I'm about to ask some dumb newbie questions, so be prepared! ;)
I've always liked my vegetables very soft. I have developed an obsession for brussel sprouts - I put them in a steamer and I leave em in there for probably far too long, because when I take them out they are very soft, and I mash them up (as in I flatten them all with a fork so they are all smooshy - sounds like a Jersey Shore character!) with butter and I loooove the way they taste.
Same with broccoli - I leave it in the steamer until they are very very soft, then I eat them with butter or garlic and olive oil.
I just read I could put brussel sprouts in a pan with garlic and olive oil and eat them crunchy. Well instead I put it on a pan with coconut milk, turmeric and ginger -- I have to say, it tasted ok but I'm just not into the crunch.
Clearly I know nothing about cooking and basic nutrition but I'm hoping to change that.
But my question is - are vegetables just as healthy if I steam em to the degree that they get so soft I can smoosh em around, or are they far more healthy if I leave them as unsteamed/crunchy as possible?
asked byKC_3 (146)
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on September 25, 2012
at 01:33 PM
- Cooking generally decreases vitamin content, but has no or negligible effect on minerals.
- Depending on the method of cooking, minerals and vitamins might leach out into another medium. I.e. if you're cooking vegetables in water, that water will now contain some of the nutrition from the food.
- Steaming is the gentlest form of cooking, followed by boiling and then a pressure cooker. Grilling is the most "intense" and in regards to meat, grilling forms carcinogenic compounds and makes it more difficult to digest.
- Cooking food increases digestibility. The reasons for this are physical (cellulose walls burst open if introduced to enough heat and proteins break down to some degree also) and evolutionary.
- If you were to steam your brussel sprouts until they were crunchy, you would be increasing digestibility while salvaging much of the nutrition. But since humans have no mechanism to properly digest cellulose, the "crunchy" bits are the bits which you're probably not getting much nutiriton from. Steam lightly = less digestibility, more nutrition.
- If you were to steam your brussel sprouts until mushy, you would increase the digestibility to the MAX, but lose some of the nutrition. Steam heavily = more digestibility, less nutrition.
- So now, the obvious question is to asses the cost-benefit analysis: Are you increasing digestibility enough to take advantage of the nutrient in the vegetable or are you ruining the nutrition by cooking until it's soft, at the expense of easier digestion?
- There is no correct answer because THIS is the shit scientists need to do in laboratories instead of coming up with new poisonous pharmaceutical drugs.
IF you have digestive issues: Steam the fuck out of those vegetables until they practically dissolve.
If not: Just tread the middle ground and steam your veggies until they're soft, but not limp.