Care and Preparation of Vegetables
The summer vegetables will quickly lose their freshness and flavor if reglected. Unless they can be cooked at once, they should be kept in a refrigerator or some other place where they will be cry and cool. Corn and peas are never at their best unless cooked soon after gathering, as their sweetness doesm not last. Vegetables that have lost their crispness may be freshened by standing in cold water, especially stem or stalk vegetables that have had their ends freshly cut. To keep lettuec, sprinkle it and wrap it in a clothe before putting it in the refrigerator.
When winter vegetables are to be stored, they must be sound and not overripe and must be kept cool and dry in a place that has good ventilation. Most of them keep better if closely piled or packed in barrels, but squash should be spread apart, each by itself. Squash and sweet potatoes should not be kept in as cool a place as other vegetables.
After washing vegetables well, cook them in boiling water, but do not let them boil too hard. In salting the water, use a teaqspoon of salt to a quartm of water, putting it in when the vegetables are more than half cooked. Dried vegetables should be soaked for several hours before they are cooked, the same water being used for cooking them. They require slow cooking for a long time. Onions, cabbage, cauliflower and other vegetables of strong flavor will be better if cooked in an uncovered kettle with considerable water. But those of milder flavor ought to have a smaller quantity of water, so that not much will be left when the vegetables are cooked. They should be covered but not tightly. All surplus water must be drained off when the vegetables are cooked sufficiently as it does not improve them to stand in water. The water in which vegetablesw have been cooked may be used for making cream soups or be added to soup stock.
It is well to open canned vegetables about an hour before heating them, pouring them immediately from the can and letting them stand in the air. They may be heated in their own juice or be drained and then heated in fresh water. It is best to boil canned vegetables five minutes before they are served.