Vegetables in the Microwave

The microwave is idea for vegetables and potatoes. They retain flavor, colour and texture cooking in their own juices or a little water. Minerals and vitamins are retained, because of the short cooking time and minimum use of liquids. Vegetables can be prepared more naturally in the microwave ovens.

Fresh, water-retaining and low fiber vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumber, spinach or mushrooms, are delicious cooked in the microwave. Fiber-rich vegetables, such as carrots, Brussels, sprouts, potatoes, beans peas or cabbage require slightly more liquid for cooking and need a slightly longer cooking than water-retaining vegetables. The bottom of the cooking dish for these vegetables should be completely covered with liquid. Instead of cooking vegetables with water, they can also be steamed in butter or margarine.

Vegetables cooked in their own juices are full of flavour. It is important, however, that sufficient steam can develop in the dish. Only light seasoning is required to enhance natural flavour. Minerals are particularly well retained by careful cooking in the microwave. For this reason, salt lightly and, preferably, season with fresh herbs.

The vegetables should always be cooked in a closed container, so that no liquid is lost and nothing dries out. For best results, use dishes with close-fitting lids. Either salt the vegetables after cooking, or dissolve the salt in the cooking liquid.

Prepare the vegetables for cooking in the microwave in the usual way. Wash thoroughly, then trim and cut according to the recipe, either cubing or slicing. As the cooking time is also dependent on the size of the pieces, cut the vegetables as small as possible if they should be cooked quickly. Carrot and potatoes should be cut either in very thin slices or very fine cubes if possible, with a food processor.

With unevenly shaped vegetables such as broccoli, the tender florets cook more quickly than the stalks. Therefore, arrange them in a single layer on a round dish with florets towards the middle and the stalks towards the outside.

Finely chopped vegetables should be stirred once or twice during cooking, and always from the inside to the outside, this distributes the heat evenly.

Whole vegetables such as cauliflower or potatoes need longer cooking time, as the microwaves lose energy in the deeper they penetrate. Whole vegetables with fixed skins, such as peppers, potatoes, egg plant or tomatoes, should be pricked a few times with a fork before cooking. The steam can then escape without bursting the skin.

Whole or halved vegetables such as stuffed tomatoes or artichokes should be arranged in a circle in a shallow dish. Leave at least 1 inch between the vegetables. The middle of the dish should be empty. During the cooking, turn the dish as well as the vegetables.

If you leave the whole cooked vegetables to stand for a short time before serving, the heat is more evenly distributed. The heat penetrates from the outside to the inside, so that the inside also becomes soft without overcooking the outside.

Happy cooking vegetables using microwave oven!

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