How to Cook Vegetables Correctly
When shopping for vegetables, we always make sure to get the freshest, peak-season ones, not just because they taste better but because they are also filled with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. But are you aware that cooking these vegetables has a big impact on how well those nutrients are retained?
There are methods of cooking vegetables that preserve nutrients and even aid in their absorption into the bloodstream, which is why others seem to do the opposite. So, once you’ve brought those vegetables home from the market, use the tips in this article to get the most nutritional bang for your buck.
- Put Water Restriction
Nutrients are lost when vegetables are cooked in water. You know how the water turns green after you’ve boiled or blanched your broccoli? That indicates that vitamins such as C and B have leached into the water and are being thrown away. To retain these vitamins, cook vegetables in as little water as possible for as short a time as possible (unless you intend to consume the water, like in a soup).
Steaming and microwaving, which both use little water, produce the same results as boiling or blanching but with far less nutrient loss. Alternatively, you may steam them. Steam or microwave broccoli, green beans, or asparagus until crisp-tender instead of blanching them.
Comparably with having the veggies cooled, avoid plunging them into an ice bath. Cold water, same with hot water, can drip nutrients from vegetables. Alternatively, cook the vegetables for one minute less and then spread them out on a baking sheet in a single layer to cool quickly at room temperature.
- Make Use of Little Fat
Eating plain steamed vegetables may appear to be the healthiest option, but eating vegetables with fat is actually healthier. Because many nutrients, such as beta carotene, vitamin D, and vitamin K, are fat soluble, they can only pass from our intestine into our bloodstream with the help of fat.
It’s similar to having a nutritional buddy system. So, toss those steamed vegetables with a flavorful vinaigrette, sauté or stir-fry them—all of these methods use some fat (which aids absorption) but little, if any, water (to minimize nutrient loss). They’ll also make your vegetables taste better than plain steamed ones, inspiring you to eat more of them.
- Adding of Citrus
Iron is abundant in vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and kale, but it is in a form that our bodies cannot use, so the majority of it passes through undigested. Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C, which chemically reacts with iron to convert it into a form that our bodies can easily absorb. To put it another way, it makes the iron easier to use. So, add a splash of lemon, lime, orange, or grapefruit juice to your stir-fry or sauté.
The three strategies discussed are all used in the recipe opposite; it’s a great example of how to maximize nutrition while still eating deliciously. Instead of boiling the green beans, they are briefly steamed. Then they’re sautéed with yellow peppers and shallots in a touch of healthy olive oil until just tender. At the end, fresh spinach is tossed in, and the dish is finished with a splash of orange juice. I can’t think of a better way to maximize the nutritional value of your vegetables.
Knowing these simple tips to keep the nutritional value of the vegetables is really important as we all want to take advantage of getting the best of our purchased produce. Ensure to get the freshest veggies at Fresh Farms!
Plan ahead – make a grocery list and figure out what you’re going to cook
Are you ready for Thanksgiving? It’s coming up soon, and that means family time, delicious