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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cooking Methods

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Most of us know many ways with which to cook our meats and vegetables. What we don’t know, we consult cook books which tell us how to steam, bake, boil, fry, saute, microwave and so on.

However, what the cook book don’t usually say is that these different cooking methods can enhance, retain or subtract the nutritional value of our food. In fact cooking techniques like deep frying may actually cause more harm than good to our health.

Frying or Deep Frying

This technique cooks food with oil over high heat for a prolonged period. It is one of the common ways of cooking and, unfortunately, one of the least healthy. Prolonged frying over high heat can destroy nutrients in food. And the oil is absorbed by the food, so you are adding more fat to your meals.

You should also pay attention to oil temperature. While oil reaches a very high temperature it becomes toxic and free radicals are produced. When oil smokes, you should throw it away. If you absolutely have to deep fry, use lots of kitchen towels to absorb excess oil from foods like french fries, fish, calamari etc.

Stir Frying or Sauteing

Stir frying or sauteing is probably the healthiest way to fry since it involves very little oil. Used extensively in Asian cooking, this technique involves cooking food quickly with very little oil over high heat. Because it is one of the fastest ways to cook, vegetables high in vitamins, such as broccoli and carrots, retain more nutrients, as well as maintain their texture and color.

Pan Frying

This technique uses even less oil than stir frying. Sometimes no oil is required at all, especially when you use non stick pans. However, some nutrients may be lost due to prolonged frying.


Boiling has a bad reputation in the cooking community as not only does it suck out nutrients, it just about kills all the taste in food. Boiling is only ideal when you’re making soup, since you’ll be drinking the nutrient-enriched boiled water!


This is when food is cooked by placing on a rack or special steaming equipment over boiling water, or in a covered pan with boiling water. It is just about the healthiest way to cook as steaming preserves the vitamins and minerals in food. It also uses little or no fat and even helps melt some of the excess fats in foods. When you steam food, you also eliminate the danger of consuming carcinogens that are present in blackened/fried foods.


The most controversial cooking technique of our times, microwaving involves heating food by altering the magnetic polarity of their atom – the positive pole id made negative and then positive, and vice versa. Conventional cooking, on the other hand, heats foods by friction.

As far as nutritional value is concerned, microwaving does retain a good percentage of nutrients, though not as great as stir frying or steaming. However, there is contention that this cooking method may affect immunity and blood cells. The jury is still out on exactly how safe or damaging microwaving is.

Pressure Cooking

Slightly less common in local households, pressure cooking reduces cooking time by up to 70%. Since food cooks fast and little or zero oil is used, this method of cooking brings out the flavor with minimal nutrient loss.

Baking or Roasting

Food is cooked by dry heat generated in an oven. Since little or no oil is used in baking, it is a relatively healthy way to cook.

Grilling or Barbecuing

Both methods require foods to be placed on racks and roasted over coals, under a flame, or in an electric unit. Fat is usually melted by the high heat and drained away. However, due to the blackening or “burning” of the food, carcinogens may be present in the cooked food.

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I've always been someone who was interested in cooking Food network has expanded my skill and interest.

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