Cooking Vegetables in Water

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Christina S

Preserving vegetable nutrients

Can you please comment on the best cooking methods to preserve nutrients, such as loss of water soluble vitamins while boiling vs steaming or microwaving.

Thank you

Dawn T
Rouxbe Staff

Re: Preserving vegetable nutrients

Many say that steaming is the best way to preserve nutrients; however I am not an expert in this field.

Hera are a few articles that I found after doing a quick search. These may be of some help to you. I have not thoroughly read them myself, but they are all talking about this same issue.

Hope this helps!

Christina S

Nutrients in different vegetables

Thanks very much for the links. This is an interesting one that describes the different nutrients from different color families of produce. It is good to be colorful!

Brittany K

Cold water

I might have missed this, but why would you use cold water to bring to a boil versus warm or hot? isn't boiled water hot anyway?

Dawn T
Rouxbe Staff

Re: Why Start With Cold Water

Here is another thread that asks and answers this question. Cheers!

Ken R

weight of 1 tsp of salt?

I have different salts at home (table salt, kosher salt) and know that the difference in weight between them can be significant. In this lesson you suggest 1 teaspoon of salt per liter of water. Can you tell me what weight of salt you have in mind?

Dawn T
Rouxbe Staff

Re: Weight of 1 tsp of Salt?

In the lesson on "How to Season With Salt" we do talk about the different salts. We mention that we generally use table salt to salt water for boiling.

Some chefs use sea salt to season their water which is fine as well, it just more expensive.

The kosher salt I would save for cooking and seasoning food, not for cooking things in boiling water.

As for weighting the salt, I don't think it is necessary in this case as it is only being used to salt the water. Cheers!

Donald D

Two thoughts...

1) There was no mention of using a Microwave to cook frozen vegetables. I find it does a terrific job on frozen peas (& corn), retaining their vibriant colour & producing an al dente texture, saving time & energy.

2)There was also no comment on using the cooking water, as perhaps liquid for a soup, etc. My dear old Mom, used to use potato water when making gravy, presumably to add little starch & flavour?
(or maybe because in her day, you tried not to waste anything)

Kimberley S
Rouxbe Staff

RE: Microwave, Leftover Cooking Water

Thanks for your input. While we try our best to be as concise as possible in our lessons, we simply cannot cover every point. We do not focus on microwave cooking in our lessons; we focus on the methods taught in professional culinary schools. If you prefer to use the microwave, that is fine. What is important is to not overcook the vegetables. And, yes, you can definitely use leftover cooking water for other applications as it often has plenty of flavor and nutrients. Cheers!

Alan B

Salting the Water

I usually salt my water for vegetables and pasta as I place the pot with water on the stove. Is there a significant difference by waiting till boiled ?

Dawn T
Rouxbe Staff

Re: Salting the Water

It is better to add the salt to boiling water as it will dissolve more rapidly. Also, if you forget about the water and it reduces at all, prior to adding the salt, it will do so without the salt reducing.

If, however, you add the salt at the beginning, just make sure to stir so it completely dissolves. Keep an eye on the water level too so that the water doesn't over reduce and become too salty. Sometimes that pot of water can be boiling for a long time before you actually are ready to add the pasta. Just something to keep in mind. Cheers!

Merve K

Which vegetables go bad faster or slower after blanching?

I make my own lunches to take to work and while I usually end up doing most of the cooking in the morning, I'm trying to save some time by keeping some sides in the fridge for say, 5-7 days, almost ready to go. I understand that blanching, not boiling, will help me achieve this for vegetables. My question is about what types of vegetables will only last 1-2 days, and which will last a full week without going bad?

Tony M
Rouxbe Staff


Good question. The harder vegetables. like carrots, even cauliflower, will laster longer than the soft ones like like green beans. Lightly coating the vegetables with qaulity olive oil (it is high in anit-oxidants) will extend its shelf life, especially green vegetables.

Glad to hear someone wakes up in the morning cooking other than myself.

Merve K

Re: Blanching

Does sugar have anything to do with longer preservation times? I've seen some stuff about the addition of a small amount of sugar helping some sides keep longer (for vegetables and eggs). Any thoughts on this?

Tony M
Rouxbe Staff

Re: Blanching

Sugar is a preservative. It might help, though to what degree, I'm not sure. Honey, I suspect, might even work better than sugar.

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