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Cooking & Nutrients/Oxidation - Temperature or Time?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 18, 2012 at 5:54 PM

When cooking, what's worse - high temperatures over a short time, or lower temperatures for a longer time?

Example 1 - Salmon

Everyone's always telling me to steam, poach or bake salmon so as to not oxidize the Omega-3's. In my opinion the best way to ruin fish is to throw it in the oven; I much prefer a sear in a smoking hot cast-iron pan. However, I like my salmon very rare - seared on the outside, sushi on the inside. Have you ever had rare steamed salmon? I haven't - whenever I bake, steam or poach salmon it ends up getting cooked all the way through, which I'd think would oxidize more fats. So what's better for PUFA preservation - a rare sear, or steaming all the way through?

Example 2 - Broccoli

I've heard that Vitamin C is very sensitive to heat, and is rapidly denatured by cooking. However, here's some data on broccoli from NutritionData: Broccoli, Raw - 27mg Vit C. Broccoli, Boiled (who the hell boils broccoli?) - 24mg Vit. C. I used "5-Inch Spear" as the quantity to avoid change in weight through cooking. So that's only a 12% decrease in Vitamin C levels. Is that because Vitamin C is more hardy than we thought, or does it just take higher temps to denature? Again, I like to saute broccoli at high temp but for a short time, leaving it crunchy on the inside. So what's better for C preservation, a crunchy saute or steaming all the way through?

A0f2f0f632d42215944a798486bddde1

(1377)

on March 19, 2012
at 03:04 PM

I actually do get sushi-grade salmon; a local farmer has a guy who brings him salmon from fishing trips in Alaska, and it's deep-frozen on the way down. When I bought salmon from the grocery store it was marked as "previously frozen" as well, and between the two I've never had any problems.

4781cf8ae1bfcb558dfb056af17bea94

(4359)

on March 19, 2012
at 03:37 AM

You are liable to get worms very soon if you eat salmon this way. Sushi grade salmon is previously frozen (at very low temps) to kill the parasites. Fresh salmon behind the fish counter is meant to be cooked through. Nobody cooks fresh salmon like tuna steaks...

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2 Answers

1
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 18, 2012
at 08:17 PM

I would take a quick sear over long and slow. Because you are searing the outside and leaving the inside basically raw...

Howevev if you are not searing than slow and long is best.

If you are cooking eggs then boiled or poached is best. Scrambled is worse because of breaking the yolk.

For brocolli it looks like steaming is the way to go: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=9

0
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on March 18, 2012
at 08:07 PM

I would take a quick sear over long and slow. Because you are searing the outside and leaving the inside basically raw...

Howevev if you are not searing than slow and long is best.

If you are cooking eggs then boiled or poached is best. Scrambled is worse because of breaking the yolk.

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