Cook Vegetables In Sparkling Water To Retain Their Vibrant Colors

Since we eat with our eyes first, it's ideal to make a meal as aesthetically pleasing as it is tasty. Filling your dish with cooked vegetables is a quick way to produce a nutrient-dense, flavorful meal with ingredients in all colors of the rainbow — but if your produce becomes dull during steaming or boiling, it can look less than appetizing when it comes time to dig in.

To keep this from happening, forgo the tap water you usually cook your veggies in and reach for sparkling water instead. The bubbles will keep their color nice and vivid, almost as if you blanched them. But unlike with blanching, you'll still be able to fully cook your produce. How does this work? Fizzy water slows down the vegetables' oxidizing, which is the reaction that causes them to turn brown. And that's not all — using sparkling water instead of regular will keep them crunchy instead of mushy, due to the bubbles expanding when exposed to high temperatures and creating an airy consistency. This liquid swap can even help your veggies retain their vitamins and minerals, and because of all the bicarbonate in seltzer water, you can typically add less salt to your pot.

How to cook veggies in sparkling water

If you want to swap out your tap water for sparkling when cooking your veggies, it couldn't be easier. But first, make sure you're choosing the right type of liquid — not club soda, which has added minerals, and not tonic water, which includes sugar and will significantly alter the taste of your dish. You can buy bottles of seltzer water at the grocery store, or use a SodaStream or something similar to make your own at home.

If you're boiling your veggies, simply bring your seltzer water to a boil and immerse your produce. While it can take up to 15 minutes to cook some vegetables this way, like carrots and pumpkin, it should only take about five minutes in sparkling water since the fizz will naturally make them more tender. Plus, you won't need to halt their cooking with an ice bath afterward. Keep in mind, however, that your bubbly liquid will likely generate a lot of foam when it first heats up, although this should dissipate quickly. If you're choosing to steam your vegetables over a pot of boiling water, you may want to wait for the fizz to die down before plopping the steamer on top. A few minutes later, you should get bright, shiny veggies, tender and ready to eat.