Vegetables Collards - Onions

 
 

 

Collards

Only firm, dark green leaves are fit for consumption; any wilted or yellowish leaves must be discarded. The leaves are poorly digestible when raw and cannot be used in salads. Do not wash until ready to use, watch for sand on the back of the leaves.

Collard greens are a basic food of the Southern United States cuisine. They may actually be prepared with other

similar green leaf vegetables, such as kale, turnip greens, spinach, and mustard leaves in "mixed greens". They are generally a "winter" dish in the South.

Corn

When selecting, look for husks that have good green coloring with pale colored silk. To check the freshness, pull the top of the husk away from the ear and pierce a kernel with your fingernail. If the kernel releases a slightly cloudy juice it is typically a fresh batch. If the kernels are dented or discolored, the corn is not fresh. For the best sweet corn, no more than 3 hours from picking to serving.


To store corn, leave the corn in the husk and refrigerate as soon as possible. If corn has been husked, place it in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Shuck the corn by peeling back the husk and completely removing it. Remove the thin silk that runs along the kernels of the corn with a vegetable brush or with a damp paper towel.

Cucumber

Look for cucumbers that are very firm and rounded right to the ends; avoid any with withered, shriveled tips. Although the overall size varies with the type, slender cukes typically have fewer seeds than thick ones. Their skin should be a rich green not extremely pale and definitely not yellow. Watch for bruises or

dark spots, soft cucumbers are a sign of age.

There are several ways to remove the bitterness cucumbers sometimes have. Try cutting off the ends and and rubbing the flat of the knife across the cut end, then peel the skin. If that does not work, sprinkle the peeled cucumbers with a pinch of salt, a pinch of sugar, and a few drops of vinegar, and let stand for 20 to 30 minutes. Many store bought cucumbers have a wax coating, wash well if leaving the skin on.

Eggplant

Smaller, immature eggplants are best. Full-size puffy ones may have hard seeds and can be bitter. Choose a firm, smooth-skinned eggplant that is heavy for its size; avoid those with soft or brown spots. Gently push the flesh if it gives slightly but then bounces back, it is ripe. If the

indentation remains, it is overripe. If there is no give, the eggplant was picked too early. Also make sure an eggplant isn't dry inside, knock on it with your knuckles a hollow sound indicates dryness.

Eggplants are very perishable and become bitter with age. They should be stored in a cool, dry place and used within a day or two of purchase. When young, the skin of most eggplants are edible; older eggplants should be peeled, since the flesh discolors rapidly, an eggplant should be cut just before using.

Garlic

Garlic is most often used as a seasoning or a condiment. When crushed or finely chopped it yields allicin, a powerful antibiotic and anti-fungal compound (phytoncide).

 

Garlic is widely used in many forms of cooking for its strong flavor, which is considered to

enhance many other flavors. Depending on the form of cooking and the desired result, the flavor is either mellow or intense. It is often paired with onion and tomato.

In culinary preparation, it is necessary to remove the parchment-like skin from individual cloves before chopping. Lightly crushing the cloves with the ball of the hand or flat of a knife makes this job much easier.

When eaten in quantity, garlic may be strongly evident in the diner's sweat and breath the following day.

Kale

Choose leaves that are crisp and fresh and have a deep green color, with no yellow tinge. Smaller leaves have a milder flavor, can be cooked whole, and often have stems tender enough to eat. With larger leaves, you'll need to cut out and discard the stems, and then chop the leaves into small pieces.

Leafy greens are in season in the winter months,

but tend to be available year-round.

Store kale in dry plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can also cook the greens, and store them in the freezer in sealed plastic bags. They'll keep for months, so you can use them spontaneously in soups or casseroles.

Kohlrabi

Trim leaves if they are still attached to the bulb. The bulbs should be stored, unwashed, in a plastic bag. They will hold for about a week in the refrigerator. Smaller kohlrabi are the sweetest and most tender. Bulbs much bigger than the size of a tennis ball won't be as tasty and often have a pithy flesh.

Tender, young kohlrabi is delicious eaten raw. Peel the outer skin with a paring knife. Slice, dice, or grate, and add to salads. Use on raw vegetable platters or serve with a creamy dip. Grated kohlrabi can be added to slaw, but lightly salt it first and let stand for several minutes.

Leek

Leeks should be firm and straight with dark green leaves and white necks. Good quality leeks will not be yellowed or wilted, nor have bulbs that have cracks or bruises. Try to purchase leeks that are of similar size so as to ensure more consistent cooking if you are planning on cooking the leeks whole.

Fresh leeks should be stored unwashed and untrimmed in the refrigerator, where they will keep fresh for between one and two

weeks. Wrapping them loosely in a plastic bag

will help them to retain moisture.

The leek is a member of the onion family, but is milder than either onions or garlic. Unlike onions or garlic, leeks do not form bulbs or produce cloves but develop an edible 6 to 10 inch long round stem as much as 2 inches in diameter. The leek has leaves very similar to garlic. They are flat rather than round and hollow like onion leaves. Leeks are available throughout the year they are in season from the fall through the early part of spring when they are at their best.

Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce is the most popular lettuce in the United States. Dark green lettuce leaves always indicate higher fiber, flavor and nutritional value.

Lettuce leaves should be free of wilt, rot and rust. Wrap fresh, unwashed leaves in plastic warp and store in the refrigerator for a few days if necessary. Cooler temperature

will keep lettuce fresh longer. The coolest part of most refrigerators is usually on the first shelf against the rear wall.

Avoid storing lettuce with apples, pears or bananas. These fruits release ethylene gas, a natural ripening agent, that will cause the lettuce to develop brown spots and decay quickly. Toss lettuce that looks slimy or has black spots.

Okra

Refrigerate unwashed, dry okra pods in the vegetable crisper, loosely wrapped in perforated plastic bags. . Wet pods will quickly mold and become slimy. Okra will keep for only two or three days. When the ridges and tips of the pod start to turn dark, use it. Once it starts to darken, okra will quickly deteriorate.

Okra may be steamed until tender, either whole or sliced about 1/e thick. Okra can also be boiled with tomatoes, fried in a cornmeal batter, or simply stir-fried. Okra can also be the thickening agent in gumbo.

Okra is a mucilaginous plant it gives off a slippery/sticky substance when cut. This substance gives okra it's thickening properties. This is why it is so useful in soups and stews. When used raw or as a vegetable it shouldn't be cut into too small pieces, as the more it is cut, the stickier it becomes. Because of the slippery substance is what most people don't like about okra.

Onion

Onions are available in fresh, frozen, canned, and dehydrated forms. Onions can be used, usually chopped or sliced, in almost every type of food, including cooked foods and fresh salads, and as a spicy garnish; they are rarely eaten on their own but usually act as accompaniment to the main course.

  • Depending on the variety, an onion can be sharp and pungent or mild and even sweet.
  • Chopped, it is one of the three vegetables considered the holy trinity of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine.
  • Cocktail onions, or pickled pearl onions, are used to garnish drinks such as Gibsons.

Artichoke - Celery  Collards - Onion  Parsnips - Turnips

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  Cooking Notes 2006