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Is cooking better than frying?

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Anne Mary
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I like to lightly fry my veg, then add some liquid and cook till they’re done. However, I have the feeling that with sautéing you lose more nutrients, beause it’s hotter.
Can anyone tell me what difference it makes nutrition-wise, if you regularly sauté, instead of cook your veg?
By the way, I always use the cooking water for soup!

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amy green
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I like to lightly fry my veg, then add some liquid and cook till they’re done. However, I have the feeling that with sautéing you lose more nutrients, beause it’s hotter.
Can anyone tell me what difference it makes nutrition-wise, if you regularly sauté, instead of cook your veg?
By the way, I always use the cooking water for soup!

Yes it would seem that some nutrients are adversely affected...see under 'heat sensitive nutrients'

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Anne Mary
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Thank you. However, I knew this, more or less. My question was rather: what is the difference between cooking and sauteing? I once read that sauteing is worse for some veg and some nutrients, as it's hotter.
Actually, just found it in my files:

Losses of carotenoids increase in the following order: microwaving < steaming < boiling < sautéing. Deep-frying, prolonged cooking, combination of several methods, baking and pickling all result in substantial losses. Freezing/frozen storage generally preserve carotenoids, but slow thawing can be detrimental, particularly when not properly blanched.”

I seem to have lost the source of this.
So it's the carotenoids: beta-carotene, lycopene, all good anti-oxidants. If I get it right!

On the other hand:

when food is fried, much of the vitamin E is lost. Vitamins B-1, B-2, B-6 and C and minerals are better retained in the process of frying than in boiling, steaming or stewing. When the vegetables are sautéd or stir-fried, loss of beta-carotene is kept to a minimum.

On the third hand, (if you have that many):

Sautéed vegetables retain their and minerals, as well as taste and colour.

So .... I think I have to watch out for the carotenoid-loss, but generally sauteing brings out the flavour and that’s worth something!

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amy green
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Yes Anne Mary - if it helps to make sense of this, Vit A is fat soluble.

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Anne Mary
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I have all my veg with plenty of butter!

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(@mashe)
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sautéing makes it really hotter only in the edges so maybe you lose some but not all. And it's worth it i think.

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Anne Mary
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Especially if you add some spices ....

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Evansura
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Especially if you add some spices ....

Well, now i want some sautéed vegies... Look what you did 😉

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(@mikee888)
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I am cooking my vegetables always, because I think that this method is healthier.

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Crowan
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I am cooking my vegetables always, because I think that this method is healthier.

Why?

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(@webcrest)
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cooking is always better. you fry the veg as it is,and it will significant amount of fats

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Crowan
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Why?

I ask because 'cooking' is generally defined as preparing and heating food and therefore frying, sautéing, boiling, baking etc. are all cooking. So, mikee888, how are you cooking and what is it healthier than?

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Anne Mary
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What I do these days is: I cook half, and saute half, and then mix them together: better taste, with still more nutrients than if I had cooked it all.

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Crowan
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I repeat: what do you mean by 'cook'?

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Anne Mary
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Boil a bit of water, throw it in, take it out when soft. Don't like steaming for it takes too long before veg is soft enough for my liking. I eat lots of them, homegrown, so get enough vitamins and minerals anyway. Love A.

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Crowan
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So 'cooking' = boiling?

Okay. That helps me make more sense of the entire thread. Although the generally accepted and dictionary definition of 'cooking' is preparing and heating food to eat. Therefore, it would include steaming, grilling, frying, baking et al.

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Anne Mary
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Sorry to have confused you - I think it's one of those words which can have two meanings, and it all depends on the context which is intended. xA

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Crowan
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Could you please direct me to a dictionary that defines 'cook' as 'boil'? Thanks.
By the way, steaming should take less time than boiling since it is at a higher temperature.

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Anne Mary
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"direct me to a dictionary that defines 'cook' as 'boil'?" (I always forget how to properly quote in HP, please forgive me.)
I can't find that, so I must be wrong. Bloody foreigners, corrupting the language!

"steaming should take less time than boiling since it is at a higher temperature."
Not the way I do it - in a steamer pan on top of another one with boiling water.

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Anne Mary
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Interesting! My mistake does indeed stem from being Dutch: in Holland, 'koken' has the two meanings described above. So I assumed that the same held in English, which it doesn't. Thirty-five years of confusion .... I wonder what mishaps and misunderstandings I have caused along the way?
Thank you for enlightening me, at last.

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Crowan
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"steaming should take less time than boiling since it is at a higher temperature."
Not the way I do it - in a steamer pan on top of another one with boiling water.

Water boils at 100 degrees C (I'm assuming you are near enough sea level for this to hold true - although in relative heat it won't change what I'm saying here) and above that temperature is water vapour. Steam is the stage where water vapour is cooling to become water again. So the water in your pan is up to 100 degrees. Even with a lid to catch and condense the vapour, by the time it is back in the water it has cooled below 100 degrees. In the steamer, at the level of your vegetables, is vapour - by definition over 100 degrees. It cools to steam as it rises and escapes into the atmosphere.
To see this in action, look at the spout of a boiling kettle from the side. You will see that the steam starts a little way above the spout. The invisible bit is water vapour and is hotter than both the steam and the boiling water.

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Crowan
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By the way (a bit off topic here!) I really like your blog.
Last month's - worth saying that urine is going to be darker naturally on first waking up?
This month's - fat can help you lose weight, but only if you don't have too many refines or starchy carbohydrates with it.
These aren't in any way criticisms - just the things that occur to me as I'm reading it and would mention if we were chatting over a cup of tea.:)

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Anne Mary
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Well, then there must be another reason why it always takes longer to get veg ready for eating in a steamer than in boiling water for me. Prejudice?

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Anne Mary
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I suspect my steamer isn't very good then - maybe it doesn't hold the temperature, or I fill it up too much.

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