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true or false? nutrients cook out of vegetables in stock?

So... i had chicken stock simmering on the stove when my mother in-law was over yesterday. She so politely told me I was making it wrong. She said to add the veg the last hour of cooking otherwise you cook the nutrients out of the stock. Is this true??
I could understand if I were planning to eat the vegetables. They would be a mushy tasteless mess after cooking for hours.
Any have any theories on this?

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  1. Boiling can leach out nutrients from vegetables, the nutrients end up in the stock

    Some vitamins are heat sensative some vitamins are water soluble some are oil soluble.

    MIL is both correct (heat sensitive) and incorrect (soluble)

    1 Reply
    1. re: Alan408

      She said the nutrients would be cooked out of the stock as well. I found an article online stating the same thing. Will I change the way I've always made stock? Probably not

    2. I take a different approach to the nutrients in stock. I don't care if there are any nutrients from vegetables in my chicken stock. I go for bone broth. I add a bit of vinegar and simmer the bones long enough to get all the minerals out if them. The bones are very much weak and brittle. Those minerals are in the stock.

      Then I eat my veggies cooked correctly :)

      3 Replies
      1. re: sedimental

        I agree, the stock is not really a vehicle for nutrition from vegetables but rather from bones aka gelatin and minerals. The vegetables I use as aromatics and not as a source of vegetable intake.

        1. re: sedimental

          Years ago, a former co-worker told me about a Chinese custom of giving pigs feet cooked with vinegar to new mothers

          The vinegar leached calcium from the bones into the stock

          1. re: Alan408

            I read about adding vinegar to stock on a blog a long time ago but have been too afraid to try it!! I remember it being a very small amount of vinegar, like a few tbsp. But you have to cook the stock for a long time. A few people left comments on this blog about the stock tasting like vinegar:( yuck! They either didn't cook it long enough or put in too much.

        2. Where does she think the nutrients go? Into the broth! I always put the veggies in at the beginning, and toss them out when we're done. (though I used to always fish out the super-soft carrots and eat them. Yum!) That was what my mother taught me... :P I think she's getting confused with over-boiled veggies where you toss out the water and wash the nutrients down the drain...

          1. Which nutrients is your MIL referring to? Vitamins are more likely to be compromised than minerals, especially the water-soluble Bs and C. Fat-soluble A, D, E & K - not so much. The minerals are much more stable.

            When I make stock, we do not eat the vegetables used for simmering - I add them for flavor, not nutrients. After discarding the stock vegetables, most people add fresh vegetables which are cooked for a relatively short time to make whatever soup is to be served. Perhaps your MIL has confused the two?
            Edit: I changed out the last sentence because my first one was impolite to your well-meaning MIL.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sherri

              Sherri pretty much gave the whole story.

              I hope your MIL is not depending just on the vegetables employed in stockmaking for her basic vitamins. On the other hand, it might reassure her to know that the natural MSG in meat stocks (consisting of naturally occurring glutamic acid and sodium -- the same components that commercial MSG becomes, once it enters your mouth) are relatively durable in cooking. :-)

            2. You're MIL is wrong, in my opinion. In any case - for me it's all about the flavor. As others have said - I discard the vegies (onion, carrots and celery) that have been used to make the stock and add fresh if making soup. I can't imagine making stock without the vegies in!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jeanne

                My MIL means well...lol she still rubs Crisco all over her thanksgiving turkey! I didn't think it was true, and knew I could count on some expert opinions here:)

              2. Some vegs better eat raw or slightly steamed to retain its nutrients. However, if you boil them use just a little water and little or no salt; and I would drink the stock like tea. My mom made us drink this stock while growing up as not to waste the nutrients.

                1 Reply
                1. re: roro808

                  I drink stock daily like tea 1) I love the taste and 2) I'm after the gelatin and minerals

                2. Don't use vegetables to make stock.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: ipsedixit

                    'The French Laundry' cook book page 220 reads [paraphrasing] '..........vegetables which are boiled in what Keller refers to as "the garbage can" AKA the stock pot in many restaurants (and home kitchens) break down into millions of tiny pieces which Keller refers to as "flavor sponges" which are then strained out of the stock along with the bones etc. Keller doesn't add celery to stocks as he believes celery can add a "bitter taste" to stocks.
                    I make any stock by using only the bones/carcasses. No aromatics need apply. Just a bit of seasoning. When I have very slow simmered this 'mother stock' I freeze it in Zip locks. When I use this 'mother stock' I always add any veg. already pre-steamed a few minutes before serving.
                    This way I get the clear flavor of the stock and the clear favor/s of whatever veg. I have added.
                    This is how I was served probably the best chicken soup I have ever had. It was in a tiny 'ma/pa' Ukrainian restaurant. It was the first course. Just a small bowl of crystal clear chicken broth with one slice of pre-steamed carrot cut diagonally sitting on the bottom of the bowl. Truly amazing!
                    The 'main' was a large white plate with one large golden brown breaded veal cutlet and one large whole peeled steaming hot boiled potato with some more slices of steamed carrot. No gravy. No nothing else.
                    The bill was about three bucks.
                    Lastly I remember 'ma' bringing out the plate on a small wooden serving board. She set the board/plate in front of me and warned: "This plate is very hot!". It was too hot to touch.
                    Where is food like this served anymore other than in rural central Eastern countries?
                    On the side was a large stack of white home made bread slices and a bowl of butter. S&P on the table. That was it.

                    1. re: ipsedixit

                      I guess you've never made stock for Pho or stock for good Jewish matzo ball soup then?

                      So sad.

                      1. re: jjjrfoodie

                        When I make stock it's always at least a gallon and very reduced. That's my 'mother-stock' which I freeze in small Zip-locks. I keep it as 'neutral as I can: just the flavor of the chicken/turkey/beef bones etc.
                        Then when I want to make 'Pho', which I did a few nights ago BTW, I am starting with a clear flavor base to which I can then go in any flavor direction I wish.
                        'Better Than Bouillon' makes very popular 'concentrated' pure base stocks. They do not add any vegetables to their 'meat' stocks. Same with my approach to making a 'pure' versatile stock base.

                        1. re: Puffin3

                          Better Than Boullion adds garlic powder and onion powder to their beef base. I'm not sure this qualifies it as vegetable free.

                    2. For food science I turn to Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking. from page 284 of the 2004 edition
                      "Cooking destroys some of the nutrients in food, but makes many nutrients more easily absorbed."
                      "Cooking generally reduces the nutritional content of fruits and vegetables. There are some important exceptions to this rule, but the levels of most vitamins, antioxidants, and other beneficial substances are diminished by the combination of high temperatures, uncontrolled enzyme activity, and exposure to oxygen and to light. They and minerals can also be drawn out of plant tissues by cooking water."
                      Smile at your mother-in-law and do it your way.