I like almost every vegetable, the only thing that gives me the Heeby Jeebies is doing un-natural things with them, a good example is adding sugar to sweet corn, quite why anyone would do that boggles my mind, but people do.

I spar with my wife on the subject of vegetables pretty much every day. She pretty much hates all of them.

A great example is Peas. Small green sweet orb’s that are yum. My dad grew them in the garden. As a kid I would grab a pod from the vine, pop it open and munch on the little green spheres.

There are essentially three ways to deal with vegetables, fresh, frozen, and canned. There is no doubt in my mind the best way to enjoy them is fresh. Even fresh has a pecking order, fresh out the garden is best, a farmers market is second, and the supermarket comes in third. A great example is the lowly Tomato, There is a distinct smell and taste to one picked straight from the vine, that is missing in one bought from the store.

My father was an avid gardener, in fact it was a rare event for us to by any vegetables from the store. He grew tomatoes in a ‘green house’, the pungent aroma was intoxicating.

Back to peas, they were a early summer staple, nothing beats a Sunday lunch of roast lamb, baby potatoes, sweet young peas , gravy and of course mint sauce. Even the mint was fresh from the garden.

It is rare to see fresh young peas in the supermarket, occasionally you can find some big old podded monsters but I don’t like them. So the story with peas is grow them at home, or buy frozen. They are not as good as fresh but certainly are way better than anything found in a can. My wife on the other hand will only eat canned peas, Lesueur brand to be precise.

These dull colored peas have no flavor, OK thats not true, they do have a taste but it is not of Peas, it is of preservatives and metal, as all canned food has.

Well there is one type of canned pea that I used to enjoy in the UK, they are known a Mushy Peas, although I believe the official name is Marrowfat peas. These were a stable at all Fish and Chip shops.

They apparently do not appeal to the American palate, as I have yet to encounter them this side of the pond. They have a unique taste. Great with Fish and Chips  But they are far from Fine Dining.

Other than Mushy Peas, under no circumstance would I eat peas out of a can.

If you are using Frozen, the key (as with every vegetable) is not to overcook them. 4 or 5 mins in a small pan of salted boiling water is way enough. Drain them return them to the pan with some butter and you are good to go.

Lets move on to Green Beans. Once again, there is no option, fresh is best, frozen is OK, and Canned should stay in the can.

The trick with Green Beans is how they are cut. The cut determines the flavor (or lack thereof). The two types are called whole cut and french cut.

Whole cut

French cut

The difference in flavor is all to do with the skin on the outside, and the cooking surface.

When I was younger every $1 store potato peeler came equipped with a bean frencher.

Alas that is no longer the case. I did find one on Ebay, but $11 seems a little excessive for something I would use once, and get ‘put away’ by my wife never to be seen again. (At least three Potato Mashers have disappeared). I generally opt for frozen french cut. And it is a dark day that I would use canned Green Beans in a recipe that I cared about. Like all green vegetables in a can, they lose that bright green color so that makes them visually unappealing as well. As boring to taste.

Just look at the color, I know I don’t want these in my mouth.

Lets talk Carrots, Fresh, they come in three sizes, small, medium and large.

Home grown baby carrots, freshly pulled and washed. variety Amsterdam Forcing.

Baby carrots are irresistible, as I child I would pick them from the garden, wipe the dirt off with my shirt and eat them raw. These days it is a quick trip to the boiling water, drained, and butter (not margarine) salt and pepper, and off to the world of yum we go.

Don’t get fooled in the supermarket. these are not Baby Carrots

I found this online

Medium carrots can also be a hit by turning then into matchsticks and giving them the same scorch and butter treatment.

Big carrots I love for stews. A big carrot has a huge amount of flavor, and it can spend many happy hours cooking. Big means bold, Slice an inch long.

Yes I have seen frozen carrots, and Canned ones. But the question is why would anyone buy them? This is a year round veg at the supermarket, and as the Russians would say Cheap like Borscht. But thats the subject of another article.

More soon, when you see that vendor on the side of the road, stop. You never know what treasures await you. In fact that has reminded me of a great Scallion tale from three years ago.

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