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Cooking fresh vegetables

With all the squash and pumpkin available right now, finding a relatively quick and simple way to cook it while losing as few nutrients as possible is the goal of most home chefs. But what method of cooking these large and often intimidating vegetables is best?

Several recipes I experimented with this season required slicing a squash in half and roasting it in the oven for a long period of time at a high temperature. This method is time consuming in that it requires you plan your meal very far in advance. Upon the vegetable being fully cooked, one must then wait for the vegetable cool before removing the meat from the skin. A much easier method is peeling, chopping and boiling cubes of these vegetables until appropriately tender. This method seems to be easier and quicker (20 minutes versus 2 hours) while still giving the same end product. 

Unfortunately both of the methods above can remove a large percentage of the nutrients of the vegetables themselves. So what is one to do instead? Ironically the quickest, easiest and most nutritional way to cook vegetables is to microwave them. No water needs to be added - vegetables already hold so much - so the nutrients are not lost to the water it in which it is cooking. Additionally, because you are cooking the vegetable so quickly the nutrients are not lost to the air. Steaming provides similar benefits, though some water is needed and it takes a little longer than microwaving, meaning a some nutrients will be lost.

So whether you're cooking squash to eat it with just a little herb and butter, or if you're mashing it to put it in your pies or cookies, try peeling it and putting it into chunks and microwaving it until tender!


  • Carol 5 years ago

    I will definitely try microwaving instead of boiling or baking. I have never microwaved some of the winter squash - I have done yellow squash - but will definitely try the winter squash. Thanks for the hint