The Secrets of Fast Cooking: Fruits and Vegetables

Follow these tips to get a healthy, vegetable-filled dinner on the table fast.

Potatoes They won’t burst if you salt the water they are cooked in. The skin is easy to remove if you peel them after they’re cooked. Choose new potatoes when they are in season and you won’t have to peel them at all. To give mashed potato a quick lift, add a pinch of grated nutmeg and a pinch of baking powder.

Garlic Cloves of garlic can be easily peeled if you place them in the microwave oven for 15 seconds. Avoid frying garlic at a temperature that’s too high, otherwise it will become scorched and bitter.

Quick tip: To get rid of garlic breath, chew on fresh parsley, mint, or lemon or orange peels.

Onions To avoid tears, peel them under cold water and cut them next to cold running water. You can also put them in the freezer for a few moments before cutting them. To make onions brown faster, without burning, sprinkle them with sugar.

Green beans Boil them for 2 minutes before peeling them and the strings will come off instantly.

Peppers To remove the skin, cook them under a hot grill until they go brown, then put them in a closed plastic or paper bag and allow to cool – the skin will simply pull away.

Tomatoes To remove the skin quickly and easily, stand them in boiling water for a few seconds.

Lemon or orange juice Heat lemons and oranges in a microwave oven for 15 seconds before squeezing and you’ll extract more juice.

Oranges and grapefruits If you soak these citrus fruits for at least 5 minutes in boiling water, the skin and the white pith can be removed much more easily.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest