Vegetables and fruits in spring: how to save vitamins?
How to store vegetables and fruits to provide your family with vitamins in the difficult spring period? How to clean, cut and cook vegetables to reduce the loss of nutrients? Where more vitamins - in sauerkraut or baked potatoes? We offer advice from Vladimir Spirichev - a person who knows everything about vitamins.
Modern nutritional science strongly recommends at least 5-6 servings of fresh herbs, vegetables and fruits per day.
What is a serving? One large apple - a serving, a glass of freshly squeezed juice - this is a serving, a plate of various greens - also a serving. Apparently, 5-6 of such various portions are a monstrous amount for a Russian unaccustomed to such an abundance of plant food! This is not 2-3 sprigs of parsley and onion feathers on a small hill of grated beets or carrots, proudly referred to as “vitamin salad” by domestic cooks.
In fruits and vegetables now there is no shortage in any season, but how to make sure that their useful properties are preserved? So, vitamins are rather unstable compounds and are easily destroyed by the action of light, air, heat, and contact with metals. That is why it is necessary to learn to “spare” these valuable substances during storage and cooking.
Take, for example, vitamin C. This vitamin is the most unstable and sensitive to the action of the above factors, to a certain extent, and therefore vitamin C deficiency occurs most often!
Other vitamins are more resistant, but they can also be destroyed as a result of improper preparation and storage of food. So, vitamins A, E, K and carotene, withstanding the heat during cooking, are very sensitive to light and oxygen in the air. That is why fats should not be left open: butter butter, a bottle of vegetable oil should always be tightly closed.
As for other vitamins, vitamin B1 sensitive to heat, vitamins B2 and B6 better withstand high temperature, but quickly destroyed by the action of light.
Let's talk about how to store products in order to preserve vitamins in them as much as possible.
In general, long-term storage of vegetables should be avoided, especially at room temperature. Remember: the shorter the path of vegetables from their collection to the market, and from the market to the kitchen and plates, the more valuable (and not just tastier!) Food prepared from them. If it is necessary to store vegetables, choose a dark cool place - a cellar or a refrigerator.
If in the fridge at + 4 ° C spinach or parsley lose only 8% of ascorbic acid in two days, then at room temperature these losses increase to 80%! Exposure to sunlight during storage of vegetables increases the loss of vitamin C three times. Under these conditions, leaf lettuce, for example, and other greens can completely lose this vitamin in a few hours.
In recent decades, increasing attention is paid to the creation of technologies that ensure the maximum safety of vitamins in vegetables and fruits. Especially effective in this regard quick freeze. As for the usual heat drying fruits and vegetables, this method is very inefficient from the point of view of preservation of vitamins: there are very few vitamins in dried carrots, cabbage, and dried fruits.
A common method of harvesting berries (black and red currants, raspberries), which is gentle from the point of view of the preservation of vitamins, is their rubbing and blending with sugar. It should be remembered that contact with metal for vitamin C is destructive. But with the usual method of cooking of preserves and jams, ascorbic acid is destroyed.
Loss of vitamins when cleaning and chopping vegetables
A few words about the preparation of vegetables for the process of cooking. Many people make mistakes when cleaning them. Meanwhile, a good housewife knows that vitamins (and, by the way, mineral substances) are concentrated directly under the peel, especially in potatoes, and therefore are lost when it is not economically removed.
Exposure to light, air and heat during the cleaning, grinding and washing of vegetables also causes the loss of vitamins, which, dissolving, go into the washing water. These losses especially increase with prolonged soaking of chopped vegetables in water. If, for example, the potatoes are left for 12 hours in the water purified, but not cut, then it loses 9% of vitamin C (less in salty water), and in sliced form - 50% of the vitamin.
When cutting and especially grinding (rubbing) vegetables from the cells, the enzyme is released ascorbate oxidase, easily and quickly destroying ascorbic acid.
- Cooking salads, dressing them with sauce, vegetable oil should be immediately before use. It is inappropriate to leave cooked salads "for later" - they quickly lose their taste and nutritional qualities.
- Grind vegetables, in particular potatoes, you need only when necessary. Small tubers of potatoes and other root vegetables are best cooked as much as possible in the skin.
- A special place in the daily diet should take raw, unprocessed vegetables, fruits, greens. After all, they are the most valuable source of such important for our body vitamins as vitamin C, carotene and folic acid. Greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, green onions, garlic, fruits are generally better not to cut, but to wash well and serve whole. Remember that in whole apple, carrot, cabbage slice of vitamins is much more than in the same vegetables and fruits, but chopped, chopped, grated.
How to cook vegetables to save vitamins
And now about the heat treatment of food. The most benign in respect of vitamins are such types of cooking, as steaming, baking (for example, in foil). Cooking in water should not be long. When cooking, including when cooking soups, borscht, etc., vegetables should not be lowered into the cold, but in boiling water, to quickly "kill" ascorbate oxidase, destroying ascorbic acid. Quenching leads to more destruction of vitamins than boiling. Roasting is the most “traumatic” with respect to vitamins, a type of culinary processing of products. By the way, “sparing” cooking methods “spare” not only vitamins, but also our stomach ...
It is established that baked potatoes are healthier than fried ones. Compared with raw tubers, the content of protein and vitamins in the outer, cortical layer of fried potatoes is reduced by an average of 40%, and in the inner - by 22%. When baking, the content of protein and vitamins in the cortical layer is reduced only by 10-20%. By the way, the protein in the inner layer becomes 8-10% ... more: here some proteins move from the outer layer. It is a pity that this does not happen with vitamins ...
When cooking first courses (soup, borsch, etc.) to preserve vitamins, it is useful to use the “infusion method”. What it is? You cook vegetables for soup (borsch) over low heat and undercook them slightly (state of semi-cooking). Then remove the pan from the heat, wrap a newspaper and, for example, a towel. After 15-20 minutes, the vegetables "reach", become soft. Dish filled with vegetable oil, and the soup is ready!
When cooking potatoes, water should only slightly cover the top tubers, and boiling should not be turbulent. It is necessary to immerse the tubers for boiling only in boiling water: when immersed in cold water, 35% of vitamin C is destroyed, and in boiling water - only 7%. The greatest amount of vitamins is stored in baked potatoes, less - in boiled potatoes, even less - in stewed and especially fried. Dishes such as potato casseroles and meatballs are practically devoid of vitamins. The maximum amount of vitamins is preserved if the finished dish after cooking was in a closed container for no more than one and a half hours. All the "secrets" of cooking potatoes relate to other vegetables: beets, cabbage.