Effects of Three Conventional Cooking Methods on Vitamin C in Spinach
Vegetables are often consumed after they have been cooked or processed through various means to make them more palatable and enjoyable. Common methods of cooking include boiling, steaming, microwaving, frying and blanching, but methods tend to be dictated by cultural or individual habit rather than that which retains the most nutritive value. The aim of this investigation is to measure the level of vitamin C in baby spinach that has been boiled, steamed and microwaved, in order to determine the effects that various conventional cooking methods have on vitamin C levels. By cutting and heating, precious vitamins such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) can be lost (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2006). Vitamin C is "unstable at high temperatures and its water-soluble nature causes it to [leach] into cooking water, which is generally discarded after cooking" (W.
Somsub, et al. 2008).
In a study performed by Rumm-Kreuter, D., Demmel, I.(1990) it was found that fresh raw spinach contained 43mg/100g and that boiled spinach retained 17mg/100g of the original 43mg/100g. This results in a loss of 60%. Similarly, though not as severe a reduction, it was found that steamed spinach retained 23mg/100g of the original 43mg/100g, a total loss of 46.5%.
In contrast to the study performed by Rumm-Kreuter and Demmel, this study investigates vitamin C in baby spinach. Whether baby spinach is more or less concentrated in vitamins and nutrients than English spinach is a contentious issue (World's Healthiest Foods, 2012). However, Nutrition Data (2012) state that raw baby spinach contains 30mg/100g of vitamin C, whereas English spinach contains 28.1mg/100g of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is necessary as it holds the cells together through the production of collagen as well as promotes healthy teeth, gums,