You eat vegetables regularly for a varied and balanced diet? That’s great! But have you ever wondered how many vitamins are actually left over after preparation? Boiling, frying, steaming, stewing or grilling? Which is the best cooking method to preserve the valuable ingredients of fresh vegetables? We give you an overview of the possibilities of vegetable preparation and tell you how vitamins are best preserved.
When it comes to the amount of vitamins contained, as well as minerals and phytochemicals, eating raw, fresh vegetables is unbeatable. This is because most vitamins and many other ingredients are water soluble and not heat resistant.
As an example, vitamin C decomposes at about 190 degrees. So boiling does not pose a problem. When grilling in the medium range, the situation is different. Here, temperatures of up to 230 degrees are released – which decompose valuable vitamins, like vitamin C.
So why not nibble on crunchy carrots, peppers or cucumber sticks? Together with a tasty dip, this makes a great meal.
Especially salad with lots of fresh vegetables should be on your diet plan and can be wonderfully refined with Quäse. Together with a piece of meat or fish, raw food dishes taste especially delicious. For example, have you already tried our cheese and salmon salad? Various vegetables such as radishes, peppers or tomatoes are processed raw. It’s a real vitamin booster!
At least one of the recommended five servings of vegetables and fruit a day is best eaten raw.
Should I Peel Vegetables or Not?
Even the raw preparation of vegetables divides opinions. In many types of vegetables and fruit, the majority of vitamins and other vital substances are found directly under the skin or in the outer layers. So why simply throw away such valuable nutrients? Many vegetables such as carrot, tomato or broccoli can be eaten without hesitation, if not preferably with the peel/outer layer.
Even the outer leaves of a head of lettuce contain significantly more phytochemicals than the inner leaves. Peeling is unnecessary for cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, young kohlrabi or radishes. Especially zucchini many cook in the peeled state. It is a mistaken belief that the skin of zucchini is poisonous. It is quite enough to clean the vegetable carefully.
However, there are vegetables for which the peel or outer layer must be removed: White asparagus must be peeled, otherwise it will be too fibrous. For green asparagus, it is enough to peel the lower third. Of the pumpkins, only the Hokkaido is edible with the peel.
The situation is different with potatoes: their vitamin content tends to decrease towards the peel, and the peel may contain toxins. It is therefore better to peel them before cooking.
Boiling, Steaming or Blanching Vegetables: What is the Best Way to Cook Them?
Everyone knows a colorful salad plate with various delicious vegetables. But a little variety on the plate is allowed. This is achieved not only by what is on the plate, but also by the way it is prepared. And not every vegetable is digestible raw. Green beans or potatoes, for example, only become edible when cooked. But which method is best? Steaming? Steaming? Cooking in boiling water?
Generally speaking, the temperature, cooking time and amount of water used affect the vitamin content. Careful handling of fresh vegetables should always be observed. No matter whether it is steaming, stewing or boiling.
Why does Cooking Harm Vegetables?
Probably the most widespread, or at least the best known, is the cooking of vegetables. However, it is considered the most unfavorable variant of vegetable preparation in terms of preserving important nutrients. In this process, the vegetables are cooked in an open or closed pot at a high temperature in a lot of water. This causes vitamins and other vital substances to become detached and pass into the cooking water. In addition, the vegetables quickly lose their color, bite and flavor. Broccoli in particular suffers greatly when cooked in a hot pot of water.
If you decide to cook broccoli in this way, you should choose the shortest possible cooking time and it is best not to pour the used cooking water down the drain. It can be used very well for a base for sauces or soups. In this way, you will utilize the dissolved nutrients elsewhere.
Boiling is best for solid vegetables such as beet, potatoes, beans, etc.
Steaming Vegetables – What are the Advantages?
Have you ever steamed your vegetables? Haven’t you? Then it’s high time you did, because steaming is one of the gentlest cooking methods for nutrients. When steaming, the vegetables are cooked in hot steam in a steamer or a pot with a strainer insert. In this way, it does not come into contact with the water at all and the nutrients remain contained. And what’s more, the wonderful color of the vegetables is largely preserved. You’ll be surprised how steam, rather than direct water contact, changes the vegetables during cooking.
Steaming is a similarly gentle method. Here, the vegetables are cooked in very little water, broth, wine, or in their own liquid between 70 and 98 °C, if possible, only until they are al dente. Steaming is very gentle and conjures up a great taste.
What is Blanching?
Vegetables can be cooked in many different ways. Have you ever tried blanching? It is ideal for vegetables with short cooking times such as cabbage, spinach, cauliflower or sugar snap peas. Here, the vegetables are cooked in bubbling salted water for 2-4 minutes and then immediately immersed in ice water. This stops the cooking process immediately.
The vegetables can also be frozen very well after blanching. The short cooking time means that not as many nutrients are washed out and the color is retained as much as possible. A great method for cooking vegetables!