Don't waste your high vitamin foods: Stop the boiling!

You shopped so carefully. You skipped past the packaged pre-cut vegetables. You bought the freshest, crispest and brightest colored produce for maximum nutritional value...

And then you boiled out all the vitamins, you silly.

We grew up eating the boiled veggies that our mothers and grandmothers lovingly served. It is certainly true that boiled fresh vegetables are still a healthy addition to a meal, but if you bought the best veggies you could find, why let those vitamins get away?

Vitamin rich foods deserve a better cooking method

Boiling is a perfect storm of vitamin destruction. Take a look at the causes of vitamin loss:

Darker colored vegetables have the most vitamins

  • High temperature
  • Long cook time
  • Exposure to water
  • Exposure to oxygen
  • Pressure
  • Exposure to light
  • Cutting up the vegetables

Notice how many of these factors fall into play when you boil. Vitamins dissolve and wash away when they are floating in a pot filled with water. High temperatures and a long cooking time are vitamin killers. And, cutting up the veggies into cubes increases the total surface area, exposing more of the fragile nutrients to destruction.

Soup: the exception

Chunks of carrots and potatoes simmering away in a pot - tasty. The vitamins are being washed out of the veggies, but they remain floating around in the broth. Since the broth will not be strained down the sink, the nutrition will still be there for the eating. Or slurping.

Another downfall of boiling that soup overcomes is the loss of flavor. While the broth absorbs the vitamins, it is also holding on to the flavor.

Don’t lose the benefits of vitamins by overcooking

Microwaving is a very common method of healthy cooking. It makes sense. A quick cook time, very little water, and a moderate temperature prevent vitamin loss. To maximize nutrition and flavor, nuke your veggies for half a minute at 500 or 750 watts.

Steaming is a vitamin friendly method too. Cut the veggies into larger pieces to minimize the exposed surfaces. Because the food is not immersed in water, the nutrition is not being washed away.

Another excellent vitamin saver is the stir fry. It uses minimal oil, and very fast cook time. Cutting the veggies smaller in this case helps for even quicker cooking, but since they are not being rinsed, you won’t be losing too much. Add olive oil to the mix, and you are supercharging the stir fry with all kinds of healthy goodness.

Vitamin Charged Vegetable Soup Recipe

Simmer this one in your kitchen and fill up your house with mouthwatering aromas

Shop:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped leeks. Only use the white part (approximately 3 medium leeks)
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped

  • 2 cups potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups fresh green beans, ut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 4 cups peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 ears corn, (remove the kernels)
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 to 2 tsps lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt

Cook:

Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in large stockpot. Add the leeks, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 7 to 8 minutes until they begin to soften.

Add the potatoes, green beans, and carrots. Give it a stir an cook for 4 to 5 more minutes.

Now put in the stock and bring to a simmer over high heat. Add the corn, tomatoes, and pepper. Drop the heat to low, cover, and cook 25 to 30 minutes until the vegetables are tender.

Once you remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and parsley. Season, to taste, with kosher salt. Serve immediately.

© 2010 wyanjen at HubPages

Don't waste your high vitamin foods: Stop the boiling!


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Comments 16 comments

Michael Shane profile image

Michael Shane 6 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

Good Hub!


wyanjen profile image

wyanjen 6 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan Author

Thanks Michael


Michael Jay profile image

Michael Jay 6 years ago

Thank you for sharing this hub, wyanjen!


midnightbliss profile image

midnightbliss 6 years ago from Hermosa Beach

we can gain maximum vitamins from fruits or veggies when we eat raw or as close as possible to being natural. nice hub


wyanjen profile image

wyanjen 6 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan Author

Thank you Michael :)

midnightbliss: you are exactly right. Peeling the fruit and veggies also removes all kinds of vitamins & nutrients. Unless the skin is too tough, I never peel :)


qwark profile image

qwark 6 years ago

Hi Wyan:

Yep.

If you do boil, use as little water as possible and then use the water as a base for gravy or soup.

Personally, I steam veggies if I want to eat them cooked.

Too much heat tho can reduce the health benefits of veggies.

Canned veggies are proof of that.


wyanjen profile image

wyanjen 6 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan Author

Hello!

You've been giving me some Health Hub love this past week. Thanks buddy :-)

I like to grill veggies real quick. Asparagus especially, with a little kosher salt. Broccoli - perfect for steaming!


Georzetta profile image

Georzetta 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

What's the effect of baking fruit? Will I lose all my vitamins when I bake my apple?

Very interesting. Thanks.


wyanjen profile image

wyanjen 6 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan Author

I checked a couple sources to be sure I'm giving you the right answer. ;)

Baking the apples will cause a slight loss of vitamin C, but the majority of the nutrients remain after baking. Especially if you don't peel the apple.

In a pie, because the apples have been peeled, you lose fiber as well as the vitamin C.


ralwus 6 years ago

I love my veggies and either microwave or steam them. I also love stir fry. Good hub. CC


wyanjen profile image

wyanjen 6 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan Author

I have one of those Foreman grills - I only use it for one thing: asparagus.

Grill it up real quick with some salt, little butter, and grate some colby jack cheese on top. yum.

CC, I haven't done a stir fry in ages... I might just have to do that! :-)


Georzetta profile image

Georzetta 6 years ago from Pennsylvania

Thanks for checking on the apple for me. I was hoping baking would be okay. I never peel anything so no fiber loss for me.

Keep up the good work.


wyanjen profile image

wyanjen 6 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan Author

You bet.

Even with a slight loss of vitamins, a baked apple is still miles ahead of a pan of brownies! ;)


James L profile image

James L 6 years ago from Canada

Great hub! I've always been suspicious about boiling vegetables.


wyanjen profile image

wyanjen 6 years ago from Wyandotte Michigan Author

Boiled vegetables just don't taste as good, do they?

Unless you're boiling them in broth, that is

:)


fucsia profile image

fucsia 6 years ago

Is better eat raw fruits or veggies to gain their vitamins, also if today is very dificult (I would say: impossible!) find food really natural, not manipolate in some way by humans. thank you for this true and useful informations!

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