Culinary Sense

Adventures with Food and Life

It’s all about the veggies…

Hey Peeps!

Today was the last day of my cooking theory and food science class. 😦 I’m sad I won’t be able to learn with this chef anymore, it’s been so much fun. Plus, getting all the basics is really cool! Next week on Monday and Wednesday, I have my final exams, so wish me luck!!! Monday is the practical, and Wednesday is the written exam. I’ll probably have one or two more posts before that about protein cookery.

But first: experiments with vegetables. In this class, we had 16 different vegetables that we boiled in four different liquids: plain water, salty water, water with baking soda (alkali liquid), and water with white wine vinegar (acidic water).

Chef Emma distributes vegetables onto three sheet trays.

Coloring in vegetables comes from three different kinds of pigmentation: chlorophyll (green), flavonoids (red, purple, white), and carotenoids or carotenes (orange, yellow). We used the following vegetables in our experiment: mushroom, cauliflower, rutabaga, parsnip, eggplant, red cabbage, red beet, carrot, asparagus, swiss chard, corn, broccoli, red pepper, fennel, sweet potato, and zucchini.

Sorting vegetables into different groups based on coloring.

Flavenoids - red, purple, white (here we have red beet, swiss chard, red pepper, red cabbage)

We split into three groups and separated the vegetables into groups based on what color they were, and then boiled them for three minutes each in those groups. Then, we laid them on a sheet tray with parchment paper marked up into different groups.

Mushroom and cauliflower.

Swiss chard, red pepper, red cabbage, and red beet boiling in water.

Alkali water after all the veggies boiled in it.

Marked up parchment paper.

Look at the red cabbage! Crazy colors came out.

The final product.

We ran out of time, and couldn’t discuss our findings as a group, but here is a table I put together of my group’s findings (see below). The most exciting for me was the alkali liquid. It basically destroyed anything we put in there, and brought out some crazy colors.

~ Carolynn

Chlorophyll Flavonoids Carotene
Salt Bright green, more done than neutral, but still firm Color of red cabbage is bluish purple Bright, slightly more cooked
Acid looks gross and overcooked, but soft Turns red cabbage pale pink Color bleached out
Alkali Destroys texture, still green Turns red cabbage green-blue, teal color; beet looks very dark; kale looks darker Brings out orange
Neutral Bright green and firm Bluish purple cabbage Firm, bright color

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