How to Preserve the Nutrients of your Vegetables is something that you might not pay much attention to. But, if you are making an effort to eat healthily, make sure you get the best out of it with these simple tips.
When looking for your veggies, always look for dark greens, purples, and intense colors; they are likely to contain more beta carotene and vitamin C.
Cooking time and methods
It is always better to keep cooking time, temperature, and water amount to a minimum.
That's why steaming is one of the best ways to cook most vegetables.
Boiling vegetables causes water-soluble vitamins to leach into the water.
So unless you are going to make soups or stews with it, the vitamins will be put to waste.
Steaming is much easier on the vegetables and makes them preserve their nutrients better as they don't come in contact with the boiling water. When you boil vegetables, you are likely to be losing 50% of their antioxidants or more.
Try Cutting cooking times. The longer foods are exposed to heat; the more nutrients are lost. To reduce cooking times, cover the pot to retain heat and avoid evaporation; place vegetables in already boiling water, and learn to enjoy vegetables with a crunchier texture.
Also, cooking vegetables, whole or in big chunks, is the best choice to preserve nutrients. Don't wash your vegetables until just before you use them. Washing before storing can promote bacterial growth and speed up spoilage.
Use the peel. Keeping peels on sweet potatoes, yams and carrots preserve more nutrients than concentrate near the surface. Instead, opt for a good vegetable brush and scrub vegetables thoroughly. I also roast butternut squash, onions, and sweet potatoes with their peelings.
Use all parts. Many vegetables are entirely edible and rich in nutrients, so using the entire plant, from root to stem, is a sure way to add nutrients to your day. For example, I use all parts of broccoli; cauliflower and beetroots. Cut the stems and add them into stews and curries.
Making mashed potatoes with the peals on contributes to achieve a different texture and make it more nutrient-dense.
I also use the celery leaves in our salads or in our Morning Green Juice.
Fresh is best; frozen is next. Fresh, ripe produce in-season —freezing produce immediately after harvesting retains 95 to 100 percent of most vitamins and minerals, except vitamin C, which diminishes by up to 30 percent in frozen produce.
Store your fresh herbs such as parsley and cilantro in the fridge, put them in a glass of water (with the stems covered), and cover all of it with a plastic bag. This will extend its life for up to a week.
If you are curious about why Steaming vs Boiling, here is a good resource.
We sometimes take for granted that we have years (or decades) of cooking experience that the average visitor may not. Add to, or remove from, the list below with health and safety tips.
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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