Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/918

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The time vegetables take to boil depends on their age. Young vegetables with tender fibres will, as a rule, cook in about 20 minutes, whereas those fully matured, and consequently containing a relatively larger amount of fibrous substance, will average no less than 40 minutes. The colour of green vegetables may be preserved by adding a little soda to the water in which they are boiled. The discoloration is due to hard water holding in solution a certain amount of lime, which is destroyed by the addition of a little soda, thereby softening the water and preserving the colour of the vegetables. As soon as the vegetables are sufficiently cooked they should be removed from the saucepan and drained, otherwise they absorb water, lose some of their flavour, and become discoloured.


All vegetables should be put into boiling water, to which salt should be added in the proportion of 1 tablespoonful to 2 quarts of water. The salt greatly improves the flavour of the vegetables, and it also raises the boiling point of the water, thus tending to preserve their colour. Plenty of water should be used for green vegetables, and a little soda to soften the water and counteract the hardening effect of the salt. All vegetables must be kept boiling, but Jerusalem artichokes, vegetable marrows, and others of a similar character, must be boiled more gently than cabbage and other greens, otherwise they may break. As soon as the vegetables are sufficiently cooked the water should be drained from them, for some are liable to break, and one and all become watery when kept in the water after they are done. They may, however, be covered with a cloth, and kept hot in a colander placed over an empty iron saucepan for a considerable time without injury.


The long, slow process of stewing is not often applied to green vegetables, for it would destroy their colour, but celery, celeriac, salsify, and cardons are frequently stewed, the method being peculiarly adapted to them when old. Very little stock or water should be used, and the vessel containing these vegetables must be kept closely covered to prevent the escape of the steam, which helps to cook them.

1435.—ARTICHOKES, BOILED. (Fr.Artichauts au Naturel.)

Ingredients.—2-3 Globe artichokes, salt, Hollandaise or other suitable sauce.