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  • Guest Post: Nancy Wirsing

What's so special about vegetables?

ICYMI, below is an outline of last week's presentation at BAFM. If you want more information, please feel free to contact me at nwirsing44 at gmail dot com. You can check out one of my favorite vegetable recipes here – you'll notice that it incorporates careful preparation methods to maximize and preserve as many nutrients as possible.


     ● Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) in amounts and combinations your body



             ◌ Water soluble

             ◌ Fat soluble


             ◌ Water soluble

             ◌ Alkaline minerals (neutralize acids/prevent demineralization)

     ● Phytonutrients (plant chemical compounds that play invaluable antioxidant,

        detoxification, and anti-inflammatory roles for humans)

     ● Fiber (soluble and insoluble)--the crucial, edible but indigestible components of foods

          Soluble fiber: dissolves in water; forms a viscous gel (sticky, gluey/adhesive quality)

          ◌ Health functions for humans

          ◌ Fragility

          Insoluble fiber: absorbs liquid; found in skin, pulp, stems, stalks, and veins in leaves

          ◌ Health functions for humans

          ◌ Fragility

     ● Omega-3 essential fatty acids

          ◌ Health functions for humans

          ◌ Fragility

     ● Macronutrients (carbohydrates)

2. VEGETABLES SERVE AS INVALUABLE FLAVORING INGREDIENTS IN DISHES. When natural flavor is retained, vegetables can be successfully substituted for fat-, sugar-, salt-, and chemically-laden commercially prepared flavoring ingredients in dishes.

3. CONSERVING VEGETABLE CONTENT IS THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL COOKING. Taking advantage of vegetables requires deliberate conservation of their components (nutritional content, natural color and flavor, skin, pulp, and juice). This means applying simple conservation steps at each stage of the preparation process.

I.  SELECTION: selection of ripe, whole (untrimmed, not broken open, with skin),

         chemical-free (whenever possible, including certified organic and locally produced),

         and colorful produce.

II. STORAGE: protection from air, light and moisture, refrigeration to slow respiration

         and ripening process, wrapping to protect vegetables from air (which causes

         dehydration), from ethylene gas emitted by some vegetables and fruits (like

         bananas), and moisture.

III. PREPARATION: maximum retention of natural juice within the vegetable;

           application of juice protective techniques including careful timing to avoid 


IV. SERVING: use of techniques that protect vegetables from overcooking and liquid

           loss, which includes individual cooking of vegetables and adding them as last

           ingredients to dishes; also selection of dishes served in dry form, like stir fries.

You can try utilizing this cooking and serving methods with one of my favorite recipes, Zucchini, Eggplant, Pepper, Swiss Chard & Onion Steamed Stir Fry. Please feel free to contact me at nwirsing44 at gmail dot com with questions about this information or to inquire about an educational demonstration for your group or event. See you at the Market!

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