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Overcooking veggies

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Are you a veggie over cooker or undercooker?  Some elderly people I know like to really overcook their veggies while I like to eat them al dente.  Believe me I love soft mushy veggies but I undercook them to retain their nutrients.  When it comes to something like kale, string beans, or cabbage that needs a long braise to soften and be edible do you worry that you lose nutrition?  We eat a lot of boiled weeds like dandelions - I always boil them until they are wilted but still a bit stringy while other people I know boil them for close to an hour and then boil them again!  What's the point of eating a vegetable if all its nutrients have been cooked out... or have they been all cooked out?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #2 of 24

Very timely topic. Older folks usually like their veggies cooked more, but so do lots of young people.

I have this at work as well. Mr.Boss can eat his vegetables al dente, but not Mrs. Boss. Green beans especially. Carrots always have to be on the verge of mush. The root vegetables not withstanding most of the leaf, stemmed, and tuberous vegetables, can be under cooked just fine.

post #3 of 24

Its interesting how they differ ChefRoss, my boss used to like his green beans on the crisp side now I have to boil them to death.

 

But if other guests are present, I never over cook.

 

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Réalisé avec un soupçon d'amour.

Served Up
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post #4 of 24

I like my veggies thoroughly cooked. That means that if you blanch a haricot vert for 3mn and then sautee it, IMO it's still raw (and not good). But that seems to be the way they are served nowadays around here. Al dente they say. I call it raw, or not properly cooked. I guess it's all in the eye of the beholder. 


I don't worry about the nutrition. I eat a lot of raw veggies also, in fact even haricot verts, for example in Green Papaya salad. But when I decide to cook veggies, they have to be cooked (not al dente). 

 

A cabbage that's not fully cooked is not very good IMO. But raw cabbage in a salad? That's perfectly fine. 

post #5 of 24
Half of my cooking is Chinese, so I got used to veggies really crisp. Quick caramelizing outside, almost raw inside. But of course, there're dishes an dishes, cooking schools and cooking schools, tastes and tastes.
As FF, I do not care about nutrition. If you're hungry, and joyful, and the food  taste good, that will nurture you for sure.
Gebbe Got uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichen und schönen Tod. Joseph Roth.
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Gebbe Got uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichen und schönen Tod. Joseph Roth.
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post #6 of 24

I wouldn't say that cabbage needs a long braise. I usually give it a quick blanch and then sautee it. In my opinion, long braising develops that nasty cabbage odour - probably by oxidation of the sulfur compounds present in all brassicacea. Anyway, don't always worry about nutrition - your body generally knows what it wants, as long as it isn't trained on industrial flavour enhancers. I lost roughly twenty pounds and have a better blood analysis then ever since I changed to cooking purely from scratch - and I do not give a rodent's behind when it comes to what is considered healthy or not these days - in goes the butter and lard, the next dish gets drenched in olive oil, whatever. Eat real food, enjoy and live well!

post #7 of 24

I'm a Brit so I  put the sprouts on low simmer for Xmas dinner on Dec 1st.

post #8 of 24
In California, veggies are cooked crisp tender. I have been converted. I guess when you have the freshest produce there is no reason to mask the natural flavor. IMHO
post #9 of 24

I have always preferred 'just cooked' veg to overdone.  My departed m-i-l ALWAYS cooked veg almost to mush.  I remember her asking my children if they wanted more veg....  up piped my 4 year old (at the time)...  'no thank you, Granny, we don't like pappy carrots in our house'.    Awkward pause and second servings of veg were never offered again!

post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kippers View Post

I'm a Brit so I  put the sprouts on low simmer for Xmas dinner on Dec 1st.

 

1 December?  Ahhhh, you like them al dente, then? biggrin.gif

post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishbel View Post

I have always preferred 'just cooked' veg to overdone.  My departed m-i-l ALWAYS cooked veg almost to mush.  I remember her asking my children if they wanted more veg....  up piped my 4 year old (at the time)...  'no thank you, Granny, we don't like pappy carrots in our house'.    Awkward pause and second servings of veg were never offered again!

 

What does pappy mean?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #12 of 24

I blanch then shock almost all my vegies, then saute in butter with salt,pepper and a pinch of sugar.

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post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 

Not all veggies are the same, needs to be said.  Some vegetables I prefer to be cooked longer while others I enjoy raw or al dente.  I can't stand the thought of a raw mushroom.  I'm with French Fries when it comes to green beans.  I want them soft and mushy almost.  I hate that waxy crunch.  I cannot eat a raw tomato, sorry.  But then again certain veggies like tomatoes and carrots are actually more nutritious after they are cooked.  Most other veggies like broccoli and cauli or asparagus I prefer al dente.  I remember once serving a cauliflower dish for dinner by blanching it first and then roasting it.  I offered some to one of my guests and he refused... his wife blurted "he doesn't like it uncooked" haha. 

 

There used to be a time when all lettuces were cooked.  In Chinese cuisine they don't eat any raw vegetables.  I suppose I eat plenty of raw veggies, but I do wonder if the cooked veggies I eat offer much in terms of nutrition.  One of my favorite veggie dishes is stewed green beans with onions, tomatoes and garlic.  It cooks for about an hour and I somehow don't think of it as a veggie dish anymore and can't imagine any more nutritious than a beef stew.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishbel View Post

1 December?  Ahhhh, you like them al dente, then? biggrin.gif

How dare you all my teeth are real......and who is al?

post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koukouvagia View Post

What does pappy mean?

Mushy, soft, baby-food pap!
post #16 of 24

My dear Mother, cooked ALL vegetables until they fell apart.

She was raised by her grandmother and grandfather from Denmark.

They liked their ‘boiled dinners’.  Talk about baby food!  ACK!

My husband’s household as a kid was similar, mushy everything or raw.

I simply steam and toss in flavorings,

like butter (shhh please don’t tell Mister k~girl he still says he doesn’t like butter),

EVOO, garlic, fresh herbs, etc., but rarely bacon.

from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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from ...

My kitchen in the middle of the desert

A Hui Hou (until we met), ALOHA!

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post #17 of 24

But everything is better with bacon smile.gif

 

Like Ordo, I mostly eat stir fries, so mostly underdone or just cooked veges.

Rest of the time I eat salads (lettuce, raw cucumber, raw tomato, raw onion etc)

The only time I would cook veges for a long time is when I make soup, a stew or a sauce

Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

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Life is too short to drink bad wine
---Anonymus---

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post #18 of 24

Satans carrots have to be boiled for 24 hrs then mashed with a steam roller700

post #19 of 24
Wow love this one, but it's late so I'll be brief and avoid all the fluff and reasons.

Carrots: Raw( except for mire) I will not eat mushy!
Asparagus: Blanched and grilled, still little crunchy.
Dandelions: Strong red wine vinegar with piada.
Mushrooms: Just starting to like these! They have to be fresh( canned is inedible to me) cooked and expensive.
Broccoli: The tops hot but very crunchy.
Celery: Sticks with ranch are a favorite snack.
Brussel Sprouts: Blanched and sauteed with bacon. Soft, but al dente.
Cabbage: Cole slaw, Kraut, stuffed rolls, I don't care what you do to it, I like it!

Anything picked( except eggs, but that's not a veg)

Mostly I like my veg undercooked or raw. I did make some cardoni the other day. First, clean and de-rib, chop, boil for 2 hours with a touch of lemon juice in the water, then sautee with garlic, and tomatoes, nearly another hour. So I guess I can eat some veggies very well cooked, but not many!
A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
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A person who never made a mistake, never tried anything new.  - Al E
Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.  - Ben Franklin
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post #20 of 24

As far as eating raw veggies. It depends where or from what state or location they arre grown in.

     Example Canadian carrotts(I call them horse carrotts) are only good for cooking , they will break your teeth sometime ,like chewing on wood. California carrotts on the other hand are far more tender

   .  Most time the veges obtained from California are better. Florida ,except for the oranges are in most cases terrible. The  growning season is to fast . They look wonderful but have no taste. Example strawberries  Cal. Driscol are still the best.     As is Cal. Garlic the imported garlic is terrible. Basil from Florida is passable but  I need double or sometime triple  the amount to make Pesto then from other more western  California states.

You have two growing oppurtunities here a season in Florid because crops grow so quick but again at a big loss in flavor.

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post #21 of 24

My mom was a proper southern lady.

Like all the southern ladies in her circle she employed a cook and a (gonna be pc here) housekeeper , as she was way too busy with her "clubs" ( Garden Club, Eastern Star, Church (quilting, knitting, embroidery) Bible Study), to cook or clean.

Our cook boiled all the veggies to death (in bacon grease or ham hock "liquor").

I did not even know broccoli existed until a "yankee family" that included a girl my age, moved into the house next door.

We became "besties" and and as such was required to eat dinner there a few times a week.

One nite there was a tree on my plate.

I poked at it with my fork and it appeared to be raw!

The bestie's mom must have noticed my fear (but it was raw! we don't eat raw food unless it is fruit!) and leaned over, cut it into manageable pieces, and covered it with some runny cheese.

Took a bite, and was a huge fan of broccoli (and that mom) from that day forward.

From there it was not so unusual to eat crisp carrot and celery sticks (dipped in a high fat mayo dressing, of course) as well as other veg offerings (braised brussel sprouts are still a fave).

One Thanksgiving my besties whole family came to dinner bearing a dish of green beans (crisp and no doubt delish) garnished with almonds.

Not wanting to embarrass the mom of my friend, our cook snuck the dish back to the kitchen and "finished" the preparation by adding cream of mushroom soup and canned fried onions to garnish.

We sat, we prayed, we watched my dad carve that magnificent bird (had to weigh almost 30 lbs) and passed the sides.

The dish of beans made it to the bestie's mom... she raised her eyebrows, but in true southern lady fashion (when in Rome..), did not utter one word.

Both of our mom's are gone now, but one of our fave memories is of that Thanksgiving meal....

 

mimi

post #22 of 24

I grew up with most veggies cooked just a tad past al dente. The exceptions were broccoli and cauliflower, both of which were steamed or roasted nearly to mush (though we called it "melt in your mouth tender" instead). I still love my vegetables best cooked just till the crunch is gone, but there's still all sorts of lovely texture. Heartbreakingly, I was recently diagnosed with a medical condition which, long story short, means I can't safely eat almost any fruits or veggies until they've been cooked to death.  I know it's not a problem most people have to deal with, but on the other hand how many of us has been fixing dinner after a long day, and in the middle of fixing veggies has had to rush away and leave them unattended when the child/dog/spouse has a crisis in the next room, only to return to overdone veggies?

 

Sometimes you just have to try to salvage what you've got. It took a while, but I've learned ways to compensate; one way to add texture back I've found is to use a coarse seasoning mix (appropriate to the veggie in question) tossed on just before the cooking is finished, or one of the coarser-grained finishing salts. Chopped nuts, when I can tolerate them, work, too. However, my favorite way to get back texture is to steam the veggies 'til I can safely eat them, then roast or pan-fry them to crisp the edges up a bit.

post #23 of 24

Great thread.  I've always wondered the proper way to cook veg and it seems it more of a personal preference than anything.   I know growing up my mom cooked veggies to death.  More often than not I like my veg with a bit of a crunch to it but wondered if others though it was undercooked.  Things like green beans, bell peppers, asparagus, etc I like some crunch.

 

Broccoli-I'm probably a little weird on this one but I like it roasted in the oven with just a bit of shallots, garlic, and olive oil.  But I roast it to the point where the ends start to char.  Gives it a softer texture and tastes really good. 
 

post #24 of 24

How you cut the vegetables (the size, the patterns) will influence the final taste and texture. Example: raw beetroot is not so good, but grated raw beetroot is nice and works fine in salads. I made myself a challenge, trying all kind of veggies -bulbs, leaves, flowers, etc.- raw, and then deciding how to cook them, or not. Surprising results. Raw, or Chinese al dente vegs are the best for me. Except potatoes, of course.

Gebbe Got uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichen und schönen Tod. Joseph Roth.
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Gebbe Got uns allen, uns Trinkern, einen so leichen und schönen Tod. Joseph Roth.
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