How to retain vitamins during cooking? Product storage, processing and preparation.
How to retain vitamins during cooking? We understand what can and cannot be done with products at all stages: from storage to preparation.
So, you bought products. Now it is important to store them properly so that they do not lose all their useful properties even before cooking. Each product is affected by several factors: exposure to light and air, temperature and the surfaces they come in contact with. In general, vitamins are rather volatile compounds.
Fruit and vegetables
Thus, B vitamins are rapidly destroyed in light, outdoors and at room temperature. And many fresh leafy vegetables lose most of their vitamin C when stored out of the refrigerator.
Therefore, fruits, vegetables and herbs are best stored in dark, cool places. Refrigerator shelves designed specifically for them are ideal for this.
But do not forget that after 3 days of storage, even in the refrigerator, the products will lose about 30% of vitamin C and at room temperature – about 50% at all. So it is good to eat them fresh.
Also, in the light and outdoors, vitamins A and E oxidize quickly and lose their beneficial properties. For this butter should be stored in the refrigerator in a hermetically sealed package. It is important not to freeze and thaw again.
Vegetable oil is best stored in a dark, cool place. The lid must also be tightened.
Meat and fish
If you have bought frozen meat or fish, you need to store them so that they do not melt immediately before cooking. You need to defrost them as slowly as possible. Only then will they not lose vitamins and useful properties. During re-freezing, the vitamins contained in meat and fish are destroyed.
Raw meat and fish should be stored in isolation, if possible in separate compartments. If this is not possible, you should cook them as soon as possible or freeze them.
Vitamins found in fruits and vegetables are considered water soluble. They are afraid not only of the temperature, but also of the improper preparation for cooking.
Vitamins are mainly found in a thin layer of vegetable and fruit pulp, just below their skin. Therefore, if you remove the peel, try to cut the thinnest layer. And if possible, better leave the skin completely.
It is best to cut and clean the food immediately before cooking. When stored in peeled or chopped form, foods lose enormous amounts of vitamins.
Vegetables, fruits and meat should not be soaked. These products should be washed under running water. But legumes, on the other hand, need to be soaked in water beforehand. Otherwise, they will cook for a long time and lose some of their useful properties.
To prevent light and heat from destroying the vitamins, it is best to cut and season the salads just before serving. The fresher the better.
How to cook to preserve vitamins
It is important to note that of all the cooking methods, the most harmful to vitamins is frying. Exposure to high temperatures, hot metal and fat burning “kills” vitamins by almost 100%.
The best option for processing products is steaming and baking. Let’s analyze this point in more detail.
Basic criteria for cooking
First, many foods can not be cooked for long. The optimal time is 20-30 minutes. Therefore, when preparing the soup, the meat is first boiled and only then vegetables are added.
Vegetables should be immediately thrown into boiling water. Neutralizes the enzyme that breaks down vitamin C. Thus, the beneficial properties of the product are maintained.
The contact of boiling water with oxygen should be limited as much as possible. Close the lid of the pot well and make sure the vegetables are completely under water.
It is necessary to take into account not only the cooking time, but also the power of the fire. Prefer medium or small to avoid evaporation of the liquid.
In addition, vinegar, citric acid, as well as sugar and salt can be added to the water. This will help prevent the fermentation of nutrients. By the way, a lot of vitamins and minerals get into the water during cooking, so if possible it is best not to drain it. It can be used to make sauces, broths or other dishes.
The right utensils also play an important role. Suitable for cooking enamel or stainless steel. In aluminum pans, vitamins are destroyed by contact with metals that oxidize in air or water.
Works during frying, baking or grilling
Frying in oil not only destroys the vitamins of the vegetables and the overheated oil itself, but also adds excess fat. Therefore, the benefits of frying in creamy or unrefined, frankly, are few.
Most of the vitamins in fish and meat are preserved during fast frying. To shorten the cooking time, cut them into thin slices.
Choose a pan with a non-stick coating or use a grill.
Large pieces can be baked in the oven on foil. This method speeds up the cooking process and prevents the oxidation of fats. In this case, useful substances will be released along with the meat juice.
If vegetables are cooked in “their own juice” and do not come into contact with fats and minerals, they retain more vitamins. The baking temperature should be around 200 degrees. This method allows you to save up to 50% on all useful substances.
How to store and reheat cooked food
Cooked food should not be stored for a long time. The vitamins and minerals in it are destroyed very quickly. The maximum storage period is two days.
Do not store food in metal containers. You should also close the lid or package tightly – vegetables and butter should not come in contact with oxygen.
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