Preparing Vegetables for Cooking

by Karen Bates
(last updated January 25, 2016)

Vegetables are a delicious and versatile food group that can be enjoyed in many ways. With such a large variety of vegetables and so many ways to prepare them, just about everyone can find a vegetable dish they love.

It can, however, be a little overwhelming at times to decide the best way to prepare and cook vegetables. Some vegetables need to be cooked in a particular way or require special preparation before cooking. Or, if you don't have much experience with cooking vegetables, you might not have any idea where to begin.

Most vegetables need some preparation prior to cooking. Fortunately, preparing great-tasting vegetables isn't too much work. Here are some ways you can get vegetables ready for a meal:

  • Washing the Vegetables. First of all, you should start by thoroughly washing the vegetables you are going to cook. Many vegetables come in contact with pesticides or might have a lot of dirt on them, so it is important to clean them so they are safe to eat. Don't use soap to wash vegetables; use cool, clear water and lightly rub the vegetables with your hands as you rinse them.
  • Removing Stems. Your vegetables may have stems or other parts that you don't want to eat. Simply cut these parts off with a sharp knife.
  • Peeling. Some vegetables, like carrots and potatoes, have an outer layer of skin that can be peeled off if desired. To do this, use either a knife or a peeler. A good peeler is very convenient and gets the job done quickly. Some vegetables have an outer layered skin that you may need to peel off by hand, such as onions or garlic.
  • Cutting. Depending on the recipe you are following, you might need to chop or otherwise cut up the vegetables you plan to cook. Put your washed vegetables on a cutting board to prevent scratching other surfaces. Use a sharp knife to cut the vegetables: this allows them to slice more easily and causes less trouble. If you are cutting a long vegetable like a carrot, it is less awkward if you cut it into smaller sections first before chopping off smaller pieces.
  • Marinating. In some recipes, you will need to marinate the vegetables. Place the vegetables in the marinade ahead of time and allow them to sit so they will be ready when it is time to do the cooking. Follow the directions on the marinade or the recipe you are using. Marinating vegetables can take several hours.

After trying these ideas, your vegetables should be ready for cooking.

Author Bio

Karen Bates

An English student who enjoys writing and art, Karen has had her poetry published in her university's literary journal and has several novels in the works. ...

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