Vegetables need to be incorporated into any diet in order to receive the vital nutrients they contain. Often, vegetables are not eaten fresh. For convenience, frozen vegetables are often bought. But whether you have fresh or frozen vegetables, the nutrients they contain can be lost if certain cooking techniques are used. There are safe cooking techniques that can be used to preserve the vegetable nutrients.
When cooking vegetables, the preparation is also as important as the cooking. If vegetables are not properly prepared, the nutrient values can be compromised. When rinsing vegetables, cold water should always be used. Only thick skinned vegetables need to be scrubbed. If the vegetables need to be trimmed, it should be done as sparingly as possible. The leafy parts of the vegetables have the most nutrients. Bad spots or bad sections of the vegetables should be removed. The vegetables nutrients are mostly found right beneath the skin, so avoid skinning them when possible. Many vegetable peels contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
When cutting vegetables, a sharp knife should be used. The cutting should be that of a sawing motion. This will decrease the risk of bruising, which compromise the quality of nutrients.
Boiling should not be used to cook vegetables, especially if the vegetables are sliced. Allowing sliced vegetables to soak in water releases minerals and vitamins. Because boiling is a prolonged cooking process for vegetables, many of the nutrients are destroyed. Most of the vitamins and minerals of the vegetables end up in the water, making the water, in some instances, more beneficial than the actual vegetable. The flavor quality of the vegetables is often dulled from boiling.
Steaming is a great cooking technique to use when cooking vegetables. Very little vegetable nutrients are lost when cooked this way. In order to steam vegetables, a steamer is easiest to use but a colander or strainer can work just as well. The vegetables should be placed evenly in the strainer and placed above a boiling saucepan of water. The high temperatures of the steam lock in the nutrients. The vegetables are done when they become tender but still maintain a slight crisp to the out side.
This is a great cooking method to use when trying to preserve vegetable nutrients. The vegetables should be cut into thin slices in order to heat quickly. A tablespoon of oil is all that is needed to cook the vegetables using this method. The vegetables only need to cook for a few minutes over a high heat to save the nutritional value.
There are other methods to cooking vegetables in order to preserve the nutrients like sautéing. Eat-well-to-be-well.com has a list of how to prepare different vegetables in order to maintain the nutritional content.
“Cooking Veggies May Not Cut Nutrients” By Miranda Hitti medicinenet.com