Ask Niki: Root vegetables
Q: To save time I like to prepare all my vegetables for dinner in the morning. Is it possible to do this with root veges, keeping the nutrients intact? Does soaking root veges in water leach nutrients? How about cooking them in water?
A: Root vegetables such as potatoes and 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 kumara 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 veges, 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.