6 Ways to Keep Vitamins in Veggies
Just like humans who are zapped of energy if over-worked, veggies lose their vitamins if they are over-cooked. Make sure your veggies retain their vitality, no matter how they are prepared, with these tips for boiling, braising, and more.
What is it? Browning the tops of vegetables with intense dry heat while cooking the inside through.
Helpful Hints: Food is generally placed 4 to 6 inches from the broiler element for complete cooking; pre-cooked foods may be placed closer to the heat for quick browning. Tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, mushrooms, and onions are often broiled. Most vegetables need to be marinated or brushed with oil before broiling. Fibrous vegetables such as leeks, fennel, and celery should be blanched before broiling. The broiler should always be preheated before using.
What is it? Cooking vegetables in a large amount of boiling water for a brief period of time.
Helpul hints: The food can then be immersed in cold water to stop the cooking process.Tomatoes are often blanched for a minute or two to help remove their skins. Other vegetables may be blanched to enhance their colour and remove their raw flavour before being used as crudités on an appetizer relish platter or in a salad.
What is it? Cooking vegetables in a pot of rapidly bubbling water.
Helpful Hints: Boiling is a suitable method for hard vegetables such as green beans, broccoli spears, and carrots. The secret is to cook the vegetable just long enough to brighten its colour and soften its texture but not so long that it becomes dull or mushy. Bring the water to a boil first, then add the vegetable and cook it uncovered or partially covered.
What is it? Sautéing vegetables briefly in fat before adding liquid to finish the cooking.
Helpful Hints: Braising works well with fibrous vegetables such as celery hearts, leeks, and fennel. Root vegetables and leafy greens also lend themselves to braising.
What is it? Cooking vegetables in very hot fat.
Helpful Hints: Pan-frying uses up to an inch of fat in a pan to cook larger pieces of food such as crumb-coated slices of eggplant. Deep-fat frying, where food is completely immersed in hot fat, is necessary for batter-coated vegetables, such as those cooked in Japanese tempura style. Sautéing and stir-frying are forms of frying that use a minimal amount of fat to cook small pieces of food for a short period of time.
What is it? Microwaving is a fast and convenient way to cook many vegetables and keep their nutrients, crispness, and colour intact.
Helpful hints: Place vegetables in a microwave-safe dish with a vented cover and add a small amount of water. The greater the volume of vegetables, the longer it will take to cook them.