Loss Of Nutrients During Cooking Vegetables

Some amounts of nutrient losses occur during cooking vegetables as the food get exposed to different conditions. Nutrients loss from vegetables in two ways.

1. By getting water soluble vitamins dissolved in the cooking water.

2. By getting destroyed by high heat. Water-soluble compounds like vitamin C and some B vitamins are likely to loss from boiling, simmering, steaming, or braising. Losses begins from pre-preparation onwards.

Mechanical Losses

During pre-preparation like peeling the vitamins present under the skin may be lost. Vegetables like carrots have a valuable layer of nutrients under the skin so they should be scraped but not peeled thick.

Throwing away outer leaves of cabbage can result in loss of carotene as greener leaves contain higher amounts of carotene. Beet root, carrot, cauliflower leaves are very nutritious, hence discarding these leaves results in loss of nutrients.

How To Reduce Nutrient Losses ?

Water- soluble nutrients like thiamine, riboflavin, nicotinic acid, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folic acid and vitamin C may be dissolved in the cooking water and the nutrients may be lost. Losses by solution can be reduced by the following methods:

  • Cut the vegetables into bigger pieces so that the exposure of the vitamins to water is less. When carrots are cut in crosswise of the loss of ascorbic acid is greater than they are cut lengthwise.
  • Soaking or washing time should be reduced. So that enough time is not given for the water soluble nutrients to get dissolves in water.
  • Wash the vegetables with the skin and later should be peeled and cut.
  • Use a small quantity of water as possible so that there is no extra water at all.
  • Cook for short time. As period of cooking increases more and more of ascorbic acid leaches into the water.
  • Cook the vegetables by steaming and pressure cooking, where no additional water is added.
  • Cover the vessel with a lid to hasten the cooking process.
  • Cook the vegetables with the skin so that the leaching of vitamins into the water would be less Leached water can be used in cooking.
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