Good Enough to Eat?

Good Enough to Eat?

What’s the most nutritious way to cook vegetables? That’s the question health and nutrition sciences professors Yanyan Li and John Specchio are looking to answer.

They’ve received a one-year grant from Panasonic to explore how various cooking methods impact nutrient retention in vegetables. “We’re now using fresh broccoli,” says Li. “We’ll expand to use kale, tomatoes and cabbage later.”

The team, which includes one undergraduate and two graduate students, is comparing microwaving to boiling and steaming. “We’re microwaving at different power levels with four different microwave ovens, including the Panasonic Inverter, and GE, Sharp and LG ovens,” explains Li. When a conventional microwave oven is set at 60 percent power, it cooks for 60 percent of the time and is idle the rest of the time. In contrast, an inverter oven generates continuous heat at the desired levels.

“As a result, foods are heated more evenly and quickly without being damaged by the uneven heating of traditional microwave ovens,” says Li, who expects that the inverter oven and steaming will produce the most nutritious results.