I think we all know that one of the main reasons we are encouraged to get adequate intake of veggies and fruits each day is because of what they offer us: nourishment. They are packed with essential vitamins and minerals that we can often not get anywhere else. The thing is, those vitamins and minerals can be destroyed if our food isn’t prepared or stored the right way. So here are some tips for preserving the vitamin content of foods!
1. keep fruits and vegetables cool: Enzymes in food begin to degrade vitamins once the fruit or vegetable is picked, and chilling reduces this process. Other than potatoes, tomatoes, onions and bananas, it is best to refrigerate fresh produce until it is consumed.
2. moisture proof & air tight containers: Nutrients keep best at temperatures near freezing, at high humidity and away from air
3. trim, peel & cut minimally: Oxygen breaks down vitamins faster when more surface is exposed. Outer leaves of lettuce and other greens have higher concentrations of vitamins and minerals than the inner, tender leaves or stems. Potato skins and apple skins are higher in vitamins and minerals than the inner parts.
4. steam with little fat: More nutrients are retained when there is less contact with water and shorter cooking time. Whenever possible, cook fruits or vegetables in their skins.
6. don’t add fats to vegetables while cooking: Fat-soluble vitamins will be lost in the liquid discarded after cooking. Add fats to vegetables after they are fully cooked and drained.
7. store canned foods in cool places: canned foods vary in the amount of nutrients lost, largely because of differences in storage time and temperatures. Also, much of the nutrients can be lost when draining canned foods. That is why fresh is usually the best option.
~Favorite fruit or veggie?
**Broccoli and apples, all the way!