The fiber structures of vegetables (including cellulose and pectins) give them shape and firmness. Cooking softens some of these components. The amount of fiber varies

1. In different vegetables. Spinach and tomatoes have less than carrots and turnips, for example.

2. In different examples of the same vegetables. Old, tough carrots have more fiber than young, fresh carrots.

3. In the same vegetable.The tender tips of asparagus and broccoli have less fiber than their tougher stalks.

Fiber is made firmer by

1. Acids.

Lemon juice, vinegar, and tomato products, when added to cooking vegetables, extend the cooking time.

2. Sugars.

Sugar strengthens cell structure.You will use this principle primarily in fruit cookery. For firm poached apples or pears, for example, cook in a heavy syrup. For applesauce, cook apples until soft before sweetening.

Fiber is softened by

In general, longer cooking means softer vegetables.

2. Alkalis.

Do not add baking soda to green vegetables. Not only does it destroy vitamins but it also makes the vegetables unpleasantly mushy.

Continue reading here: Starch

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