Wednesdays with Whitney: How to cook fresh produce to best preserve nutritional value?
Happy July! What a timely question as many of our veggie gardens are in full swing. I am happy to see this question come up again. Back in April of 2020 when many of you were hunkered down and cooking more from home I wrote a post answering a very similar question (see Wednesdays with Whitney: Veggies & Nutrient Retention (prfoodcenter.org)) for the downlow on all things phytonutrients and cooking veggies. Today I’ll share to the short and sweet on cooking produce!
Eat your veggies! Whether raw or cooked, canned, frozen or fresh, in a salad or with dip, in a smoothie or in a muffin. Eat them, numerous times per day. If you usually eat zero veggies, aim for 1 per day, if you normally eat 3 veggies try for 4.
When boiling-don’t overcook. See that colored tint in the pot after boiling? Those are the nutrients lost from boiling. Water soluble vitamins (vitamin C, B vitamins) are easily lost when boiling. So, just keep an eye on them, besides who likes to eat mushy veggies anyways?
Cooking hard veggies, like carrots, can help make their nutrients easier for the body to get at.
When slow cooking, you are typically eating the broth/gravy that the veggies are cooked in, so in turn you are soaking in any nutrients lost in the cooking process.
Roasting, stir-frying, baking, and grilling are all great ways to cook veggies! These are dry cooking methods and nutrients are better retained. Remember to use oils such as olive, avocado or vegetable oil. Combining healthy fat and veggies helps our bodies absorb nutrients.
When steaming, though water is used, the vegetables are not necessarily submerged in the water, this means that the nutrients are better kept.
Eat your veggies!