When it comes to our favourite way of cooking, we each have our own preferences. Some prefer the stir-fry, others enjoy boiling, steaming and even deep-frying their meals. But when it comes to the cooking of vegetables, this is a much more delicate manner since vegetables possess many nutrients and some of them can be lost in the cooking process. First and foremost, we would love to congratulate you if you are still on this article — this means that your love for vegetables is shining through despite its popularity taking a dip in recent years. For those who don’t appreciate eating your leafy greens, there is really plenty of reasons to do so. They provide you with a lot of nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants and while it might seem like you can get all these good stuff with the help of multivitamins, nothing beats getting it directly from the source itself.
Regardless of which way you enjoy cooking your vegetables in, we can assure you that having your vegetables raw is definitely not going to be as beneficial. Scientific studies have been done and they all point to the fact that the process of cooking actually breaks down the external layer and cellular structure of vegetables and that means your body is able to take in these nutrients much more easier. One such example showed that as compared to raw spinach and carrots, the cooked equivalent actually registered a higher count of the antioxidant beta carotene and that is what is later converted into vitamin A. No surprises here, when you cook your greens, it would be miles better for your skin and health.
Ways To Cook Vegetables
If you ask us, there are four main ways of cooking our greens, namely boiling, microwaving, steaming and stir-frying. As a rule of thumb, what we should be doing to preserve the nutrients best is to bring down the cooking time, temperature and the amount of liquid as low as possible.
Steaming has been found to be the best way to cook vegetables and preserve most of its nutrients. This comparison is made ever more apparent when you compare it to the boiling of vegetables. When you boil vegetables, the water-soluble vitamins like folate, vitamin C and vitamin B1 all leech into the water. If you are not making soups and stews, those vitamins would all go to waste when we drain the water out. Now it makes it easier to understand how steaming is a much better way to cook these vegetables since the vegetables do not come into contact with any water. A study found that when peas, cauliflowers and zucchini are prepared through boiling, almost half of the antioxidants are lost when placed in boiling water
Griddling is the cooking technique of using a unique pan that has ridges on it and is done in the oven or stove. If you haven’t tried griddled vegetables, it is a fantastic time to start since they can create a lovely intense flavour with just a spray of olive oil. Griddling has been found to lovely for the following vegetables, from green beans, asparagus, broccoli, celery to onions. As compared to baking or roasting, griddling allows you to cook it evenly while ensuring the nutrients do not dissipate into its environment. Baking has been found to be less effective since it is the temperature, time and the type of vegetables that determines how much vitamins it would contain.
When you deep fry with fat, the fat penetrates the food and the vegetables would dehydrate. What you should do instead is to saute with cooking oil like virgin olive oil or coconut oil. When you utilise such oil, it maximises the flavour while raising the absorption rate of phytonutrients like phenols and carotenes. This is such due to how most of the nutrients and vitamins are fat soluble and our body would respond better to them when there is fat present. It has even been found that the cooking technique of sauteing is suitable for most Mediterranean greens like eggplant. It has even been found that the sauteing of eggplant in extra-virgin olive oil has led to a sizeable increase in antioxidants that shield the body from harmful diseases like cancer.
It is difficult to say which is the best method for you to pick up when it comes to the cooking of your greens. Since the best cooking method varies with each vegetable, there is no one-fit-all method that triumphs the rest. Cook quite a bit for the family? Perhaps what you could do is to stay updated with a quick search on the Internet to determine which is the cooking technique that would work the best for maximum health benefits. But if you are too busy to look up online, a reasonable fall back plan is to steam your vegetables.