How to Keep Your Vegetables Colourful

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19 Jan How to Keep Your Vegetables Colourful

How to Keep Vegetables Colourful When Cooking  - The Messy Baker

So far so good on the weekly veggie post resolution. Spicy Green Beans and a pumpkin-based soup have kept me right on track and feeling all smug.

This week? Well, it’s a bit selfish, but I decided to turn to the experts at Rouxbe Online Cooking School once again.  One of the biggest turn offs for me as a photographer healthy eater, is dull, colourless food. Who wants to eat grey broccoli or jaundiced cauliflower? Not me.

Turns out the way you cook a vegetable can be just important as how long you cook it. And of course, one method won’t cover all vegetables. What works for green won’t work for red. Or yellow.

So, want emerald beans? Brilliant Brussels sprouts? Ruby red beets? Here’s how.

The Pigment in Green Vegetables

Rouxbe Online Cooking School & Video Recipes

Pigments in Red & White Vegetables

Rouxbe Online Cooking School & Video Recipes

Want to keep carrots and squash bright orange? There’s another video in the series, but I thought asking Joe for three videos was pushing the envelope — even though I am an affiliate.  For those who missed my last cleverly worded disclosure / trial membership explanation, here it is again:

Like what you see? As part of their affiliate program, I have the power to give you a free, full-access, no-videos-barred, one-week pass to their site. All you have to do is go to Rouxbe Online Cooking School and redeem the 7-day Gift Membership. You can enjoy all Rouxbe has to offer for a full 7 days, no strings attached.

And then? Your Gift Membership will silently morph into a Basic Membership, which means you can access the recipes but not the Cooking School videos. However, if you’d like to purchase a Premium Membership, it is very reasonably priced, starting at just $15 per month for full cooking school access.

What vegetable give you the most grief? Let me know what you want to conquer and I’ll see if I can create some healthy, colourful vegetable dishes in the coming weeks.

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20 Comments
  • Leslie
    Posted at 09:53h, 19 January Reply

    Eggplant has always been a tough one for me. I first tried cooking them when I lived in the south – fried, of course. The vegetable soaked up tons of the oil and it tasted horrible. Since then, I’ve relegated my eggplant dishes to tomato sauces and ratatouille. Is there any way to enjoy the vegetable in a more natural state?

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 10:57h, 19 January Reply

      Eggplant can be tricky. It can be really bitter. You aren’t the only one who’s relegated it to stews. Look for an eggplant post in the next month or two! Thanks for sharing your vegetable woes.

    • Joe Girard
      Posted at 03:06h, 20 January Reply

      @Leslie… left a response below that might be of interest. Sorry, missed the “reply” link.
      Joe, Co-founder of Rouxbe.
      .-= Joe Girard´s last blog ..Torchiette with Bacon, Beer & Cheese Sauce =-.

  • Susan Hoffman
    Posted at 10:55h, 19 January Reply

    The vegetables don’t give me too much grief. That comes from a husband who likes them cooked beyond recognition! It is always interesting to see how long our veggies must be cooked to keep everyone happy. Raw veggies are OK but cooked veggies must be really cooked.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:00h, 19 January Reply

      Opinions differ within my family on just how cooked is “cooked”. I like mine crunchy, but find I’m roasting some more often to avoid conflict.

      Thought I had the problem solved with a nice green salad, but that started the Iceberg Lettuce vs Mesclin Mix war. And don’t get me started on the battle of the salad dressings…

      • Susan Hoffman
        Posted at 12:40h, 19 January Reply

        @Charmian Christie,

        I hear you all the way! Iceberg lettuce – yikes!

  • Jill
    Posted at 12:14h, 19 January Reply

    Interesting! I liked those two videos. Now for two questions.

    I steam, rather than boil, almost every type of vegetable. The colour stays pretty well, but I’m wondering if you think that adding the acid (for cauliflower as an example) to the steaming water would have the same effect at really keeping things bright?

    Number 2…I always thought steaming was the ‘healthy’ thing to do…perhaps this isn’t so. Your thoughts?

    Jill

    • Joe Girard
      Posted at 03:05h, 20 January Reply

      @Jill, first of all, steaming IS a very healthy way to cook vegetables. In fact, healthier than simmering in water. Water extracts a great deal of nutrients from the vegetables, but is still a great way to cook them as long as you try to avoid “boiling” and overcooking. We will cover steaming in the cooking school in a subsequent lesson.

      Second, some acid in the water when steaming will help a little for sure given that there is moisture but not as much as it would with the direct contact of liquid. But give it a try.
      Joe, Co-Founder of Rouxbe.
      .-= Joe Girard´s last blog ..Torchiette with Bacon, Beer & Cheese Sauce =-.

      • Jill
        Posted at 18:28h, 20 January Reply

        @Joe Girard, Thank you, I will give it a try.

        I of course popped right over to your site to check out your current recipe. Bacon? Beer? Cheese? I may get flowers AND jewellery after making this.

        Jill

  • Cheryl@5secondrule
    Posted at 13:36h, 19 January Reply

    OK, that’s amazing. I had no idea the acids in vinegar help preserve pigmentation. I’m used to adding citrus or vinegar to many dishes right at the end to brighten flavors, but this whole color-thing is new information. Thanks (again), Ms. CC!
    .-= Cheryl@5secondrule´s last blog ..Oranges =-.

  • Angelique from Bitchin' Lifestyle
    Posted at 16:40h, 19 January Reply

    Charmian! This was an amazing post! So informative. I hate gross-dead-looking veggies too and it was really great learning something so useful! Awesome! BTW I RT’ed this on Twitter so the Twitter world could know this too!

    Best,

    Angelique

  • Lori Desormeaux
    Posted at 18:27h, 19 January Reply

    I learned a few things!-cooking green vegs w/o a lid….but I was surprised at the amount of water use. I try to steam most of my veg’s -or our new fav..roast in the oven…mmmmm roasted carotts!

  • Amy Proulx
    Posted at 20:59h, 19 January Reply

    Nice! As the friendly neighbourhood food chemist here, I’m delighted how Rouxbe described the chemistry in such an approachable way. Still, I was hoping they would have said “pheophytin!”. I love that word!

  • Joe Girard
    Posted at 03:01h, 20 January Reply

    Leslie… for eggplant, if you like Indian food, try cutting them in half lengthwise and roasting them flat side down on a baking sheet (oiled) until they are soft. Then sweat a couple of finely diced onions until translucent, add tomato paste and diced tomatoes, then Indian spices. Then scoop out and roughly chop the eggplant (discard the dark outer skin). Toss back into the onion tomato mixture and cook for 20 mins on low. This is a great way to cook eggplant as it adds incredible flavor and the onions add sweetness to counteract the bitterness of the eggplant. Might do this on Rouxbe for Charmians follow-up. For now though, you can adapt from this recipe for the flavour profile:

    http://cristiescorner.rouxbe.com/recipes/1525-chana-masala-curried-chickpeas/preview
    .-= Joe Girard´s last blog ..Torchiette with Bacon, Beer & Cheese Sauce =-.

    • Leslie
      Posted at 08:47h, 20 January Reply

      @Joe Girard…Thanks! I’m feeling inspired, (though this recipe still involves tomato sauce and sounds stew-ish so I’m still looking forward to what Charmian comes up with.)

  • jodi (bloomingwriter)
    Posted at 12:35h, 20 January Reply

    We have an ongoing battle abt green beans because Longsuffering spouse insists they squeak in his mouth. He thinks this is because he has a partial bridge that is metal due to allergies to whatever synthetic bridges are made of today, but I tell him beans squeak when I eat them too. I just don’t notice or worry about this. Yet he’ll eat yellow beans and not complain. I love him dearly, but he’s weird sometimes.

    • Joe Girard
      Posted at 12:46h, 20 January Reply

      @jodi (bloomingwriter),

      • Joe Girard
        Posted at 12:48h, 20 January Reply

        @Jodi (bloomingwriter)…. it’s true…beans squeak when you eat them :-)

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