, you can put in all the veggies. Ideally, I would suggest that you add extra ingredients to the water that will improve the taste by inducing an aromatic flavor to the vegetables. I recommend that you try both ginger and garlic for this.

Once you have done the steaming, whisk in some salt or herbs on top of your vegetables. 

Method 4: Sautéing

It is undeniable that a lot of kitchen cooks like to sauté their vegetables. The reason for this are pretty simple. The cooking process is quick and can enhance the natural flavor of the food. Moreover, there is only a minimal loss of nutrients because the cooking process is so fast.

You can sauté vegetables by heating them in a pan with oil and other extra spices. It is safe to assume that most vegetables can be sautéed. Asparagus, green beans, onions, and other types of green veggies are all very tasty once you have sautéd them.

Just heat the pan (preferably on a medium heat). Next, pour the oil and let it heat up. Once it starts to simmer, you can add the spices, like garlic and ginger. When sautéing, make sure you don't overfill the pan, as having the right amount of water will allow you to optimize the available heat. Just stir in the veggies until they are soft and bright.

Method 5: Stir-Frying

Many people are quite confused about stir-frying and sautéing. Even though they are similar, these cooking methods are also quite different. Stir-frying usually involves using a high temperature for speedy cooking. This means you should constantly toss and stir the veggies so they won't get burned.

You can see this cooking method being applied to delicacies in Asian restaurants. Many of the recipes in that particular part of the world are prepared this way.

Since stir-frying is a quick way of cooking, it is essential that you prepare all of the ingredients before the cooking starts. There is no time to slice or chop things once your pan or skillet is on.

Method 6: Stewing and Braising

Stewing and braising are great cooking methods that you can apply to your veggies. With these two methods, you can gradually envelop your favorite veggies in a flavored liquid. You will need to use a low temperature setting to heat up the ingredients, so it will take some time for your dish to be cooked.

The convenience of these two hassle-free cooking methods is that you can step out of the kitchen to do other tasks. As they are time-consuming, stewing and braising are both ideal methods for cooking veggies like potatoes, celery, and squash. You can use water when braising, but if you want to make an extraordinary recipe, use wine or other flavored liquids instead.

Method 7: Baking and Roasting

It is quite surprising that you can prepare your veggies by using these two cooking methods. For me, roasting is the fastest way that you can cook vegetables. This approach involves caramelizing the vegetables in a properly heated oven and will extract the sugar contents of the veggies, which gives the dish lots of flavor.

Just like stewing or braising, roasting doesn't require you to watch over your food. Just preheat your heating device to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and then let your veggies roast there. Baking has a similar approach, but you can't caramelize the veggies because you will not use too much oil here.

Method 8: Frying

Let's be real. Most fried foods are unhealthy. This is an indisputable fact, unless the food you are going to fry is a vegetable. It is a case of striking the perfect balance between nutrition and guilt-free indulgence.

Your kids are the best recipients of fried vegetables. I am sure they hate these ingredients because we felt the same way too when we were young. However, once you fry the veggies, your children’s appetite will certainly change. Don't worry, I have tried this trick with my kids and it totally works!

When frying veggies, there is no need to use much oil, as pan-frying is enough to get the desired results!

Method 9: Grilling

The last method that I will introduce to you is grilling. This is a perfect cooking method if you want to give vegetables a smoky, rich flavor. Just like roasting, grilling causes the vegetables to caramelize. Therefore, you can always expect your veggies to taste sweet after you’ve grilled them.

But, of course, the greatest perk of grilling is that it allows you to do the cooking outdoors. This is a great time for bonding with your friends and family! Just remember to marinate the vegetables first before you grill them. Don't worry, it should only take around 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can cover them with seasoning as well.

Storage Tips For Vegetables

Storage Tips For Vegetables

After finishing your shopping spree at the market, the next thing to do is take care of the veggies and make sure you provide them with proper storage. Since they are derivatives of plants, they will perish quickly. Therefore, it is a must that you know how to deal with them. Otherwise, you won't be able to enjoy their taste or fully benefit from the nutrients.

Proper storage will also ensure that the hard-earned money you spent on them does not go striaght down the drain. A rotten vegetable is not fit for consumption, after all.

So, follow these guidelines I have made to ensure that you get the most from your fresh veggies:

Tip 1: Only Pick The Fresh Ones

Tropical juices are usually made from pineapple. A good example of this is the famous and in-demand cocktail Pina Colada, which imbibes the spirit of leisure and fun.

Tropical juices are one of the favorites of many Americans nowadays. Most pineapples sold in the local markets of the United States are produced in Hawaii. Others have been exported from Southeast Asian countries, like Philippines and Malaysia.

Tip 2: You Can Mitigate The Damages

Tropical juices are usually made from pineapple. A good example of this is the famous and in-demand cocktail Pina Colada, which imbibes the spirit of leisure and fun.

Tropical juices are one of the favorites of many Americans nowadays. Most pineapples sold in the local markets of the United States are produced in Hawaii. Others have been exported from Southeast Asian countries, like Philippines and Malaysia.

Tip 3: Don't Cut Or Trim

I recommend that you do not cut or trim a whole vegetable if you are not going to use the whole of it. As I mentioned in the last section, doing this will create ideal openings for bacteria, microbes and air to get in, which causes food to go rotten. So only start the cutting process when you ready to cook the veggies.

Tip 4: Knowing The Ideal Temperatures

This is complicated as not all vegetables can be stored at a similar temperature. It is best to leave some of them on your countertop, while others should be stored in your refrigerator. The ideal storage temperature for your favorite veggies will be dependent on the climate they have been grown in. For instance, onions and other legumes should be stored in your refrigerator. But veggies that have grown in warm conditions, like eggplant, squash, and peppers, should be left on your countertop. If you put them inside your refrigerator, their flavor will soon become bland. Noticeable brown colorations will also appear on their skins.

Meanwhile, avocados won't get ripe if you store them at low temperatures. Instead, you should store them in a cool, dark place in your kitchen.

But, of course, the cold of the refrigerator has benefits too. It can slow down the growth of microbes and lengthen their lifespan. Therefore, if your vegetables are "refrigerator safe", you should place them inside that haven. 

Tip 5: Avoid Direct Light Exposure

Sunlight acts as a catalyst for growth by speeding up the ripening process of any kitchen ingredient, especially fruits and vegetables. A good example is your potatoes. If you expose them to direct sunlight, sprouts will start to protrude from their skins eventually. Therefore, if you don't really intend to ripen them, just store your vegetables in dark places.

Tip 6: Dehydration Is An Enemy

Take note that dehydration is not a good thing, even for vegetables. Once they lose their natural moisture, they age quickly. Unfortunately, the air produced by your refrigerator is dry. If you are going to store some very moist ingredients there, like lettuce and celery, make sure that they are all packed in resealable plastic bags, as this can stop them from wilting and withering away.

Tip 7: Sweating Is An Enemy Too

Obviously, too much moisture can also make your vegetables go bad. The best solution here is to wipe the vegetables with a clean paper towel manually. Of course, don't overdo it. Otherwise, all of the moisture will be lost. As I said, this is a bad thing, so try to strike a perfect balance here.

I recommend that you should avoid covering any sliced surfaces on a pumpkin, as it will cause too much sweating. Just leave the pumpkin as it is until the surface becomes dry. After that, just trim the surface again the next time you are going to use it.

Mushrooms are perhaps the most prone to sweating. If you leave them as they are, they tend to moisten a lot. Personally, I conceal them in a paper bag and put them in my refrigerator. 

Recipes

Here are some vegetable recipes that you can try for yourself!

Tools-Of-The-Trade

Who said that it is impossible to make delicious, tasty juices and smoothies out of raw vegetables? That's a plain lie that you have to discredit. If you really want to create something new from your veggies, blend them into juice or smoothies, and include some fruit too. You will love them!

Just like personal blenders, the standard blender can turn any raw ingredients into a sweet and delectable dessert! The inclusion of veggies in your juice and smoothies will introduce you to a brand new world of flavors If you don't believe me, then try these blenders that I have listed here!

I am pretty sure that you cannot make those sumptuous dishes if you don't have a reliable electric skillet in your kitchen. An electric skillet has more power efficiency than its non-electric counterpart. As a result, you can cook various vegetable recipes in it without worrying about the power consumption. Of course, electric skillets can produce even cooking results as well, which is perfect for ingredients like vegetables!

Most of our vegetable recipes usually leave a heavy residue in our pans and skillets. This is especially true if the dish you are making is sticky. You can escape this predicament if you have a red copper pan. This particular cookware is an innovative item that ensures you can enjoy clean and comfortable cooking!

If you want to make precise and thin slices out of your favorite vegetables, you should have a good santoku knife at your disposal. It specializes in making food items like sashimi and can also be used to cut vegetables, especially if the recipe requires your ingredients to be finely sliced.

Even if you have high-quality knives, they won't last long in the kitchen if you don't take care of them properly. Apart from sharpening the blades, the best way to take care of your knives is to invest in a knife block. With this amenity, you will no longer need to store your knives in your drawers or any part of your kitchen. This tool can preserve the sharpness and durability of the blade, which is important as a sharp knife is necessary for dealing with tough veggies!

An electric knife sharpener improves both the speed and precision of sharpening the blades of your knives. With this maintenance tool around, you can easily rejuvenate the quality and state of your knives! Learn about some of the finest knife sharpeners here!

Some of us can't really veer away from the traditional methods. Sharpening stones are still the item of choice for many house chefs and restaurant cooks when they sharpen their knives. Fortunately, there are a lot of options when it comes to this device. I recommend that you get to know them all. Otherwise, your knife will be too blunt to chop your veggies!

As I just mentioned, you can make juice out of your favorite veggies. One device that you can trust to do this task is a masticating juicer. Unlike ordinary juicers, a masticating juicer is classified as a high-end kitchen tool. It is efficient enough to extract all of the possible juice from the flesh of the vegetable!

A garlic press is a niche-based cooking item because you can only use it for garlic, and nothing else. Its function is simply to crush and mince your garlic in one pressing motion. I have invested in this tool because it makes any food preparation process a lot easier. I bet you would like to have a high level of ergonomics too.

This sounds like an alien language, right? Despite its unique and non-colloquial name, a zoodle maker is a useful tool that turns your veggies into noodles. It is primarily made to convert zucchinis into stringed delicacies, but there are a lot of models out there that work with other vegetables too!

A vegetable chopper is a machine that allows you to chop lots of vegetables simultaneously. So, if you are making a vegetable salad or other vegetable-heavy recipes, then you’ll find this beast is a necessary amenity. It possesses all the cutting speed and precision that you need to make your veggies look presentable as well!