Cook Up Healthy, Tasty Vegetables
There are many ways to cook up your vegetables - but which way is the best? We'll cover the most commonly used ways, you decide what is best for you!
The vegetable skin will preserve most of the vegetables nutrient value. When baking, the vegetable must have a high enough water content not to dry out. Root vegetables are the best to bake as well as any potato, winter squash or onion.
Steaming is probably the best for all types of vegetables. It retains the nutrients and cooks in a short period of time.
Use microwave steaming bags for your vegetables instead of cooking them on the stove top. Steamed vegetables retain more of their natural color and nutrients.
Pressure Cooking Vegetables
Pressure cooking vegetables will shorten cooking times thus saving nutrients. The problem here is if you over cook even for a short period of time the vegetables turn to mush. Since vegetables all have a different consistency this is a problem.
Pan Frying Vegetables
Pan frying vegetables using a small amount of vegetable oil is another fast method of cooking. A Wok is fine, too. Remember, however, that when cooking vegetables in oils, the fat soluble vitamins may end up in the oil. You may want to keep the oil for the sauce.
Works well for green leafy vegetables using only the water that adheres to their leaves after washing. This usually takes only three to five minutes.
Broiling vegetables is not recommended, due to the high loss of nutrients. If you must use this method, add the vegetables only after the water starts boiling and cook for the shortest period of time possible.
Note: Refrigerate all foods as soon as possible; this will help you retain the potencies of the nutrients. Whole boiled carrots will retain 90 percent of their vitamin C and most of their minerals, but if you slice it up before cooking you will lose almost all of the vitamin C and niacin content.
When boiling vegetables there are a few good rules to follow.
- Allow the water to boil for at least two minutes since the water will lose a high percentage of its oxygen. It is this high oxygen content of the water that causes the vitamin C potency to be reduced.
- Never place vegetables in cold water and then bring it to a boil. If this is done, some vegetables can lose up to 10 to 12 times their vitamin C content.
Vary Your Veggies
From asparagus to zucchini, you can reap a bounty of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients when you choose from a colorful variety of vegetables.
- Get lots of dark green veggies like broccoli, spinach, romaine lettuce and collard greens.
- Pick plenty of orange veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and butternut squash.
- Eat more dry beans and peas such as pinto beans, kidney beans, split peas and lentils.
- Mix it up even more with favorites like tomatoes, potatoes and corn and less familiar options like artichokes, eggplant and parsnips.
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