Average Chemical Composition Of Vegetables

Refuse

Water

Protein

Fat

Carbohydrates

Ash

Fuel val

Per

Per

Per

Per

Per

Per

per lb.

Cent.

Cent.

Cent.

Cent.

Cent.

Cent.

Calories.

Asparagus

94.0

1.8

.2

3.3

.7

105

Beans, Butter, green

50.

29.4

4.7

.3

14.6

1.0

370

Beans, dried

12.6

22.5

1.8

59.6

3.5

1.605

Beans, Lima dried

10.4

18.1

1.5

65.9

4.1

1.625

Beans, Lima, fresh

55.0

30.8

3.2

.3

9.9

.8

255

Beans, String, fresh

7.0

83.0

2.1

.3

6.9

.7

180

Beets, fresh

20.0

70.0

1.3

.1

7.7

.9

170

Cabbage, fresh

15.0

77.7

1.4

.2

4.8

.9

125

Carrots, fresh

20.0

70.6

.9

.2

7.4

.9

160

Cauliflower, fresh

92.3

1.8

.5

4.7

.7

140

Celery

75.6

.9

.1

2.6

.8

70

Corn, green

61.0

29.4

1.2

.4

7.7

.3

180

Cucumbers

15.0

81.1

.7

.2

2.6

.4

70

Eggplant, edible portion

92.9

1.2

.3

5.1

.5

130

Lentils, dried

8.4

25.7

1.0

59.2

5.7

1.620

Lettuce

15.0

80.5

1.0

.2

2.5

.8

75

Mushrooms

88.1

3.5

.4

6.8

1.2

210

Okra

78.9

1.4

.2

6.5

.5

155

Onions, fresh

78.9

1.4

.3

8.9

.5

205

Parsnips

66.4

1.3

.4

10.8

1.1

240

Peas, green

45.0

40.8

3.6

.2

9.8

.6

255

Potatoes, fresh

20.0

62.6

1.8

.1

14.7

.8

310

Potatoes, Sweet, fresh

20.0

55.2

1.4

.6

21.9

.9

460

Spinach

92.3

2.1

.3

3.2

2.1

110

Squash

50.0

44.2

.7

.2

4.5

.4

105

Tomatoes, fresh

94.3

.9

.4

3.9

.5

105

Turnips

30.0

62.7

.9

.1

5.7

.6

125

The vegetarian society will not have existed in vain, if it does nothing more than teach a goodly number of housewives how to cook vegetables properly and in more ways than one, viz: simply boiled and buttered. For this branch of cookery is much neglected. It is safe to say that not more than one family in twenty, and perhaps not in fifty, ever cook celery, save in soup, or squash and turnip other than as plain boiled or mashed, while potatoes are either plain boiled, boiled and mashed, or fried.

In the cooking of vegetables the economical and thrifty housekeeper can find fit place for the expression of her genius. The flavor of meat is a pleasing one, but meat in roasts and broiling pieces is the most expensive and not infrequently the least satisfactory item of food that is purchased. The French or Italian housekeeper, with small expenditure of money, adds meat flavor to the cooked vegetables - beans, cabbage, cauliflower, macaroni, rice, etc., and thus renders a cheap though nutritious food palatable. Cheese also combines well with many vegetables as it does also with grains and macaroni. This making of inexpensive food materials appetizing is the one great end in cookery that the American cook needs to attain.

It will be seen by the analyses given at the head of the chapter that many of the fresh vegetables do not possess a high food value, but they are very valuable at all seasons on account of the saline elements which they contain, and in the summer season, when the heat of the body needs to be regulated, they provide for the system large sources of pure water. Different vegetables possess different saline elements, all of which are needed by the system, and each vegetable in season should be given a place on the table.

In hot houses lighted by electric lights, market gardeners can transform the short, dark days of the winter solstice into long, light, and growing days - such as are needed for the rapid growth of plant and vegetable. Still, there are but few forced vegetables and fruits that possess the genuine flavor of those that are grown in the natural manner. As a rule, when food is most cheap and plentiful, it is at its best; out of season, it is expensive and lacking in flavor and quality. In the early spring, the provident housekeeper will still make use, to a great extent, of such vegetables and fruits as are seasonable throughout the year, together with such dried articles as she has found most wholesome and palatable, ever bearing in mind how "all things come to him who will but wait." On account of their tough cellular structure, by far the greater number of vegetables are eaten cooked. Their digestibility depends upon the degree of tenderness that can be given to their cellular tissue. Of course, the quantity and toughness of cellulose in vegetable products depend much upon the kind of plant, the soil, and the season in which it is grown; but under the most favorable cultivation this framework cannot be entirely eliminated, so that, first of all, thorough cooking, by which it is softened, is enjoined; soft water is an aid in this process, and, where this is not at hand, the solvent property of the water may be enhanced by the use of a few grains of cooking soda. This addition is less objectionable in the case of strong-juiced vegetables, like cabbage and onions, cooked in a large quantity of water to lessen the disagreeable flavor or constituents (as sulphur), and from which the water is to be carefully drained before serving. Quite a different plan should be pursued with the sweet-juiced vegetables, as peas and young beans. Of these soda would destroy the delicate green color, while salt would intensify it; little salt, however, should be used, as the water, in which these vegetables are cooked, holds in solution much of the sweet juices and mineral salts, their most valuable constituents, and should be retained for serving with them.

Rapid cooking is desirable for strong-juiced vegetables, while a gentle simmering is preferable for the sweet-juiced varieties. When the vegetable is to be dressed with butter, the heat of the vegetable should be sufficient to melt the butter.