While vegetables are not, as some suppose, the chief article of a vegetarian diet, they form an important part of it, supplying the bulk so necessary to good digestion, as well as the mineral elements. One writer says, "Nearly all vegetables are blood purifiers; they dissolve other food and greatly assist digestion.'
Vegetables should be used soon after gathering, as they begin to ferment and lose their wholesomeness as well as flavors very shortly.
As a rule put vegetables to cooking in boiling water, and bring to the boiling point again as quickly as possible.
Cook green vegetables in salted water to preserve their shape and color. A lump of white sugar in the saucepan is said to preserve the color also, or a few drops of lemon juice, or charcoal tied in muslin.
Cook roots and tubers in unsalted, and if possible soft water until tender or nearly so; then add the salt and let them boil up well.
If roots have become withered soak them in water as nearly ice cold as possible, for three or four hours or over night, before cooking.
Soak cauliflower and loose heads of cabbage in cold (not salted) water for an hour or more. Drain and shake gently to dislodge insects, if any.
Pare all vegetables except turnips, as thin as possible.
Turnips should be pared inside the dark line encircling them, or they will have a strong taste.
Parboiling leeks, onions, cabbage and old carrots renders them more digestible and more agreeable to some.
All vegetables will require longer cooking at great altitude.
Many vegetables are delightful to the cultivated taste served plain with Brazil or other nuts. Thus we get the benefit of the fine delicate flavors in the different foods instead of covering them up with sauces and dressings.
More elaborate dishes of vegetables are given among entrées.