It is well known that fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and other nutrients. But did you know that a significant number of them is lost when wrong-handled? Find out a few techniques that can be applied to preserve the vitamins in fruits and vegetables.
Tips before cooking
Clean hard skin fruit and vegetables (e.g. apples) using a soft brush and water. Avoid sinking them and wash them into water, because some vitamins can dissolve in water, and thus, may be lost.
Consume fruits and vegetables with their skins. If you don’t like it, just remove as little as possible. Most vitamins and minerals are found in the skin and just under it. Moreover, the skin is the “protector” of nutrients and a natural obstacle. By keeping the skin of fruits and vegetables, you prevent every beneficial nutrients from escaping!
Don’t chop vegetables when cooking or when you use them in salads. The less exposed, the less vitamins and minerals are lost.
Tips during cooking
Cook them in as little water as possible or even better steamed them. When steamed, vegetables and fruits retain most of their nutrients.
Prefer eating fruits and vegetables raw. Otherwise, cook vegetables such as asparagus, green beans, broccoli, and peas, only for a short time, just to have a tender-crispy texture. Some vitamins, such as vitamin B and vitamin C, are easily damaged by heat. So the lower the cooking, the more the nutrients are kept intact. Likewise, cook vegetables and fruits in a closed pot. This way the steam cannot “escape” and the cooking is faster.
The short cooking will help vegetables retain a brighter color and flavor. The microwave is also a good choice to cook fruits and vegetables. Because of the quick cooking process, the sensitive to heat – nutrients are not exposed to high temperatures for a long time.
Tips after cooking
Reserve the water from cooked vegetables, or place it in the freezer for future use as a vegetable stock for soups and sauces. This way, water-soluble vitamins and minerals can be used without any loss.
Potatoes lose almost 50% of their vitamin C content five months after the harvest, and nearly 65% after eight months!!
Clinical Dietitian – Nutritionist, MSc