Monday, September 11, 2006

Making Do on Mondays: save those vitamins!

I steam lots of vegetables during my week. I steam carrots and green beans, purple cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower, beets and more. I save them and keep them in the fridge to add to veggie stir-fry. I eat some of these for lunch, cooled, with my salad dressing mixed in... add some roasted sunflower seeds and cottage cheese and this makes an excellent nutrient-rich cold salad along with the protein. Fresh bread on the side goes well, too. The steamed carrots and green beans are perfect soft foods for my 1-year-old to eat by himself, as they are too tough for him to manage yet in their raw form.

There is also an art to steaming which is esssential if you want to keep as many of the vitamins as possible. Whenever you cook a vegetable, you are decreasing the vitamin and nutrient value of the food. So don't oversteam them! Steam them JUST long enough to get them on the soft side. -Usually this is when you can insert a fork into the vegetable easily but when the color is MOST vibrant and bright. If you catch it too late, you have over-soft veggies and a not-so nice color left in the lovely veggie. They lose their bright color and greens start to look more brown... no wonder kids don't want to eat their steamed veggies! They look totally unappetizing! So catch them when their colors are still beautiful and you may find that your child is more drawn to them because of their brightness. Also, then your family is getting more vitamins out of the veggies.

Also, save any peels that you can. I try not to peel any vegetables unless they are heavily sprayed. -And when you prepare the veggies for cooking or eating fresh, don't chop off a whole inch of the "end" where it met the stem or root or whatever! Most of the vitamins are in the skins and the ends. Instead of chopping off and peeling the best parts, cut away a minimal amount and scrub the vegetables well with a vegetable scrubber or a sponge.

Here's the real reason I was going to write about steaming vegetables today: DON'T DUMP THAT STEAM-WATER DOWN THE DRAIN! Instead of emptying your pot of that colored steam-water when you're done steaming your vegetables, set it aside and pour it into a jar when it is not as hot. Label the jar "Steam Juice" and keep it in the fridge. Or, pour it into a plastic sealed container, label it, and keep it in the freezer. Why? You can add all that precious vitamin-rich steam water to your soups. -No need to make or buy "stock" or "broth"... Just add these flavorful colorful juices from all your summer steaming to your winter soups.

*My mother saves all of her chicken-stock, too. After boiling the chickens in a large pot of water, she removes the cooked chickens and simmers the "chicken water" for hours, adding peppercorns, all her vegetable peels, carrot ends, and anything else she has on the side left over from preparation.. She then strains the flavorful broth into a jar or large container and saves it for the same purpose.

~Sia in Vancouver, WA

It does also comes to mind at this moment that it is September 11th, which marks the day of the tragic event in NY 5 years ago. Please say a little prayer for all the families who have lost loved oned or who were involved. We can only imagine the pain of the mothers of all the people who died!


one of us :: 7:46 AM :: 0 Comments