There’s a new approach in town, and this one will offer all the tools you need in order to prepare vegetables in healthful and tasty ways. It’s called the chop test.
If a vegetable is physically hard to chop, then that vegetable will take longer to cook. Cook it until it is tender, and don't worry too much about overcooking. Stick a knife or fork into the vegetable. When that vegetable yields easily to such prodding, then it's done.
If a vegetable is easy to slice, then it will cook much more quickly. Cook gently until just crisp-tender, paying careful attention to doneness. These vegetables are more finicky than the hard to chop options -- overcooking will make them mushy and less palatable.
Some vegetables should not be cooked because they are easy to slice and very high in water content. This is more of a cooking lesson than the rest, because ease of chopping is not a factor. These vegetables include avocado, cucumbers, lettuce, radishes, and sprouts.
There are a few exceptions, just as there are with any rule. For example, some greens are an exception because they are easy to cut but need longer cooking to make them tender and palatable. Then there are tomatoes, which mellow over time if you are making a sauce.
By Judy Doherty, PC II and Founder of Food and Health Communications, Inc.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing in a professional capacity for the past 10 years. In addition to her work as an editor, Ronco has also served as a ghostwriter and writing tutor. A voracious reader, Ronco loves watching language evolve and change. When she’s not delving into her latest project, Ronco can be found teaching acting classes, performing in community theater, or sailing with her husband.