stewing

Stewing

Stewing is a cooking method similar to braising in that it often involves tougher cuts of meat and sturdy vegetables such as root vegetables. Stewing uses a long, slow cooking method with liquid but the meat or product is usually cut into smaller, uniform pieces, unlike braising (think pot roast) in which you cook a whole cut of meat as one large item. Stewing works well for tougher meats and vegetables because it breaks down strong muscle and plant fibers and connective tissue.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Make sure you cut your items to the same size to ensure even cooking. If you are cooking small pieces of meat as well as vegetables, make sure they will all cook at the same time, which may mean the vegetables are cut to a larger size than the meat.

  • Searing the meat and vegetables and deglazing the pan are recommended as it will provide more flavor. See the instructions for searing here.

  • Use a heavy gauge stockpot or cast iron pan with a tight cover.

  • Cooking temperatures are very low with stewing, usually keeping the liquid at a simmer (about 160-180°F).

  • The best test for doneness is using a fork to pull the meat or vegetables apart, if it comes apart easily with little resistance, it’s done.

  • Use at least one acidic liquid when stewing. Tomatoes, vinegar or wine help break down connective tissue and tenderize tougher meats.

  • Season your liquid with salt at the end ONLY. The liquid will reduce and can lead to a very high concentration of salt at the end.

Vegetables and meats that stew well:

Beef: top blade roast, chuck eye roast, ribs, brisket, shanks
Pork: shoulder/butt, front hock, pork belly, picnic ham/shoulder
Chicken: Thighs and leg meat
Cabbage
Carrots
Celery
CollardsKale
Mushrooms
Onions
PeppersPotatoes
Rutabagas
Sweet PotatoesSquash – Summer & Winter
Tomatoes
Turnips

There are many recipes for stewing for meats and vegetables and PRFM suggests these cookbooks for regionally available items and recipes, all available through the Cathedral of St. Philip Bookstore:

Bon Appetit, Y'all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking by Virginia Willis

New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers' Markets, Roadside Stands, & CSA Farm Boxes by Sheri Castle

New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen by Hugh Acheson

Summerland: Recipes for Celebrating with Southern Hospitality by Anne Quattrano

Your farmer is always a great source of information on how best to cook your market goodies or check out our recipes page!

steaming

Steaming

Steaming is a cooking method that works well with delicate items as it requires little agitation of the product and is thus perfect for tender vegetables as well as seafood. Because the food is not submerged as with simmering and boiling, there is little loss of nutritional content.

Tips and Tricks for Steaming:

  • The most common way to steam an item is to bring the liquid in a large pot to a simmer and steam the product in a basket suspended over the simmering liquid with the cover on.

  • You only need a about 1-2 inches of water or broth in the bottom of the pot to steam, let the liquid come to a rolling boil, turn down to a simmer, then add the steamer basket with the product to the pot and cover.

  • Season product before placing in the steamer basket with salt and pepper to get the seasoning locked in.

  • Season the product immediately after steaming with herbs, oil or butter and other liquids such as vinegar or lemon juice to add more flavor. The product will absorb more of the flavor while it is still hot.

  • If you don’t have a steamer basket, a metal colander that fits in the pot will work as well.

  • Steam times will vary based on the product but the easiest way to determine cook time is to test a very small batch first and to test often for desired doneness.

What to steam:

Arugula
Asparagus
Bok Choy
Broccoli Cabbage
Carrots
Corn – off the cob
Kale Kohlrabi
Peppers
Potatoes Spinach
Squash – summer
Turnips

simmering

Simmering

Simmering is cooking an item in liquid with a temperature from 180°F to 205°F. Simmering is used for making stocks, soups and stews.

Tips and tricks for simmering:

  • Your liquid is at a simmer when small bubbles appear but not at a full, rolling boil.

     

  • Simmering is a good application for making soups as it cooks items slowly allowing flavors to develop without over-reducing the liquid amount and does not toughen up the item which can happen with boiling, especially for proteins.

     

  • Braising on the stovetop also involves simmering the liquid for a long period of time to break down tough fibrous textures such as large, tougher cuts of meat and vegetables like collards or mustard greens.

     

  • Season your liquid with salt after the ingredients in the soup/stew/braise are already cooked through and the liquid has reduced to the desired thickness. Seasoning at the beginning is recommended only for dried herbs and spices or add a sachet. Salt and can become overwhelming when the liquid reduces and is difficult to correct after the fact.

     

What to simmer:

Apples
Asian Pears
Asparagus
Beans
Beef – tougher cuts
Beets
Broccoli Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Chicken
Collards
Corn Eggplant
Garlic
Kale
Mushrooms
Peaches
Peas – field Pork – tougher cuts
Potatoes
Soybeans
Squash – summer & winter
Tomatoes
Onions

searing

Searing

Searing is a technique used before many other types of cooking such as sautéing, roasting, braising and stewing. Searing creates the brown, caramel-y, crusty exterior that contributes to flavor and texture on meats and vegetables.

Tips and tricks for searing:

  • Get the pan WICKED hot! Avoid a non-stick pan, use a cast-iron or stainless steel pan, this makes it easy to transfer to the oven for other methods such as braising and roasting.

  • Use a high smoke-point oil such as safflower, vegetable and peanut. You only need a tiny bit, a tablespoon or less. The oil will look shimmery and just start to smoke when it’s ready.

  • Don’t overcrowd the pan; this will cause steaming instead of searing.

  • Gently lower the item onto the pan to avoid spattering the hot oil.

  • Try not to move the items in the pan when searing. Constant contact between the food and the pan is required for a proper sear. The item will initially stick to the pan when searing, you can jiggle the pan a little, if the food releases, it is ready to flip.

  • Deglazing the pan is a great way to make a pan sauce or to continue cooking a braise or stew. Deglazing is easy: Remove the seared item to a separate plate and keep warm. Add hot liquid (broth, wine, beer, etc.) to the hot pan and scrape up the gooey, brown, sticky bits at the bottom with a wooden utensil. The amount of liquid will depend on the recipe but adding an inch or two of liquid for a pan sauce and halfway up the item is a good starting point for a braise. For a stew, you’ll need more liquid but it can be added after the deglazing process.

What to sear:

Asparagus
Beef
Broccoli
Carrots Chicken
Corn
Mushrooms
Okra Peppers
Pork
Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes
Squash – summer
Turnips
Onions

Sautéing

Sautéing is a versatile cooking method that involves a large shallow pan with slightly curved edges, small amounts of fat and high heat.

Tricks and tips for sautéing:

  • Use a sauté pan. The sauté pan is designed specifically for that little flip that ensures even cooking.

  • Cut your items to a uniform size.

  • Choose the right size of pan; overcrowding will cause the food to steam instead of caramelize.

  • Sautéing is versatile in terms of which fat to use. Depending on flavor profile, any number of fats can be used. The idea is to use about 1-2 tablespoons preheated in the pan on medium-high to high heat depending on the oil and the item to be sautéed. Check your recipe or this Whole Foods Guide is an excellent source for determining the best oil to use and their flavor profiles.

  • For veggies and fruits: Once your oil is hot, add your item and toss to evenly coat with oil and allow to brown on one side. Then toss again and allow to brown, until you have even browning on all sides. Don’t toss too often, it will prevent caramelization from happening. When all sides are nice and brown, lower the temperature to avoid scorching and cook to desired crispness.

  • For meats such as fish, chicken, pork and steak: season your meat with salt, pepper on both sides or marinate as instructed by the recipe. If marinated, dry the outside of the meat on paper towels to avoid hot oil spatters. You can lift an edge of your protein to check the color before turning it. You want to only turn it once, especially for delicate items such as fish.

    • Fish: Sauté until outside is golden and fish begins to flake when tested with a fork.

    • Chicken: Sauté until no longer pink and internal temperature is 160° F. For thicker pieces such as legs and thighs, consider a quick sear in an oven-proof pan then moving the item to a pre-heated 350°F oven to reach desired doneness.

    • Steak: Preheat the pan, sear for 1-2minutes per side on high, then reduce temperature to medium and cook to desired doneness. Can be finished in the oven after a quick sear if desired. This method is recommended for thicker cuts of meat.

    • Pork chop (bone-in or boneless): Preheat the pan, sear for 1-2 minutes per side on high, then reduce heat to medium and cook to internal temperature of 145-155°F depending on desired doneness. Can also be finished in the oven.

What to Sauté:

Apples
Arugula
Asian Pears
Asparagus
Beef – tender cuts
Blueberries
Bok Choy
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Chard
Chicken – tender cuts
Collards
Corn
Eggplant
Fennel
Garlic Scapes
Kale
Kohlrabi
Mushrooms
Okra
Peaches
Peas – English
Pecans
Peppers
Pork – tender cuts
Potatoes
Soybeans
Spinach
Squash – summer
Strawberries
Tomatoes
Turnips
Onions

pan frying

Pan Frying

This method entails cooking food in an uncovered pan in a moderate amount of fat. This technique is often used with breaded, tender items with relatively short cook times.

Tips and Techniques for Pan Frying:

  • Use a large skillet or sauté pan with sloped or straight sides. Non-stick coatings work well breaded items may otherwise stick to the pan despite the frying oil. Pans with even heating are recommended. A cast-iron skillet is perfect for pan-frying due to its non-stick nature and consistent heating.

  • Pan-fried dishes are usually coated with a breading. A three step process is generally recommended: a thin coating of flour or cornmeal, egg wash and milk/buttermilk, and a main coating of flour/breadcrumbs with seasoning. Make sure each ingredient is in a separate, flat dish with plenty of room and use one hand for handling the dry ingredients and a second hand for the wet layer. Fry immediately after coating or you can get gooey results.

    • Start with plenty of coating for your items and don’t overcrowd the plates or shallow pans when breading. Make sure at least one of your layers has seasoning of salt/pepper/spices/dried herbs but not all of them as it is easy to over-season.

  • Choose a fat with a neutral flavor such as canola oil, vegetable oil, safflower oil or peanut oil. Butter will work as well but the item must cook very quickly over medium heat to avoid scorching the butter.

  • Starting an item at medium-high heat and lowering it after browning will prevent overcooking or scorching but lowering it too much will yield soggy results. The oil should continue to bubble after lowering the temperature. To see if it the oil is hot enough before cooking, drop in a small ball of batter (you probably have some sticking to your fingers!) if it sizzles, it’s probably good to go. If it doesn’t wait a bit to allow the oil to reach a proper temperature.

  • Don’t overcrowd the pan; it’s better to pan-fry in batches. Overcrowding causes the items to stick together and can cause the oil to drop temperature too quickly, again with the sogginess problem.

  • Turn your items only once during the cook time to avoid disturbing the breading. You want to touch the food in the pan as little as possible as the tiny bits of breading that come off will start to burn and the oil takes on a slightly burnt taste. If you’re doing more than a couple of batches, make sure to strain out whatever blackened bits you can and add fresh oil if necessary (and bring back up to temperature) before adding the next batch.

  • Season with a bit of salt and pepper and serve as soon as possible to avoid sogginess.

What to pan-fry:

This is a tricky one because you want sturdy items that aren’t too juicy and cut to about an inch thick (you can your product smaller but keep a good eye on it because it will scorch and overcook VERY QUICKLY). Meats should be tender cuts and cut to about an inch thick to avoid having a crispy outside but a raw inside. Always use a thermometer for thicker cuts of meat to ensure a safe eating temperature.

Asparagus
Chicken – ask your farmer for tender cuts
Corn - fritters
Eggplant
Green Tomatoes
Kale and Collards – fritters
Mushrooms Okra
Onions
Pork – ask your farmer for tender cuts
Potatoes
Squash - summer
Sweet Potatoes

grilling

Grilling

Grilling usually involves a significant amount of direct, radiant heat, and tends to be used for cooking meat quickly. Fairly sturdy vegetables and fruits are also tasty grilled.

Tips and tricks for grilling:

  • Preheat your grill. Grill temperatures can range from 300°- 450° depending on the grill. It is easier to start with a very hot temperature to sear the item and get good caramelization and then move the item to a cooler part of the grill to get even cooking.
  • Marinating your item will keep it tender and moist and infuse it with flavor.
  • A chimney starter can help you get your fire going without the use of chemicals if you are not using a gas grill.
  • Use an instant-read thermometer to check the doneness of your meat items. Vegetables can often be checked with a fork to test for desired crispness.
  • Let finished meats rest on a clean platter for about 5-10 minutes to seal in juices.

Grill these goodies:

Asparagus
Beef – ask your farmer for tender cuts
Bok Choy (use a grill basket)
Broccoli (use a grill basket)
Cabbage (use a grill basket)
Cauliflower (use a grill basket)
Carrots
Chicken & other poultry
Corn
Eggplant
Figs (use a grill basket)
Garlic (use a grill basket)
Mushrooms
Okra
Onion
Peaches (use a grill basket)
Peppers
Persimmons (use a grill basket)
Pork – ask your farmer for tender cuts
Potatoes
Shrimp
Summer Squash
Tomatoes

deep frying

Deep Frying

Deep frying is a cooking method in which food is submerged in a hot fat, usually a high-smoke point oil such as vegetable, canola, peanut or safflower. Using a tender item usually has the best results as over-frying yields soggy, greasy product. You want to use an item that can cook quickly with a high heat.

Tips and tricks for deep-frying:

  • Use the appropriate amount of heat. Overheating the oil can cause the oil to smoke and the item to burn. Usually frying temperatures range from 325° - 375°F. A clip on thermometer is recommended but oil that is ready will bubble around the edges of a wooden stick when inserted (make sure it is DRY and CLEAN). If your oil starts to smoke it is too hot, remove the pan from the cooking surface very carefully and allow to cool.

  • Use a heavy-bottomed pot or deep sauté pan.

  • The temperature of the oil will drop when you add your item so make sure you only fry in small batches to avoid dropping the temperature too quickly. Dropping the temperature too quickly will result in greasy, uncooked items and longer reheat times.

  • Use a slotted spoon and lower in items gently to avoid hot oil splashes.

  • Drain your item on a paper-towel lined surface and season immediately with salt/pepper.

  • Dispose of oil properly:

    • Save your oil container and after cooling the oil to room temperature, use a fine mesh strainer to strain the oil back into its original container. Store in a cool, dark place or freeze for up to two months.

    • When oil is no longer usable, do not pour down sink! Seal tightly and throw it away or ask your county about proper disposal or biodiesel reuse.

     

Items at PRFM to deep-fry:

(Vegetables and shrimp are particularly good with a tempura batter or light breading, a heavier breading is good for chicken):

Asparagus
Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts
Cauliflower Chicken
Corn (think fritters)
Eggplant Kale (think more fritters!)
Mushrooms
Potatoes Shrimp
Summer Squash
Sunchokes Thin slices of root vegetables such as sweet potato or winter squash cut to about 1/4 inch thick.

broiling

Broiling

Broiling is a quick, high-heat cooking method associated with tender cuts of meat and quick cooking vegetables. Broilers are generally the same device that heats up your oven, often at the top of the oven, though in same cases the heating element is at the bottom of the oven and broiler can be in a separate drawer below the oven. The basic idea is to have the item about 3-5 inches from the surface of the broiling element and to cook the item until both sides have a crusty, caramelized, slightly charred exterior. Broilers often do not have a heat setting so get to know your broiler (a few slices of toast are a good way to see how hot the broiler gets, how evenly it cooks and how long to cook an item).

Tips and tricks to broiling:

  • Most broilers have only two settings: on or off! You simply set the oven to broil and let it go. If your oven gives you options, you'll have to play with it to see which settings are ideal for which circumstances. Turn on the broiler 5 or so minutes before cooking to give the oven (or broiler compartment) time to heat up - much like starting the grill and then lowering the lid.

  • Take a look at the heating element on your broiler when you use it for the first time. You may need to rotate or flip the items to cook evenly.

  • Broiling is a quick cooking method. Most foods will be done in 5-10 minutes, after which it can quickly go from nicely seared to burned. You're really only cooking the outer surface of the food, this is why thin cuts of meat, quick-cooking fresh vegetables, and foods that fairly tender to start with are ideal for broiling.

  • If your food isn't done cooking, you can always put it in the oven for a few minutes to finish. And vice versa - you can cook food in the oven and then run it under the broiler at the very end to give it a nice crust or sear on the outside.

  • It's not strictly necessary to cook foods on a grated broiler pan. This pan allows air to circulate under the food, but you can accomplish the same effect by flipping the food partway through cooking. A pre-heated cast-iron skillet works well.

  • Leaving the oven or broiler compartment door partially ajar during cooking can also help. This keeps the cooking environment from getting too hot or steamy. Too hot and the broiler element could automatically shut off. Too steamy and the food won't develop a good caramelized crust.

  • To see more tips you can visit TheKitchn.com

Excellent broiling items available at market:

Asparagus
Broccoli
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Corn
Persimmons
Squash - Summer Tomatoes
Onions Tender, thin cuts of meat and shrimp– ask your farmer what is available!

braising

Braising

Braising is a combination cooking technique in which the main ingredient is seared, or browned in fat, and then simmered in liquid on low heat in a covered pot. Braising works on a variety of items and can be done on the stovetop in a Dutch oven, crock pot, sauté pan, pressure cooker or cast iron skillet or in the oven. Braising is a most effective way of cooking tougher pieces of meat, very sturdy root vegetables and involves cooking over high heat for a short period of time and low heat for a much longer period of time. Braising is a more difficult cooking method but gives excellent flavor and texture and uses ingredients that can be more cost effective such as tougher cuts of meat and often less expensive root vegetables such as onions, carrots and potatoes. The recipes frequently freeze well and a large amount can be made at once with little attention during the long, low-heat cook time, making it an ideal method for large families or cook ahead recipes.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Season the main ingredient with salt and pepper.

  2. Heat a few tablespoons of oil and/or butter in a heavy pan, cast iron skillet or Dutch oven.

  3. Sauté meat or vegetables in the pan on medium-high heat until the item browns.

  4. Deglaze the pan by pouring broth, beef/chicken/vegetable stock, wine or juice and scrape any brown bits that are stuck to the pan and stir.

  5. Add cooking liquid (water, stock, wine, juice or some combination) to the half-way point of the main ingredient.

  6. Cover and place the item on the middle of a rack in an oven that has been pre-heated to 250°-325° F. Or keep on the stove top over low heat (keep the liquid at just below a simmer – 200-212°F. Stove top cooking is recommended for smaller meat items or vegetables only).

  7. Cook until completely tender. This can range from 1 hour to 24 hours, depending on what you are cooking. Root vegetables will be closer to the 45 minute – 1 hour range while large meat items (brisket, whole pork butt, shortribs, and the like) may take much longer. Always check your recipe.

  8. Remove the pan from the oven and strain the meat and vegetables out of the liquid.

  9. Remove the excess fat floating in the liquid, and then reduce the sauce to desired thickness by cooking it down over low heat until it thickens to make a pan sauce. Or, make gravy by adding a mix of equal parts fat and flour (a roux).

Tips and tricks:

  • Season your cooking liquid with salt at the end ONLY. The liquid will reduce and can lead to a very high concentration of salt at the end.

  • Use at least one acidic liquid when stewing. Tomatoes, vinegar or wine help break down connective tissue and tenderize tougher meats.

Vegetables and meats that braise well:

Beef: top blade roast, chuck eye roast, ribs, brisket, shanks, short ribs, stew meat.
Pork: shoulder/butt, front hock, pork belly, spareribs, picnic ham/shoulder, baby back ribs, hock
Chicken: Whole chicken, skin on thighs and legs

Beets
Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Celery
Collards
Kale
Mushrooms
Onions
Peppers
Potatoes
Rutabagas
Sweet Potatoes
Squash – Summer & Winter
Tomatoes
Turnips

There are many recipes for braising for meats and vegetables and PRFM suggests these cookbooks for regionally available items and recipes, all available through the Cathedral of St. Philip Bookstore:

Bon Appetit, Y'all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking by Virginia Willis

New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers' Markets, Roadside Stands, & CSA Farm Boxes by Sheri Castle

New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen by Hugh Acheson

Summerland: Recipes for Celebrating with Southern Hospitality by Anne Quattrano

Your farmer is always a great source of information on how best to cook your market goodies or check out our recipes page!

boiling

Boiling

Boiling vegetables is an extremely simple method. There are a few key points to ensuring proper cooking methods and to keep as many nutrients in the product as possible. In general, boiling is one of the least flavorful ways to cook vegetables, we generally recommend a sautéing, braising baking or roasting to get the flavor from the caramelization process. However, for a low fat and easy cooking method, here are some guidelines for boiling.

Tips and Tricks to Boiling:

  • Wash the vegetables. Gently scrubbing the vegetables under lukewarm water is the best way to go.

  • Cut up the vegetables. The smaller the pieces, the faster they'll cook. That means less nutrient loss, but it also means that it's a little bit harder to get them to stay just a bit crisp. The pieces should be evenly-sized, so that they cook evenly. Otherwise, smaller pieces will be ready before bigger ones.

  • It's best to cut them not too long before you're ready to boil them, so that they stay fresher. You can also cut them ahead of time and keep them fresh in water, but that tends to make the vegetables a bit mushy and waterlogged.

  • No matter which vegetable you use, it's best to bring the water to boil before adding the vegetables. And if you cover the pot, the water will boil faster. If you add the vegetables when the water is already hot, you don't need to boil them as long, and you won't lose as many nutrients.

  • For green vegetables, you should use as much water as possible. The more water you use, the less it'll cool down when you add the vegetables. This is important for green vegetables, because it's best not to cover them when you boil them. Yes, it'll help the water get hotter faster, but it'll also cause the acids and chlorophyll in the boiling vegetables to react, and the veggies will lose their bright green color.

  • For any other vegetables, you should use as little water as possible – just enough to completely cover the veggies when you add them to the water. The less water you use, the less nutrient loss. And if you're not using green veggies, you can cover the pot to get the water boiling again really quickly.

  • A little bit of salt goes a long way when you're boiling vegetables. It serves two purposes.

    • Salt raises the boiling point of water. That means the water boils hotter, and cooks your vegetables faster. And that means less time in the water for your veggies.

    • The right amount of salt will enhance the vegetables' flavor. You don't want to use so much salt that they taste salty, but a bit will make the vegetables taste better. Half a teaspoon to a teaspoon of salt per quart of water will do the trick.

  • Bring the water to a boil before adding the salt. The water will boil a bit more vigorously for a second when you do, but it'll ensure that the salt is dissolved right away. If you add it before boiling, it could deposit on the bottom. Depending on what your pot is made of, the salt could react with it and discolor it.

Instructions for boiling:

  1. Add the vegetables to the boiling water.

  2. Bring the water temperature back up.

    • For green vegetables, leave the pot uncovered and keep the heat high. It'll help preserve the green color.

    • For other vegetables, cover the pot. You can reduce the heat, so long as the water stays at a boil.

  3. Cook the vegetables until they're done. Depending on what vegetables you used and how big the pieces are, it'll take more or less time. The best way to tell if they're done is to taste a piece every so often. Cook them to your desired doneness and don’t forget about them. There is nothing sadder than overcooked, mushy vegetables.

  4. Remove the vegetables from the water. You can take them out with a slotted spoon, or drain the water out of the pot using a colander.

    • If you're not serving the vegetables right away, you can immerse them in ice water for a few seconds (similar to blanching). That'll stop the cooking process, so that they don't become overcooked after you take them out of the water. To reheat them, immerse them in boiling water for a few seconds.

     

Vegetables that can be boiled:

Asparagus
Beans
Beets
Bok Choy
Broccoli Brussels sprouts
Cabbage
Carrots
Collards
Corn Kale
Kohlrabi
Peas
Potatoes
Rutabagas Sunchokes
Sweet Potatoes
Squash – Summer & Winter
Turnips

Blanching

Blanching

Blanching is the process of scalding vegetables in boiling or steaming water for a short time and then rapidly cooling them in an ice bath. Blanching helps retain the flavor, color and texture of vegetables that you plan to freeze or are designed to be eaten cooked but cooled as in a salad.

Basic Blanching Method:

  1. Place water in a large pot and bring it to a rolling boil. Use a gallon of water per pound of vegetables, or approximately 2 cups of prepared vegetables.

  2. Clean and cut vegetables as needed.

  3. Prepare an ice bath. An ice bath is a large container filled with about the same ratio of water to ice.

  4. Place vegetables in a wire basket or the perforated blancher insert and immerse in boiling water. The water should return to a boil within one minute. If it takes longer to boil, vegetables will taste soggy. Cook in batches to avoid overcrowding.

  5. Cover and start counting blanching time as soon as water returns to a boil.

  6. Keep on high heat for the time given in the directions; see below.

  7. Cool immediately in ice water for the same time used in blanching (corn-on-the-cob takes twice as long). Stir vegetables gently several times in the ice water bath during cooling so they cool evenly.

  8. Drain vegetables thoroughly.

Blanching times for items you may find at Peachtree Road Farmers Market:

Vegetable Blanching time (minutes)

Asparagus – small stalk (pencil width) - 2
Asparagus – medium stalk (permanent marker) - 3
Asparagus – large stalk (kid’s marker) - 4
Beans – snap, green, or wax - 3
Broccoli florets 1 ½ inches across - 3
Broccoli florets – (steamed) - 5
Brussels sprouts – small heads - 3
Brussels sprouts – medium heads - 4
Brussels sprouts – large heads - 5
Cabbage or Chinese cabbage – shredded - 1 ½
Cabbage or Chinese cabbage – wedges - 3
Carrots – small, whole - 5
Carrots – diced, sliced, or lengthwise strips - 2
Cauliflower (flowerets, 1 inch across) - 3
Celery - 3
Corn-on-the-cob – small ears* - 7
Corn-on-the-cob – medium ears * - 9
Corn-on-the-cob – large ears* - 11
Corn – whole kernel or cream style (ears blanched before cutting corn from the cob) – 4
Eggplant - 4
Greens – collards – 3
Greens – all other- 2
Kohlrabi – whole - 3
Kohlrabi – cubes - 1
Mushrooms – whole (steamed) - 9
Mushrooms – buttons or quarters (steamed) - 9
Mushrooms – slices (steamed) - 5
Okra – small pods - 3
Okra – large pods - 4
Onions (blanch until center is heated) - 3 to 7
Onion rings - 10 to 15 seconds
Parsnips - 3
Peas – edible pod - 2 to 3
Peas – green - 1 ½ - 2 ½
Peppers, sweet – strips or rings - 3
Potatoes – Irish (new) - 3 to 5
Rutabagas - 3
Turnips - 3

* Cooling time for corn-on-the-cob is twice the time of blanching.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Start an ice bath before you put the vegetables in the boiling water.

  • Keep an eye on the color of your vegetables, if they start to change dramatically, cool them immediately.

  • A properly blanched vegetable is brightly colored all the way through, when sliced with a knife. It can be helpful to try a small amount of product first, just as a trial to measure appropriate cook times.

  • This preparation is helpful if you wish to preserve your farm-fresh veggies by freezing methods. (Check the freezing methodology here.)

baking/roasting

Baking/Roasting

Baking/roasting is a cooking method in which dry heat is applied evenly in an oven. Baking and roasting is an excellent technique for tougher cuts of meat and thicker, fibrous vegetables such as root vegetables.

Baking hints and tips:

  • Use an appropriate temperature. Check your recipe or similar recipes to what you want to bake/roast to make sure the temperature is appropriate. Sturdy vegetables like carrots, broccoli or cauliflower, and potatoes often cook low and slow and are coated with some form of fat (olive oil, vegetable oil, butter) to keep in moisture. Thicker root vegetables will often roast at about 375 - 400°F for 30 – 60 minutes or until fork tender.

  • Double check the timing, especially for delicate items like kale and fruits. A quick visual inspection can be a good guide, as the outside of the product starts to brown, check the doneness of the inside with a fork test.

  • To avoid drying out your veggies a protective layer of butter or oil can slow the loss of moisture as well as providing flavor and additional browning.

Vegetables and fruits that are delicious baked/roasted:

Apples
Asian Pears
Asparagus
Beets
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Carrots
Cauliflower
Celery
Corn
Eggplant
Fennel
Figs
Garlic
Kale
Kohlrabi
Mushrooms
Onions
Peaches
Pecans
Peppers
Potatoes
Radishes
Summer Squash
Sweet Potatoes
Winter Squash
Tomatoes
Turnips

Meats available at market that are delicious roasted:

Beef

Chicken

Pork

Lamb

There are many cooking techniques for meats and PRFM suggests these cookbooks for regionally available items and recipes, some available through the Cathedral of St. Philip Bookstore:

Bon Appetit, Y'all: Recipes and Stories from Three Generations of Southern Cooking by Virginia Willis

New Southern Garden Cookbook: Enjoying the Best from Homegrown Gardens, Farmers' Markets, Roadside Stands, & CSA Farm Boxes by Sheri Castle

New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen by Hugh Acheson

Summerland: Recipes for Celebrating with Southern Hospitality by Anne Quattrano

Your farmer is always a great source of information on how best to cook your market goodies or check out our recipes page!