While I always enjoy adding a side of vegetables to my meals — healthy and delicious! — there’s one thing I can’t stand: mushy veggies. If I wanted a mouthful of mush, I’d make mashed potatoes (which I love!). But when it comes to more watery veggies like zucchini, they tend to come out soggy and a bit bland no matter how I prepare them. Luckily, I recently found a genius hack that both seasons watery vegetables and keeps them crisp yet tender!
The tip comes from Americas’s Test Kitchen, and it’s super simple — though it does take a bit of extra time. Basically, veggies like zucchini, cucumber, tomato, and celery have a high water content. In fact, they contain over 90 percent water! That often makes them great for salads or meals that need a little more moisture, but they can be a pain to cook on their own if all you want is a crispy vegetable. To combat that, give them a good salt bath before cooking.
How To Make Perfectly Tender-Yet-Crisp Vegetables
First, wash your veggies, then chop them into the desired shape and thickness. Then put them into a colander, place the colander inside a larger bowl, and spread salt over the veggies. You can use anywhere between half to one teaspoon for every pound of vegetables you have — it simply depends how much moisture you want to take out, and how seasoned you prefer your vegetables.
Let the salt sit on your veggies for between 30 minutes and four hours, depending on the consistency you’re going for. The moisture should start building on the outside of your veggies pretty quickly, likely in the first five or ten minutes. This will help you get a sense of how much water is being extracted, and when to take them out.
Once they’ve reached their desired texture, press the veggies dry with paper towels. It’s important not to rinse them! This will add more water and take away any seasoning the vegetables soaked in. When you’re ready, simply cook them according to your desired method. The end result will be more savory, and less mushy. Success!
Not sure what to do with leftovers? Take a look at our guide to reheating roasted veggies. Either way, enjoy your perfectly cooked vegetables!