It’s hard enough for many folks to include vegetables in their diet. Add to that the penance-level approach many take to vegetable consumption (only raw and the less seasoning the better), and they might be hard-pressed to understand why anyone could eat vegetables for pleasure.
I’m not here to knock raw veggie consumption. I just love to cook, to find ways to marry various flavors, and to savor the end product. I also like to share, so I want even the most ardent vegetable and fruit hater to be surprised by the spectacular gift that plant-based dishes offer. If prepared correctly, produce will not only contain body-healing properties, but they’ll taste great.
In my quest to improve my vegetable and fruit prep lot, this week I researched key ways to kill the flavor in produce. One of the major culprits in ruining produce flavor and texture comes from refrigeration. Why go through all the trouble of buying great produce and then preparing your favorite plant-based dishes only to undermine work by damaging your ingredients before they even make it to the pot or pan?
Don’t worry. Not all produce needs to hang out on your counter until you get around to cooking them. Below I’ve included three kinds of fresh produce you should consider not refrigerating.
1. Tomatoes: If you don’t already know, a refrigerated tomato tastes gross. Its flesh can crystalize from the cold or, just as bad, the flesh can go mushy. I’m gagging just remembering all the times I’ve eaten mushy tomatoes from low-end salad bars. Don’t do it! The best tomatoes are local varieties purchased during the summer months, but even if you’re buying fresh tomatoes on the winter solstice, refrigerating them will worsen their flavor. Here’s a video on ways to store your fresh tomatoes, san fridge.
2. Potatoes: Sadly I’ve cut back on my white potato consumption, but when I do eat them, I want to get the most of their flavor. Refrigerating the potato will break down its starch into a sugar. With that sweetness comes a gritty texture. People (you, if you’re a potato gardener!) work hard to get the dirt off your potatoes before you eat them, so don’t thumb your nose at their efforts by cooking with gritty-textured potatoes. It’s not enough to forego the refrigerator with potatoes. Potatoes need to be stored in a darkened room. If they’re exposed to light for extended periods of time, potatoes can turn green. Green potatoes = toxins, so keep those potatoes in the dark until they’re ready to be sacrificed for your dinner.
3. Onions: Similar to tomatoes, onion flesh turns mushy if kept at refrigerator-level temperatures. Worse, they mold more quickly. Similar to potatoes, keep uncut onions away from direct sunlight.
What vegetables or fruits would you never sacrifice to the refrigerator gods?