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Cooking For Health - Cooking Tubers

( Originally Published 1927 )

Potatoes should not be cooked in grease, for that makes them difficult to digest. Nor should they be peeled and cooked in water, for that deprives them of much food value. Nor should they be peeled and soaked in cold water, for a large part of the food value and some of the natural salts are then left in the water.

Baking: Clean the potato well, place in moderate oven and let bake until a fork can be run into the potato with ease. Some potatoes are too watery for baking purposes. Dress with dairy butter or nut butter, and a moderate amount of salt if desired. Those who like the jacket may eat it.

Boiling potatoes: Clean well, place in boiling water, in the jacket, and cook until a fork can be run through the potato with ease. If the potatoes are too highly flavored, cut off one or both ends before placing in vessel.

Steaming, fireless cooking or pressure cooking: It makes little difference whether the potatoes are peeled or cooked in the jacket in these processes, for the salts and nourishing parts are not washed away. Steamed potatoes are very good. Potatoes rightly cooked digest easily.

German fries and French fries: Don't cook that way.

Sweet potatoes and root artichokes may be cooked like the Irish potato.

Hubbard squash is not a tuber, but it is a good food. Boil or steam or bake or cook in fireless cooker or pressure cooker until tender. For baking purposes, leave the peel on. In steaming peel or do not peel, as you please.

Boiling: This is the most common way to prepare succulent vegetables, and though it is all right when properly done, it is not the best way. Here is the correct way to boil vegetables:

Clean the vegetables, but do not soak them in water after they are peeled. Put into vessel and use enough water to keep them from burning, but not enough to have any left to throw away. Cook until tender, using very little salt. Serve vegetables with their share of the liquid. This liquid is to be eaten with the vegetables or in the form of soup. Do not throw it away, for it contains a large part of the natural salts and also of the nourishment.

Steaming: Clean the vegetables, and if necessary peel. Place in individual cup or bowl and put into steamer and keep them there until they are tender. Most vegetables need a little water in the bottom of the cooking vessel in which they are steamed. This liquid should be eaten with the vegetables. A good way is to serve the vegetable juices in individual cups as broth.

Fireless cooking or pressure cooking: Prepare as for steaming and allow the vegetables to remain in the cooker until they are done.

Dressings for cooked succulent vegetables: The simpler the dressings the better. Here are a few good dressings:

1. Moderate amount of salt.
2. Salt and butter.
3. Butter and nothing else.
4. Salt with olive oil, or peanut oil, or cotton-seed oil.
5. Some kind of salad oil and nothing else.
6. Plain cream, either sour or sweet.
7. Mayonnaise dressing.
8. No dressing at all.

Do not use the flour dressing, usually called cream dressing. Be sparing with the pepper. Lemon juice may be used in moderation.

Spinach is usually cooked wrong. Here is the correct way: Wash well and shake off excess of water in a clean cloth. Put about two tablespoonfuls of water in bottom of vessel and put in the spinach. Place over fire, and the spinach will wilt and cook in its own juice. Let cook slowly until tender, usually about fifteen minutes. Serve with its proportion of the juice, which is the best part of the spinach, though it may be highly flavored.

Spinach may be steamed.

Greens of all kinds: Cook like spinach, but add more water, and cook until tender. Some good greens are chard, turnip tops, young beet tops with or without the beets, mustard, dandelion and kale. Always serve the juice of the vegetables, whether boiled or steamed.

Tomatoes: Cook them in very little water and their own juice, but not with crumbs of bread and crackers.

Asparagus: Good steamed; or boil slowly.

Baking: Some vegetables are good baked. Onions, squash, red beets and sugar beets are among these.

Egg plant: Peel and cook like any other vegetable. They are good steamed. Peel, cut up and place in steamer and let the vegetable remain until tender, and then dress to suit taste.

Do not slice, roll in egg and cracker crumbs and fry.

Cabbage: Do not season while cooking. Simply cut into pieces of desired size and boil, or put into steamer, fireless cooker or pressure cooker until it is tender. Season when about ready to remove from fire. Cooked this way it is delicious and easy to digest. Never cook cabbage with pork or other meat, for then it is hard to digest.

Sauerkraut is fermented cabbage, put down in brine. It is not as good as fresh cabbage, but it is allowable. It should be cooked in plain water.

Casserole cooking is all right for vegetables, and other foods.

Vegetable soup: Take equal parts of from three to five succulent vegetables. Chop up and cook in plain water until tender. When done, add salt to taste and enough water to make of right consistency. Some milk may be added in place of the water, but not until the vegetables are done; also a little butter.

If one starchy ingredient, such as ripe peas or ripe beans or rice or barley or potato, is desired, it is all right.

Here is a sample soup : Equal parts of carrots, onions, celery, cabbage and potato chopped up; cook according to directions.

Purée is made by mashing the cooked vegetables and thinning to required consistency.

Waterless cooking: It is a good method, but a little slow. Directions come with the special thick-bottomed aluminum pans and pots used.

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