Produce is a significant part of our diet and we prepare it in many different ways. Typically we eat our produce raw or we cook it using various methods such as frying, boiling and steaming. Trying to determine the best way to prepare your produce in order to get the highest amount of nutrients can be challenging. Below is a comprehensive guide highlighting 10 of the most popular fruits and vegetables, and explains the best way to prepare them for maximum nutritional value.
Highest Nutritional Value: (RAW or STEAMED) Nutrients in celery such as Vitamin A, Vitamin, C, Vitamin K and Potassium, are most profound when they are raw and most nutritious when consumed in this state. Additionally, the water retention helps to preserve these nutrients as well, so steaming the celery is encouraged. Any methods of preparation that will evaporate the water such as cooking it stove-top or in the microwave, will devalue the nutritional content.
Storage & Preservation: Cut leaves accordingly and immediately soak in a bowl of filtered water. Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Highest Nutritional Value: (RAW) Based the unique fats in avocados, it is best to enjoy this fruit in its raw form. Although heat is not recommended in regard to nutritional value, heating it minimally in the microwave or adding it to a warm meal will not significantly effect its health benefits.
Storage & Preservation: Once pealed and cut, store remaining avocado in a plastic sandwich bag and freeze.
Highest Nutritional Value: (RAW or COOKED) The unique power nutrient in broccoli is sulforaphane and absorbed into the human body only when it is raw.
Although the benefits of sulforphane are blocked once heat is added, there are other nutrients in broccoli that will actually increase in nutritional value when it is cooked like Vitamin E, Vitamin A and Vitamin K.
Storage & Preservation: For short term storage, place remaining broccoli in a plastic bag, poke a few holes in it and refrigerate. For long term storage place it in a plastic bag without poking holes and put it in the freezer immediately after purchase.
Highest Nutritional Value: (RAW) Although apples are favored among most when they are cooked or baked, the heat completely strips this delicious fruit from its most prominent nutrient, Vitamin C. It is best to enjoy apples fresh, and for optimized nutrition leave the skin on, which contains more than half the fiber.
Storage & Preservation: Bundle each apple in paper wrap and place in plastic bag. Tie off the bag and refrigerate.
Highest Nutritional Value: (COOKED) Studies from UA experiments have revealed that cooking carrots increases its nutritional value based on carotene levels. Carotene is a powerful antioxidant in carrots that provides high nutritional value.
Storage & Preservation: For short term storage cut accordingly and store in sealed plastic bag with a couple pieces of paper towel and refrigerate. For long term storage follow the same steps and freeze.
Highest Nutritional Value: (COOKED) Lycopene, the strong antioxidant rich in tomatoes, is increased significantly when tomatoes are cooked. Cornell University explained that although cooking the tomatoes will reduce the Vitamin C, it will still remain an active nutrient even after cooking.
Storage & Preservation: For best taste and overall appearance it is best to eat them right after purchase, if you must store them, make it as temporary as possible and leave them room temperature. If you need to store them for more than 48 hours, it is best that you refrigerate them, however, doing so will have an effect on taste and appearance.
Highest Nutritional Value: (RAW or COOKED) Sulfur compounds are slightly higher in raw onions but statistics show that they are highly nutritious raw or cooked due to the powerful antioxidant it contains called Quercetin and also the B Vitamin compounds, fiber and folic acid.
Storage & Preservation: Place in paper bag and poke a few holes. Close the bag and store room temperature.
Highest Nutritional Value: (COOKED) Most enjoy bananas raw as it is a quick and delicious way to eat them. However, nutritional statistics show that bananas have a greater percentage of vitamins and nutrients when they are cooked versus eating them raw.
Storage & Preservation: Store at room temperature and eat them shortly after purchase.Wrap tips of bananas in plastic wrap to help reduce rotting. If you need to store them for more than 48 hours, purchase them unripened.
Highest Nutritional Value: (RAW) The most nutritious component to peppers is Vitamin C which dissolves in water and other liquids when cooked. It is best to eat them raw when Vitamin C is fully intact.
Storage & Preservation: For short term storage place in a plastic bag ad poke a few holes and refrigerate. For long term storage follow the same steps without poking any holes and place in the freezer.
Highest Nutritional Value: (RAW or COOKED) Berries are a delicious snack packed full of vitamins and antioxidants. Their nutritional value relatively stays the same whether they are cooked or eaten raw, with the exception of Vitamin C which is reduced significantly after being cooked.
Storage & Preservation: Berries are best consumed right after purchase. If you need to store them short term, place them in a plastic storage container and refrigerate. For long term storage follow the same steps and freeze.
Using produce for creative meals can also be fun and tasty. Have a look at the video tutorial below by Dr. Eric Berg, illustrating how to make Cauliflower Pizza Crust. Many recipes for this type of pizza crust include using a technique that calls for squeezing as much liquid out of the cauliflower as possible. The water stored in the cauliflower holds almost all of the nutrients. Presumably, this is why Dr. Berg does not squeeze the water out of the cauliflower as he wants to ensure that he gets all the healthy nutrients he can out of the it. The effects of moisture reduction can be detrimental to the nutrients in cauliflower. Many would argue that in order to execute a successful Cauliflower Pizza Crust, you should squeeze out the water in the cauliflower, otherwise the crust is likely to fall apart. If you choose to use this method, remember to never let good nutrients go to waste – you can still use the liquid from your cauliflower after you’ve squeezed it out by adding it to other recipes such as smoothies or homemade juice drinks.
Time for you to prepare your produce in the healthiest ways possible. Now that you’ve reviewed this guide, it should help you to make the best nutritional decisions for you and your family so you can make terrific healthy organic recipes of your own!