How to Keep Green Vegetables Bright Green
Have you ever made a big pot of greens, green beans, spinach or broccoli only to have it turn into a drab olive-green color? Not very appetizing, huh? Here’s how to keep your fresh green vegetables a bright green color!
Broccoli, asparagus, spinach, kale, collards, in fact, most green vegetables turn a drab olive green color upon cooking. Here’s why that happens and how to avoid it when preparing green vegetables.
All plants (fruits and vegetables) have pigments-it’s what gives them their vibrant colors. Chlorophyll, which is responsible for the green pigment in vegetables, is not very heat stable. The minute a green vegetable hits the hot water, organic acids are released from the vegetables. These acids react with the chlorophyll and turn the once beautiful green vegetable into a drab olive color. This is due to several factors:
- the amount of liquid
- degree of acidity and alkalinity
- the duration of cooking time
- oxygen: covered vs. uncovered
How to Cook Collard, Turnip and Mustard Greens
It is important to prep fresh greens with a good wash. Rinse fresh greens thoroughly a few times. Remove the center stemp and cut, or tear the remaining leaves into smaller pieces.
- The best way to prepare bright green vegetables is to ensure there is plenty of water.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of baking soda to 3 quarts of water. Add seasonings such as salt, pepper, bacon grease or a smoked hamhock.
- Bring water to a low, rolling boil on medium-high heat; add the greens. Leave the lid off for the first few minutes to allow the organic acids and gases to escape.
- Replace the lid and continue to cook on medium to medium-high heat until greens are tender (but not mushy,) with a mild crunch. Cooking greens in a lot of water, with a little baking soda, and for a short amount of time ensures bright greens every time.
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