Vegetable Cheat Sheet L – Z

Continued from Vegetable Cheat Cheet A-K

Leeks
Season: Spring / Summer / Autumn
Cooking: Saute / Bake
Tips: Trim off ends before cooking. Split lengthwise for baking. Finished when tender.

Lima Beans
Season: Summer / Autumn
Cooking: Boil
Tips: While dried lima beans are a legume, the fresh beans are a vegetable. Hull your own or buy frozen. Put frozen or freshly hulled beans into boiling water and cook for about 8 minutes or until tender. Drain and serve.

Kaiya checking out squash varieties for Mum's cooking

Mushrooms
Season: Year-round
Cooking: Saute / Grill / Bake / Raw
Tips: Must be very fresh. Delicious idea is to remove stem and stuff with butter, cheese, herbs, bacon, etc. Can serve as a hot veg or cold salad veg.

Onion
Season: Year-round
Cooking: Saute / Stir-fry / Bake / Slow-cooker / Raw
Tips: Usually partnered with other veg, but also tasty on its own! Use butter, olive oil and/or water to caramelise onions when sauteing or baking. Red onion is nice as a raw salad veg.

Parsnips
Season: Autumn / Winter
Cooking: Boil / Saute / Bake / Slow-cooker
Tips: Trim, peel and cut into sticks or chunks before cooking. Boil and mash with butter and cream just like potatoes. Or bake or saute just like carrots. Oven-baked parsnip sticks look like French fries!

Peas (Garden or Shell / Sugar Snap / Snow)
Season: Spring / Summer
Cooking: Raw / Grill / Stir-fry
Tips: Peas belong to the legume family and can be eaten fresh or dried. Shell your own fresh peas or buy frozen. Put frozen or freshly shelled peas into boiling water for a few minutes, until just tender. Drain and serve. Chinese or Sugar Snap Pea varieties can be trimmed and steamed for one minute and do not need butter as they are naturally buttery.

Potatoes
Season: Year-round
Cooking: Bake / Saute / Boil / Slow-cooker
Tips: Don’t peel, as most of the nutrients are just under the fibrous skin. Brush the skin with oil for crispy baked potatoes. Alternatively, wrapping in foil helps bake nicely. The smaller the potato chunks in the slow cooker, the mushier the finished potato. Can also slow-cook potatoes whole.

Pumpkin ( many varieties including butternut [see winter squash])
Season: Autumn / Winter
Cooking: Bake / Steam / Grill / Slow-cooker
Tips: Cut in half, chunks, wedges or slices and scoop out seeds before cooking. Easier to remove skin after cooking or scoop cooked flesh out of skin, though skin can be cut off beforehand. Butternut pumpkin can be served as a hot veg or cold cooked salad veg and makes wonderful soup. Roast seeds for a delicious snack: toss in oil and salt and bake on a baking sheet at 120 C until dry.

Rutabaga (Swede)
Season: Autumn / Winter
Cooking: Boil / Saute / Bake
Tips: Great lower-starch/lower GI alternative to potatoes. Dice, grate, or mash like you would a potato. Like other root vegetables, roasting in the oven brings out the sweetness.

Spinach
Season: Spring / Summer / Autumn
Cooking: Raw / Saute / Bake
Tips: Always have some of this versatile leafy green in the fridge. Baby spinach best for salad and throwing into mixed dishes. Saute like kale. Mix into stuffings, quiches and more for baking.

Summer Squash (Zucchini, Yellow)
Season: Autumn
Cooking: Saute / Bake / Grill
Tips: Seeds and skin are edible. Never steam or boil. Easily overcooked, so finish cooking when just soft.

Sweet Potato (Kumara/Yams)
Season: Year-round or cooler months
Cooking: Bake / Saute / Boil / Slow-cooker
Tips: Don’t peel, as most of the nutrients are just under the fibrous skin. Cook like potatoes. Roasting (baking) brings out the sweet flavour. Be sure to eat with butter (or egg yolks or cream) for highest fat-soluble nutrient absorption. Related to the morning glory family, not the potato! Comes in yellow, white and purple flesh, in addition to the popular orange variety.

Tomatoes
Season: Late Spring / Summer / Early Autumn
Cooking: Raw / Saute / Bake / Grill
Tips: Technically a fruit but usually eaten like a vegetable, tomatoes are incredibly versatile. Can be served both hot and cold.

Turnips
Season: Autumn / Winter
Cooking: Boil / Saute / Bake / Raw
Tips: A cousin of the rutabaga (swede). Lower-starch alternative to potatoes and can be cooked similarly. Baby turnips can keep their skin, otherwise tough skin can be peeled or cut off. Can also be grated raw in salads or sliced and eaten with dip or nut butter.

Winter Squash ( Butternut Pumpkin, Acorn Squash, Spaghetti Squash)
Season: Autumn / Winter
Cooking: Bake / Grill / Slow-cooker
Tips: Cut in half, chunks, wedges or slices and scoop out seeds before cooking. Easier to remove skin after cooking or scoop cooked flesh out of skin, though skin can be cut off beforehand. Butternut pumpkin can be served as a hot veg or cold cooked salad veg and makes wonderful soup. Pumpkin seeds can be dried or roasted to eat as a snack.

Happy Cooking!

References:

– Simply in Season Website: http://simplyinseason.org/season/guide/pumpkins.html
– Nourishing Traditions; Sally Fallon. Washington DC: New Trends Publishing, 1999.


Vegetable Cheat Sheet A – K

Vegetable Cheat Sheet - A to K

Arugula (Rocket)
Season: Spring / Early Summer
Cooking: Raw / Saute
Tips: Great for salad and throwing into mixed dishes. Saute like kale. Mix into stuffings, quiches and more for baking.

Asparagus
Season: Late Spring / Early Summer
Cooking: Steam / Saute / Stir-fry / Grill / Bake / Raw
Tips: Must be fresh; don’t buy if the tips have gone mushy. Before cooking, snap off hard ends and discard. Steams quickly (about 5-8 minutes). Finished cooking when stalks turn bright green. Can serve as a hot veg or cold salad veg. Makes nice soup.

Cooking is easy once you get to know your veggies

Beans, Green
Season: Summer / Early Autumn
Cooking: Steam / Saute / Stir-fry / Bake / Raw
Tips: Before cooking, trim ends and discard. Steams quickly (about 8 minutes). Finished cooking when tender. Can serve as a hot veg or cold salad veg.

Beets (Beetroot)
Season: Spring / Summer / Autumn / Winter
Cooking: Bake / Boil / Raw (grated)
Tips: Baking takes a bit longer but retains more nutrients and flavour. Finished cooking when sharp knife or skewer goes through easily (1-2 hours depending on size). Skin peels off easily after beets are cooked and cooled. Can serve as a hot veg or cold salad veg. Great with drizzled olive oil. Leaves are slightly bitter but can be prepared and eaten like kale (below).

Bell Peppers (Capsicum)
Season: Summer / Autumn
Cooking: Raw / Grill / Saute / Stir-fry
Tips: Great raw as a snack or in salads. Skin peels off easily after char-grilled and cooled. To keep fresh longer, store remaining cut pieces wrapped in paper towel in fridge drawer. Grilled or roasted bell peppers (capsicum) can be used to make sauces.

Broccoli
Season: Autumn / Winter / Early Spring
Cooking: Steam / Stir-fry / Raw
Tips: Cut into flowerets. Cooks quickly (about 5-8 minutes). Finished cooking when flowerets turn bright green and tender. Can serve as a hot veg or cold salad veg. Makes nice soup.

Brussel Sprouts
Season: Autumn / Winter
Cooking: Steam / Saute
Tips: Cut off ends and remove loose outer leaves. Make a little cross in the end to help cook evenly. Steams in about 5-10 minutes. Or steam for 1-2 minutes then saute to finish. Finished when tender.

Cabbage
Season: Late Summer / Autumn / Winter
Cooking: Steam / Raw
Tips: Remove outer leaves and hard core. Shred or grate cabbage finely for best results (food processor makes it easy). Steam with minimal water for about 5 minutes. Finished when just wilted. Can serve as a hot veg or cold salad veg (slaw).

Carrots
Season: Year-round
Cooking: Raw / Steam / Saute / Boil / Stir-fry / Bake / Slow-Cooker
Tips: Most convenient raw snack veg as doesn’t need cutting. Peeling skin off does not remove nutrients. Finished cooking when tender. Can serve as a hot veg or cold salad veg.

Cauliflower
Season: Late Summer / Autumn / Winter
Cooking: Steam / Bake / Raw
Tips: Cut into flowerets. Steams in about 10 minutes. Finished cooking when flowerets are tender. Makes nice soup, or mashed as an alternative to mashed potato.

Celery
Season: Late Summer / Autumn / Winter
Cooking: Raw / Slow-Cooker
Tips: Convenient raw veg snack; nice with nut butter or homemade dip. Breaks down nicely in slow-cooked meals. Leaves and top of stalks can be used in making stocks, broths and soups.

Corn
Season: Summer / Early Autumn
Cooking: Steam / Bake / Grill
Tips: Remove husks (shuck) before steaming. Steam covered in small amount of water for about 5-10 minutes until just tender. When baking, corn is finished when green husks turn straw colour. Cold cooked corn works well as a salad ingredient or as a snack.

Eggplant
Season: Summer/ Early Autumn
Cooking: Grill / Saute / Bake
Tips: Easiest cooking method is to slice lengthwise or into rounds, put under grill until hot, rub on butter, then grill until golden (one or both sides). Eggplant slices make nice layers in veggie stacks, or used to pile meat and veg on as an alternative to bread.

Kale
Season: Autumn / Winter
Cooking: Steam / Raw (in shakes/juice)
Tips: Remove stems and tear leaves off ribs. Steam with minimal water for about 8 minutes until wilted. Then squeeze out liquid in a strainer before serving. Can be used raw in green shakes or veggie juices.

The rest of the veggie alphabet is at Vegetable Cheat Sheet L-Z

Happy Cooking!

References:

– Simply in Season Website: http://simplyinseason.org/season/guide/
– Nourishing Traditions; Sally Fallon. Washington DC: New Trends Publishing, 1999.