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Best and worst ways for cooking vegetables.

junescook Jan 3, 2013 06:53 AM

We have vegetables every day with at least our main meal, and whlle the microwave is my goto tool, I also like to roast and saute them as well. When I read this article from Organic Gardening citing a Spanish study that tracked antioxident levels resulting from each method, I thought it might be of interest to some folks.


  1. ChefJune Jan 11, 2013 11:45 AM

    The only reason veggies ever get near boiling water at Chez Julia is for a blanch. Then comes the saute. Roasted veggies are great, too.

    1. p
      Puffin3 Jan 11, 2013 05:35 AM

      Worst is boiling. Absolute best is 'SV 'in some clarified butter then sautéed for a bit of gentle searing. If you've got a thermometer and a big pot with a lid and a Zip lock bag you have a 'SV' machine. Veg finished 'SV' temp is about 175-180 F. Longer time for 'hard' less time for 'soft' veg.

      1. h
        Harters Jan 3, 2013 09:41 AM

        We fry, boil, steam or roast vegetables - depending on which vegetable and the result we want.

        1. t
          treb Jan 3, 2013 09:27 AM

          Really enjoy roasting veggies, develops a great flavor and texture.

          1. egit Jan 3, 2013 09:17 AM

            I'm sorry, but whenever I see an article like that I usually accompany it with a vigorous eye-roll and a pronouncement of "Malarkey."

            If roasting veggies makes them lose 50% of their antioxidants, then if you're worried about that, eat twice as many veggies. Obviously boiling isn't ideal, but microwaving and steaming are essentially the same thing. I have a very hard time believing that a quick sautee in hot olive oil will quantifiably lower the nutrients in your food than a 60 second blast of microwaves. Yeah, it'll add some fat, but sometimes the health-zealots need to be reined in a bit with that stuff.

            6 Replies
            1. re: egit
              goodhealthgourmet Jan 3, 2013 11:36 AM

              Yeah, it'll add some fat, but sometimes the health-zealots need to be reined in a bit with that stuff.
              Adding fat to vegetables is a good thing - some of the nutrients can't be absorbed otherwise.

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                eviemichael Jan 11, 2013 02:34 AM

                Is this true for all vegetables? Goodie! Pass the butter! Just kidding...kind of.

                1. re: eviemichael
                  goodhealthgourmet Jan 11, 2013 11:10 AM

                  Haha! A, D, E & K are the fat-soluble vitamins, so it applies to pretty much all vegetables - greens, herbs, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, squash, cucumber, sweet potatoes, asparagus, cabbage...you get the idea ;)

                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                    eviemichael Jan 11, 2013 11:21 AM

                    Well, kidding aside, it is good to know that a small drizzle of olive oil or small pat of butter has more benefits that I thought. :)

                    1. re: eviemichael
                      ipsedixit Jan 11, 2013 11:24 AM

                      EVOO? Butter? P'shaw.

                      It's why I have a steak with my head of broccoli. No one really goes to a steakhouse for the beef, right? It's always for the steamed head of broccoli and you *only* order a steak to make sure you can absorb all the vitamins in that head of broccoli.

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        egit Jan 11, 2013 01:39 PM

                        I thought I was the only one.

            2. weezieduzzit Jan 3, 2013 08:22 AM

              We don't even own a microwave, I think it does terrible things to good food. We pulled the one that came with this house out and set it on the curb with a FREE sign.

              I think it's most important to just eat a lot of vegetables of all different colors and eat them all the time. Then you can cook them in whatever way sounds best to you at the time (variety!) without worrying about a slight percentage loss in the nutrient count compared to another method. Plus, worrying about it all the time takes the enjoyment out of eating.

              1. ipsedixit Jan 3, 2013 08:14 AM

                Y'know what's the "best" way to cook vegetables?

                The way that tastes the best to you.

                Because if it doesn't taste good to you, you ain't going to eat it, and no matter how healthy it is, it's not going to do you any good sitting there on the plate (as opposed to in your digestive system).

                2 Replies
                1. re: ipsedixit
                  juliejulez Jan 3, 2013 09:04 AM

                  ^^^ this.

                  I do use my microwave for steaming broccoli... just because it's easy. But I prefer roasting pretty much anything, it just takes more time.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    tardigrade Jan 11, 2013 05:19 PM

                    Couldn't agree more!

                  2. p
                    Puffin3 Jan 3, 2013 08:01 AM

                    SV if you have the time otherwise roasting or steaming. I NEVER boil veg.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Puffin3
                      biondanonima Jan 3, 2013 12:02 PM

                      I roast or saute 99% of the time. The only time a vegetable sees steam or water in my house is if it needs to be blanched quickly or are going to be pureed. I detest boiled vegetables - my mother boiled ALL vegetables when I was growing up and I couldn't stand it.

                    2. Uncle Bob Jan 3, 2013 08:00 AM

                      We raise, freeze, can, and cook a lot of vegetables. Methods of cooking depend on the recipe and/or what final outcome is desired. ~ A microwave is never part of the equation.

                      1. m
                        Maximilien Jan 3, 2013 07:23 AM

                        As long as it tastes good and fit my current mood, I can cook (or not) vegetables the way I like.

                        caveat that frying vegetable might not be the "best" way to cook them, once it a while will not kill you.

                        (sorry to burst the bubble)
                        The article does not link to the actual Spanish study, so it is probably fake or comes from a non-peered review study.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Maximilien
                          junescook Jan 3, 2013 01:12 PM

                          Maybe this is the abstract re the study:


                          also interesting:


                        2. HillJ Jan 3, 2013 06:58 AM

                          I own a microwave but I'm not a big fan of them. Sure they heat things up quickly but I usually have a steam pot or water boil going for quick parboils during a meal prep.

                          My absolute favorite way to enjoy 'most' vegetables is still washed well, thinly sliced, tossed in a bit of walnut oil and eaten raw. I like the taste of vegetables. If I'm preparing a more complex vegetable dish or the dish is served hot I rely on steam, a quick dip in hot water or roasting. There are many ways to eat healthy, get those antioxidents and for me a microwave just wouldn't be the method I select.

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