VEGETABLES, FRUIT, AND SALADS
This module will introduce different types of vegetables, fruits, and salads that are used in the kitchen, their preparation and cooking and serving methods including stored procedures and principles.
Definition of Vegetable
Vegetables are the edible portions of herbaceous plant whose fruit, seeds, roots, tubers, bulbs, stems, leaves, or flower parts are used as food, such as the tomato, bean, beet, potato, onion, asparagus, spinach, or cauliflower. Vegetables add color, texture, and flavor to a meal. Vegetables can be served as a main dish or as an accompaniment to the main dish.
Types of Vegetables
- Root: The root anchors the plant to the ground and absorbs and transports moisture and nutrients from the soil up to the rest of the plant. Examples of root vegetables are carrot, turnips, beetroot, radish, horseradish etc.
- Tubers: A tuber is an underground steam, which carries nutrients from the root to the rest of the plant. Example of tubers vegetables are potatoes, sweet potatoes, artichokes, yams etc.
- Bulbs: The plant, whose nutrient is stored underground in a form of a bulb. The main edible part of these vegetables is their bulb. Example of bulbs is garlic, onion, leeks, shallots etc.
- Leaves: Usually green, flattened, a lateral structure attached to a stem and functioning as principal organs of photosynthesis and transpiration in most plants is leaves. The examples of leafy vegetables are lettuce, cabbage, spinach, Chinese leaves, Swiss chard etc.
- Stem: The main body portion of a tree, shrub or other plants which is above ground is steam. The example of the stem is asparagus, celery, and fennel.
- Fungi: Any of a group of unicellular, multi-cellular or syncytial spore-producing organisms feeding on an organic matter is fungi. The example of fungi vegetables are mushrooms, morels etc.
- Fruits: The sweet and fleshy product of a tree or other plant that contains seed and can be eaten as food is fruits. The examples of fruit vegetable are tomatoes, peas, pumpkin, zucchini, avocado, cucumber etc.
- Flower: The reproductive structure of the seed-bearing plant is known as a flower. The examples of flower vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower etc.
- Pods or seed: The grains or ripened ovule of plants capable of germination to produce a new plant is seed. The examples of legumes or seed are French beans, peas, baby corn etc.
How is vegetable processed?
- Sinking – Vegetables are dipped in water to loosen the foreign particles
- Washing – Wash in water to ensure the cleaning of foreign particles
- Trimming – Trimming is done to obtain the edible part)
- Rinsing – Rinsing in running water gives final cleaning to the vegetables
- Sanitizing – Sterilize vegetables in water purified with chlorine, bleach or iodine. This is especially important for vegetables that are eaten raw: 15ml of chlorine in 40 liters of water for cleaning purpose Storing – Stored in the refrigerators in 5-10 c for further use
Vegetable cuts and preparation method
The preparation methods of vegetables are as follows:
- Peeling: Roving the outer skin of vegetables which is inedible. Example peeling of potatoes
- Skinning: Has the same meaning as peeling but usually refer to skinning tomatoes rather than peeling a tomato.
- Shelling: Removing the hard outer covering or the shell. Example removing peas from pods.
- Chopping: Cutting into pieces. Example chopping onion, garlic or parsley.
- Shredding: Cutting into long narrow strips.
- Slicing: Cutting the vegetables to form circular in shape. Example tomato slice, onion slice.
- Trimming: Cutting parts of vegetable which are not eaten. Example: a root of spring onion.
- Grating: Rubbing against the serrated edge of a grater to produce fine shreds. Example grating of carrot for coleslaw.
- Topping and Tailing: Cutting both ends of a whole carrot or French bean.
Types of vegetable cuts
- Julienne: 1mm thin stripes
- Mincing: Roughly chop vegetable on cutting board with chef’s knife.
- Brunoise: 1mm cubes
- Macedonia: 5mm cubes
- Jardinière: 2x2x15mm stick shaped
- Scallops (slice): 12mm diameter
- Paysanne (different shapes)
- Triangle 10mm each side, Square 10 mm each side, circle 10mm diameter.
h6>Vegetable cooking methods
Methods of cooking vegetables are as follows:
- Boiling: Cooking vegetables in boiling water. (Boil underground vegetables in cold water and above ground vegetables in boiling water)
- Blanch: Boiling vegetables for a short time until the vegetables are partly cooked.
- Reheating: To reheat the cooked/boiled/blanch vegetables.
- Steaming: Cooking vegetables in boiling water steam.
- Roasting/Baking: Cooking the vegetable with hot air in an oven.
- Grilling: Cooking vegetables in a hot plate with direct heat.
- Frying: Cooking vegetables in fat.
- Some of the popular vegetable dishes are: French fries, sauté vegetables, grilled vegetables, stuffed tomatoes, roasted vegetable salad, and baked potatoes.
Remember the following when storing vegetables:
- Store potatoes, onions, garlic, and uncut pumpkin in a dry place (not in the fridge).
- Most vegetables, for example, carrots, cut pumpkin, zucchini, eggplant, capsicum, and broccoli, are best stored in the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator.
- Keep mushrooms in paper bags in the fridge.
- Buy fresh vegetables often and consume them soon after purchase. Avoid storing them for more than 3-4 days.
- Store fresh herbs in the refrigerator in a sealed freezer bag. They keep well for 4-6 days.
- Small quantities of leftover fresh vegetables such as carrots, beans, broccoli, snow peas, and celery are great for stir-fries or soups.
- Asparagus lasts longest when you stand the spears upright in a glass containing 1-2cm of water. Cover the tips of the spears with a plastic bag and it can be stored in the fridge for up to five days.
- Broccoli, in a sealed plastic bag, can be stored in the fridge for up to three days.
- Capsicum and carrots should be stored in a plastic bag in the crisper for up to one week.
- Mushrooms, kept in a paper bag, can be stored in the fridge for up to five days.
- Ripe tomatoes can be stored in the fridge for up to two days.
- Beans, celery, peas, spinach, and zucchini are best stored in a sealable plastic bag in the fridge for up to four days.
- Cooked vegetables should be well covered and store above the raw vegetable and meat in the fridge.
Garnish and serving vegetables
- Remember the following when garnishing and serving vegetable:
- Always garnish vegetables before serving.
- Use contrast color combination for garnish.
- Never overdo the garnish.
- Use only eatable items for garnish.
- Cutting technique enhance the presentation.
- Vegetables are served as accompaniments and main dish.
Fruits are the sweet and fleshy products of a tree or other plant that contains seeds and can be eaten as food. They are rich in food value, containing cellulose minerals, vitamins and are a valuable source of fiber.
Fruits are used in many different ways. They are used freshly in hors-d’oeuvres of fruit cocktail and juices. They are served as dessert after a heavy meal or for breakfast. Fruits are used in hot or cold pastry and sponge based dishes. They may be used to garnish food such as poultry and fish dishes and are also made into a sauce to accompany meat dishes. Fruits can also be cooked, stewed, jellied and can be preserved as jam.
Classification of Fruits
Following are the general classification of fruits:
- Stone fruits: Apricot, cherries, peaches, plums, greengages, nectarines etc. Convenience product: Canned, syrup, solid packed, frozen, dehydrated flakes and dried.
- Soft fruits: Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries, currants etc. Convenience product: Jam, syrups, squash jellies, canned, frozen pie, and filling.
- Hard fruits: Apples, pears, olives etc. Convenience products: Solid pack, canned, frozen, dried rings, flakes, and juice.
- Citrus fruits: Orange, lemon, grape, lime, lemon, tangerines, tangelos, pomeloes etc. Convenience product: marmalade, jam, juice, canned, jellies, segment.
- Tropical fruits: Melons, pineapples, bananas, guava, leeches, mangoes, papayas, passion fruits, cranberries, kiwi etc.
- Convenience product: Canned, juice, jam, jellies, frozen, dried etc.
Fruit Cooking Method
Fruits are generally cooked in 4 different ways. They are:
- Poaching (Soft fruits)
- Baking (Apples)
- Steaming (Apple, Pears)
- Deep frying (Pineapple, Apples, Bananas)
Fruit Preservation Method
- Fruits are preserved for the consumption at a later stage. Depending on the types of fruits and purpose to the product, various methods are applied. They are:
- Drying: Apples, pears, apricots, peaches, figs, grapes are dried
- Canning: Almost all fruits may be canned.
- Bottling: Bottling is used domestically but very little fruits are commercially preserved in this way.
- Candied: Orange and lemon peel are candied. Other fruits with a strong flavor such as pineapple are preserved in this way.
- Glace: The fruit is first candied and then dipped in fresh syrups to give a clear finish, cherries are glace. Crystallized fruits: After the fruit has been candied it is left in fresh syrup for 24 hours and then allowed to dry very slowly until crystals form on the surface of the fruits.
- Frozen: Apples, gooseberries, blackberries, blueberries, passion fruits, plum, and melon, mixed fruits are frozen.
- Juices: Orange, grapefruits, tomato, pineapple, apples, tropical fruits, and mixed citrus fruits can be preserved by making juice.
- Jam: Some stone and all soft fruits can be used for making jam.
Fruit Storage Principle
Most fresh fruits are perishable and require refrigeration. Some fruits leave out to ripen, but when they ripe, they last longer in the fridge. Here are some suggestions on storing fresh fruit:
Hard fruits: It should be kept in a box and stored in a cool place.
Soft fruits: It should be placed in the basket and kept in a cool room.
Always store fruits in a tray so that any damaged fruits can be seen and discarded.
Some examples are as follows:
- Apples: Refrigerate or store in a cool, dark place. Can be stored for several weeks.
- Avocados, papayas, kiwis, and mangoes: Keep at room temperature until fully ripened and then refrigerate them to keep for several more days.
- Bananas: Banana should not be stored in a too cool place it should be stored at room temperature. Cherries and berries: Keep refrigerated. For best flavor, consume on the day of purchase.
- Citrus fruits (such as lemons, limes, grapefruit, oranges): Citrus fruits, which don’t ripen further after they’re picked and are relatively long-storage fruits, keep for up to three weeks in the fridge.
- Grapes: Keep in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- Melons and tree fruits (such as pears, peaches, and nectarines): Keep at room temperature so that they can ripen and grow sweeter. After they’re fully ripe, store them in the refrigerator for several more days. Pineapple: Doesn’t ripen after it’s picked; best if eaten within a few days of purchase. Keep at room temperature, away from heat and sun
- Tomatoes: Store at refrigerating to keep them from spoiling.
A salad is a cold food that is made of vegetables, fruits, meats, nuts, fish, poultry, cereals, with a combination of various dressing. Salad should always have following characteristic, cold, crispy, colorful, aromatic and well-seasoned.
Salad can be served as a main course, as a salad course or as an accompaniment.
Importance of Salad
It increases the value of any dishes and looks attractive. It requires no cooking and can be cooked in advance and stored. Therefore, it can be served at any stage. It can be served as accompaniment, appetizer, salad course or as the main course.
Types of Salad
Salad generally falls into two categories: they are “simple salad” with one dominant vegetable, such as carrot salad and “compound salad” that generally consists more than one type of vegetables such as vegetable salad and the mixed green salad.
Some examples of Salads are as follows:
- Green Vegetable Salad: Lettuce, a slice of cucumber, carrot, onion, tomato, radish, and vinaigrette dressing with seasoning.
- Potato Salad: Cooked potatoes, lettuce, chopped onion, chopped parsley, vinaigrette, and seasoning.
- Kidney beans Salad: Lettuce, cooked beans, chopped parsley, mayonnaise, and seasoning.
- Russian Salad: Carrot, turnips, French beans, peas, lettuce, mayonnaise, and seasoning.
- Coleslaw Salad: Julianne cut Lettuce, carrot, cabbage, onion, mayonnaise, and seasoning.
- Meat Salad: Cooked meat, cooked French beans, gherkins, tomato, chopped onion, chopped parsley, vinaigrette, and seasoning.
- Fish Salad: Cooked fish (boneless), hard-boiled egg, vinaigrette dressing, and seasoning)
Components of salad
A salad should have 4 major components. However, it may vary depending upon the type of salad and style used to prepare a particular salad. The four major components are:
- Base: It is a foundation on which salad is built. It is usually some form of leafy vegetable.
- Body: It is made of ingredients which constitute the main parts of the body of the salad. Salad made gets its name from the ingredients that are used for the body.
- Dressing: It is used to blend the ingredient and add flavor.
- Garnish: It gives eye appeal and makes it more attractive and enhances the taste.
Read Also: Principles and Methods of Cookery