^^^egetables were, at one time, abused and neglected, relegated to the minor role of unimportant side dishes, to be taken or left, or not even noticed on the table.

Today, however, lowly vegetables are much more appreciated, not only for their nutritional importance but for the variety, flavor, eye appeal, and even elegance and sophistication they bring to the menu. Modern cooks owe it to themselves and their customers to treat vegetables with understanding, respect, and imagination.

Because they are so perishable, vegetables require extra care from receiving to service. Freshness is their most appealing and attractive quality, and one must be especially careful to preserve it. The goals of proper vegetable cookery are to preserve and enhance fresh flavor, texture, and color, to prepare and serve vegetables that are not just accepted but sought after.

After reading this chapter, you should be able to

1. Describe the factors that influence texture, flavor, color, and nutritional changes when cooking vegetables.

2. Cook vegetables to their proper doneness.

3. Judge quality in cooked vegetables based on color, appearance, texture, flavor, seasonings, and appropriateness of combination with sauces or other vegetables.

4. Perform pre-preparation tasks for fresh vegetables.

5. Calculate yields based on trimming losses.

6. Determine the quality of frozen, canned, and dried vegetables.

7. Prepare vegetables using the batch cooking method and the blanch-and-chill method.

8. Store fresh and processed vegetables.

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