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We consume vegetables because they are right and provide our body with many nutrients essential for maintaining good health. The only problem is that cooking can alter them, particularly their vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. To avoid this, you have to choose a gentle and appropriate method. “The number one rule to know: the hotter and the longer it is, the nutrients they contain have two enemies: water and heat.” They can be sensitive to light, water, air, and above all… heat”. Minerals, on the other hand, are less sensitive but are water-soluble. So no contact with water; otherwise, we lose them. Review the pros and cons of each cooking method.

Cooking with water

We bring a large volume of water to a boil in a saucepan and put our vegetables in it. Only, at the end of the preparation, throw away the cooking water—a bad idea. “To preserve trace elements – present in minerals – is the worst method.


Cooking method without water or adding fat, stewing is the method of our grandmothers. We must not exceed 90 ° C to keep the flavor and crunchiness of the vegetables. “We close the lid of our casserole dish; the vegetable cooked in its water: the water evaporates from the vegetable, is trapped by the top, and then rests on the food.

Steam cooking

We hear over and over again that steaming is the healthiest. Is it true? “The advantage is that it does not destroy all the vitamins, since the temperature is around 100 ° C”, highlights The Marvel Guide. Also, since the vegetables are raised above the water, all the nutrients are retained. This is ideal: the vegetable will thus remain soft and crunchy. The Marvel Guide has her favorite utensil: “The best, for me, is the couscoussier. As it rises, the water vapor carries pesticides and other toxic products and falls down the container’s sides. “And with the famous pressure cooker?” The cooking time is short, but the temperature exceeds 100 ° C”. The pressure cooker and pressure cooker provide aggressive steaming for our small vegetables.

Gentle steam

The ultimate, according to the two professionals, is the gentle vapor. For that, it is necessary to use cookers, cousins ​​of the couscoussier, like the Vitaliseur of Marion, the most famous. The width and number of holes of the screen, the shape, and the dome’s weight allow the water mist to escape to limit the temperature rise. Also, there is only one sieve to prevent nasty grease and toxic residues from entering the food below, unlike multi-deck devices. The gentle steam never exceeds 90-100 ° C.


There are new generation ovens that allow steam cooking. “But, in general, the preparation in the oven is destructive if it exceeds 140 ° C”, warns the dietician nutritionist of the 12th arrondissement. The secret, then, if you don’t have a “low pressure” steam oven (from 40 ° C to 100 ° C)? The softest cooking possible. “All vitamins are sensitive to heat and will be all the more destroyed if the preparation is long,” explains The Marvel Guide. According to Anne-Laure Meunier, a method to be avoided: ” The vegetables are generally cooked for more than an hour.” And there, it is the death of vitamins assured. “Also, from 180 ° C, certain minerals will agglomerate and be less well absorbed by the body”, she continues.


Papillotes preserve the flavor of foods by steaming them. “It is similar to cooking in the oven because it is often the same temperature; on the other hand, the time is reduced.” It remains a steam cooking, therefore less risk of damaging the vegetables. If you choose this cooking method, you must once again use an oven at low temperature.

What fats?

“You have to put the fatty substances after cooking. Otherwise, they become toxic. The most heat resistants are peanut oil and olive oil,” advises sunflower oil or canola oil. Otherwise, at high temperatures, we create trans-fatty acids, which are unhealthy.

Cooking in a pan

To reduce worrying about cooking time, the pan allows you to sear the vegetables. They will be placed in the pan on fire quickly and very shortly. “We will say that they are cooked at 180 ° C for only two minutes. There is no water. Therefore no loss by diffusion and the temperature is lower than in an oven”. The challenge is to limit the heating time.

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