Do you consume enough vegetables in your daily diet? If that’s the case, excellent, but there’s one additional factor to consider: how you prepare your vegetables. They’re nutritious and wholesome, but how you prepare them determines how much nutrition gets into your body. Cooking also alters the flavor, and not necessarily for the better.
In today’s article, we’ll show you how to avoid the 16 most common vegetable preparation missteps and how to solve them so you get the most nutritional bang for your calorie buck.
Using wet veggies in cooking
While washing veggies are beneficial, failing to pat them dry and cooking them while they are still wet can result in a ruined dish. Wet veggies produce steam, which causes meals to become mushy. Though drying them takes a little longer, the bright and crisp outcome makes it worthwhile. Putting wet food in a pan of hot oil is also risky.
How many times have you peeled cucumber and potato skins and tossed them away? Alternatively, remove the stem and leaves from your leafy greens. Let’s face it, we’ve all done it, but now is the time to change your ways and start eating healthier. The bits we frequently discard are the ones with the most nutrition. Vegetable broth can be made or blended into smoothies, hummus, or sauce.
Smoking the vegetables
While you may enjoy the smoky flavor of the vegetables, this way of cooking has some major health consequences. The hot, dry climate depletes the nutrients in veggies and causes them to dry up. Worst of all, there’s a danger they’ll be exposed to benzopyrene, a cancer-causing chemical. To be safe, use low-intensity, indirect heat and cook your vegetables for a shorter time when grilling.
To many salts
Every vegetable has a distinct flavor that should be appreciated rather than masked by salt. Furthermore, veggies are high in potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure and protect the heart, and adding a lot of salt will counteract those heart-healthy efforts. Natural herbs and spices, such as ginger or garlic, can be added. It will improve the flavor of your food while also adding significant nutritional value.
Always keep an eye on the cooking time of your vegetables, since overcooking causes vital nutrients to be lost. Though other vegetables, such as potatoes, require a long cooking period to become soft and edible. Other vegetables, such as carrots and broccoli, should not be overcooked because high heat alters their lovely, vivid color, crispy texture, and, of course, their nutritional value.
Eliminating their fiber
Juicing is undeniably one of the most convenient ways to incorporate vegetables into your daily diet, but the fiber-rich peel and pulp that promote fullness and contain many key nutrients are lost in the process. And if you add extra sugar to your juice, you’re exacerbating the problem and adding empty calories. Instead of juicing veggies, you can mix them to receive the nutrients you need without sacrificing fiber.
Adding Oil to the Vegetables
Smothering your vegetables in oil to cook them in less time and without adhering to the pan may seem like a good idea, but it actually increases the danger of burning and nutrient loss. Because the oil will become incredibly heated and expose your food to high temperatures, antioxidants, moisture, and flavor will be lost. Instead, brush the pan with extra virgin olive oil to prevent food from sticking.
Not thoroughly cleaning them prior to cooking
There’s a good risk you’re eating chemical residues that can induce nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain if you don’t wash your vegetables thoroughly or at all. Even if the vegetables are organic or from your garden, they must be washed because pathogens can still be present. Soak your vegetables for 10-15 minutes in clean water before giving them a brief rinse under running water to ensure that they are clean and safe to eat.
Not cooking them in any way
Heat degrades the nutritious value of vegetables, although not always. Surprisingly, heat can sometimes improve the availability of nutrients, making them healthier. Heat enhances carotenoids and phenolics, two important forms of antioxidants, as it does in tomatoes and carrots. Furthermore, cooking them enhances their flavor, and if they taste nice, you are more inclined to consume them. To ensure healthy eating, use cooking methods such as blanching, steaming, or stir-frying.
Making Them Boil
Want to avoid the extra fats that come with frying? Why not try cooking your vegetables? Although it appears to be a nice concept, it is not. Water-soluble vitamins including vitamin C, B1, and folate seep into the water when vegetables are cooked, reducing their nutritional value. Furthermore, you will have mushy, unsightly vegetables. So, unless you’re cooking a soup, don’t boil your vegetables. Steaming, roasting, or baking are all options.
Cutting Your Vegetables Too Soon
Pre-cut vegetables are extremely popular. They are time-saving and easy, but cutting them too soon results in nutrient and moisture loss. The three main elements that cause nutrient loss are oxygen, light, and heat, and cutting them too soon exposes them to the first two. Freshly cut vegetables also add a lovely crisp and attractive color to your dishes, making them more appealing and delectable.
Cooking them, in the same manner, each time
Prepare to experiment in the kitchen with different combinations of spices, herbs, and veggies because you don’t have to cook your vegetables, in the same manner, every time. They can be prepared in a variety of ways. To get a unique and flavorful taste, experiment with different cooking methods and spice combinations. Furthermore, you will not become bored eating the same vegetables and will be more likely to consume more.
Filling the pan too full
We frequently place all of the ingredients in the pan at the same time to prepare the dinner ahead of time; while this is a sensible technique, it also has drawbacks. When you crowd the pan, the temperature drops, causing the food to stick, release all of the moisture, and produce inconsistent flavor and texture. If you’re cooking for a large group, you can use multiple frying pans at the same time to keep everything at the same temperature.
Failing to remember the marinade
Marinating food before grilling provides flavor as well as a protective layer to the food, which stops veggies from blackening too much and generating carcinogenic compounds while still keeping them moist and tasty. Soak your vegetables in your favorite flavors for a few hours before grilling and enjoy nutritious, delicious vegetables.
Vegetables that are under seasoned
Some tasteless vegetables? Who would want that? The flavor appeals to humans, and the seasoning was created for a specific purpose: to spice up your food. Garlic, thyme, turmeric, vinegar, and broth are all good options for marinating vegetables. It will not only offer your supper a distinct flavor, but it will also fill your kitchen with a lovely aroma, making vegetable time more enjoyable and exciting.
Discard the cooking liquid
Cooking water needed to produce boiled or steamed vegetables should not be discarded. It is a valuable resource. You can use the water from boiled veggies to make creams, soups, risottos, and minestrone soup, for example, as if it were a broth. Steamed vegetable cooking water can also be used to prepare other dishes. Even when washing veggies, never wastewater. Collect water in a bowl and reuse it for things like dishwashing.
So, are you ready to properly cook your vegetables now? These simple strategies drastically alter the flavor and nutritional value of the food. The most important thing is to eat veggies, regardless of how they are prepared; eating any vegetables is preferable to eating none. Add two to three cups of veggies to your daily diet and prepare to enjoy a beautiful and healthy life; you deserve it.