Preserving vitamins in fruits and vegetables

Some of the most prominent vitamins found in fruits and vegetables, learn how best to preserve the vitamins.

Common vitamins that are found in eating fruits and vegetables are: Vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, C and folic acid. Michigan State University Extension recommends ways to preserve these essential vitamins.

Some ways to help save the vitamins when using fresh fruits and vegetables is to use low heat, if any when preparing. Only cut off the parts of the fruit or vegetable that may be bruised. Leaving the skin on fruits like apples and pears add to the amount of vitamins already available in the fruit. When fruit has been peeled and air hits the fruit, the vitamins in the fruit start to break down. Keeping fruits and vegetables cool helps to preserve the vitamins. Potatoes, onions, bananas and tomatoes do not need to be kept cool in order to save their vitamins. 

Frozen fruits and vegetables tend to have the best nutrients because of the cold temperature and lack of air exposure. Canned and dried fruits are just as healthy and packed with vitamins as they are fresh and frozen counterparts and need to be stored in cool dry places. Make to check sodium content when purchasing canned goods.

If you are going to add fats to your vegetables, to do so sparingly and after you have cooked the vegetables. This is because when we cook the vegetables in water or other liquids and add butter or other oils to the cooking process, it all gets drained off before the dish makes it to the table. This in turns means that the vitamins have been poured down the drain, while fat has been added to your vegetables. Vitamins B, C and Folate acid are water soluble, while Vitamin A is fat soluble.

Here is a fun recipe that incorporates both fruits and veggies:

Mango Salsa (Cooking Matters, 73)

Ingredients

2 large ripe mangoes

1 small cucumber

2 medium green onions

1 medium jalapeno pepper

2 medium limes

½ teaspoon salt

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions

1. Rinse mangoes, cucumber, green onions, jalapeno pepper and limes.

2. Peel mangoes. Cut mango flesh from pits.

3. Cut cucumber in half lengthwise. Remove seeds.

4. Dice mangoes and cucumber. Finely chop green onions.

5. Cut jalapeno pepper in half lengthwise. Remove stems and seeds and dice.

6. Cut limes in half. Squeeze juice from each half into a medium bowl. Discard seeds.

7. Add mangoes, cucumber, green onions, jalapeno, salt and cayenne pepper to bowl with the juice. Mix well.

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