CONSERVATION OF NUTRIENTS IN PREPARATION AND COOKING OF VEGETABLES
Loss of nutrients in vegetables begin from preparation onward and is greater during the cooking process.
1. When fruits and vegetables are peeled the vitamins present under the skin may be lost.
2. Nutrients are also lost when the edible leaves of carrot beetroot and outer layer of cabbage are discarded.
3. Vitamin B complex and Vitamin C are water soluble and are lost when the water in which vegetables are cooked is discarded. Sodium, potassium and chlorine are also lost when cooking water is discarded.
4. Vitamin C is lost by oxidation due to exposure of air.
5. During dehydration ascorbic acid and carotene are lost.
6. Addition of soda results in heavy loss of B - Vitamins during cooking.
Guidelines to minimize nutrient losses during preparation:
1. Wash vegetables before cutting. Soaking or washing time should be reduced to minimize nutrient loss.
2. Cut vegetables into big pieces so that exposure of vitamins to water is less while cooking and washing.
3. Use a vegetable peeler to remove skin as it helps remove only a very thin layer of skin.
4. Use minimum water for cooking. Bring the water to boil and add the vegetables to cook.
5. Cook vegetables by steaming and pressure-cooking to conserve nutrients.
6. Cover the vessel with a lid while cooking as it hastens cooking.
7. Do not use soda while cooking vegetables as it destroys valuable vitamins.
8. Vegetables salads should be prepared just before serving to conserve nutrients.
9. Use acids such as lime juice or vinegar to salads as it prevents loss of Vitamin C since Vitamin C is stable in acid.