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Does cutting up root vegetables cause nutrient loss?

Q: To save time I like to prepare all my vegetables for dinner in the morning. Is it possible to do this with root veggies, keeping the nutrients intact? Does soaking root veggies in water leach nutrients? How about cooking them in water?


A: Root vegetables, such as potatoes and sweet potatoes/kumara, contain vitamin C and potassium, among other goodies. With potatoes, in particular, much of this goodness, along with a good chunk of fibre, is concentrated in or near the skin. So if you can, it’s a great idea to leave skins on your spuds wherever possible.

Cutting up spuds and sweet potatoes a few hours ahead of time is unlikely to cause much nutrient loss. But soaking them in water for hours could do, so keep them out of the water. Instead, pop your chopped veges in an airtight container or wrap them in plastic wrap until you use them. Root veggies, of course, need to be cooked properly to improve the digestibility of starches. Steaming – in the microwave or in a steamer – is a great way to keep as many nutrients as possible.


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