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Mar 29, 2009 12:07 AM

trouble sweating vegetables

its kinda hit or miss with onions and really hard on heartier vegs like carrots. how do you sweat your veggies? i know low heat..i've done this but i usually find them showing a little char after 5 minutes. i wonder if i shouldn't stir the veggies when i throw them in there at first. i have a feeling that stirring them reduces the amount of oil in contact with the food and pan. does this cause burning. should i possibly use more oil or how about an oil with a lower smoke point than extra virgin olive.

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  1. I actually stir quite often when sweating aromatics.

    And, it still sounds like the heat in your pan is still too high, esp. if your veggies are showing char after 5 minutes.

    Since you will be sweating the vegetables over very low heat, you can use a fat with a low smoking point like butter or extra virgin olive oil.

    1. What ipsedixit said. And most of the time the pan is covered.

      1. i put a lid on my veggies when sweating- the moisture limits burning and allows the flavor to be leached out of veggies, not locked in.

        Also i recommend a heavier pan, if you have pots (i.e. the dreaded Revereware) have a tendency to scorch no matter how low you go.

        1 Reply
        1. re: sixelagogo

          old revereware was better and heavier. i have several pieces that i routinely use. but for sweating, i use my all-round non-stick chicken fryer pan, at medium low, with neutral or evoo. stirring every now and then.

          1. Smoke point extra virgin olive oil 320° - 375° F. depending on quality.
            Butter smokes around 350° F.

            Turn down the heat if your veg is browning.

            Being hygroscopic, salt will help pull the moisture from the vegetables you are sweating. Covering the pan with a lid will help keep the moisture in the pan, that's where we want it. Lacking a lid for the pan, aluminum foil can be put right on top of whatever it is your sweating.

            Most of all... Take your time and don't sweat it.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Demented

              Ha! Demented said don't sweat it!

              I use low heat and ignorance. Yup- try to ignore them (they are boring and take a while so this is easy to do) and let them get all shvitzy under the lid or no lid, either way. I don't move them around too much, they don't char unless I try and do like 1/2 an onion in a big hurry- then it's not happening, they will pick up color (not a big deal to me).

              1. re: Boccone Dolce

                LOL, I was sure someone would get it!

                Good point, put the pan on low heat and walk away.

                1. re: Demented

                  >>>>I was sure someone would get it<<<<

                  d -- you're surprised?

                  1. re: Demented

                    Pan on low, heavy pan, stir just a couple of times, a little salt but I don't use a lid. But very low is a key and stir when you first put them into cover everything. You should have to use that much oil. I mix butter and olive but again low. And all veggies should be cut in similar sizes.