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Tips and tricks for preparing fruit and vegetables
All fruit and vegetables require different preparation methods. Many are unsure exactly how a particular ingredient needs to be prepared, so we have provided a guide.
Preparing fruit and vegetables can be a time intensive process. Additionally, some more exotic fruit or rarely used vegetables may leave you feeling confused – how is it prepared? How do I peel it? Do the pips have to be removed? The peel in particular poses a problem for many, sometimes leading to it being removed unnecessarily. However, most of the nutrients and vitamins are usually found directly under the peel.
Find out here how to prepare some popular, exotic or rare vegetables and fruits and how to optimise your process so that meal preparation is quick and easy.
Once fennel has been washed, the stem has to be removed. The delicate green leaves can be chopped up and added to the dish. Halve the fennel and cut out the stalk, then finely slice the fennel.
Leek should be halved lengthways, up to a few centimetres clear of the stem. Spread the leek and wash under running water. Then prepare the leek as usual by removing the stem and any dry or wilting leaves and cut the remaining leek into rings.
Preparing rhubarb begins with removing any remaining leaves. Where the rhubarb has been cut is often dry, so remove that area too. The outer layers of rhubarb are often fibrous and not particularly enjoyable. Peel the rhubarb by holding down the small fibres with a knife and pull to remove them. Then chop up the rhubarb into small pieces.
Grapefruit, lemons and oranges are all prepared in different ways – peeled and enjoyed as a snack, halved and eaten with a spoon or cut into slices. Oranges in particular make a great addition to a fruit salad. Remove the peel and use a sharp knife to extract the individual orange fillets. The peel of citrus fruits should only be used if it is organic and untreated.
Many have made the mistake of attempting to peel a Hokkaido pumpkin, but this effort is entirely wasted, as its hard peel turns soft when roasted or fried. Hokkaido pumpkins only need to be cut open, the seeds removed with a spoon and any woody parts removed. Everything else is edible.
Cauliflower can be cooked whole or separated into individual florets. The stem should not be wasted. If it is a little woody simply peel it or remove the affected parts, then chop it up and cook it along with the rest of the cauliflower. The same also applies to broccoli.
If you have prepared a lot of vegetables you are likely to end up with a lot of leftovers. Rather than throwing them away, try making a vegetable stock. You can collect vegetable leftovers in a container in the freezer until you have enough. Carrot peel, cauliflower stems or wilted leek leaves can all be turned into delicious vegetable stock by boiling them in water for an hour and then leaving for several hours. Sieve out any bits, season the stock and then use straight away or freeze.
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