May 08 2014 – Robert Fiumara
As kitchens become more modern we encounter more expedient and varied ways of preparing food. Some of these are utilized to more or less effect in the restaurant industry in order to maximize service for the varied demands that customers will make. For some, certain methods leave a bad taste conceptually even if the reasons are unfounded. For others they provide quick methods that are irreplaceable in a busy kitchen.
Chief among these contested preparation methods is the microwave. Microwaving food often seems undesirable to the chef at work, but in particular settings microwaving can be a fast and efficient way to handle certain aspects of food prep. However useful it may be, we’ve all heard the rumors that microwaving food removes some of that food’s nutritional content. Is it true, however?
There’s no denying that there’s some danger in microwaving part of a meal. Foods often cook unevenly in a microwave. Microwaved containers also retain a large amount of heat and can scald those who are preparing them. Likewise, if the contents of the tray used in cooking the food is comprised of particular sorts of plastic, it can leech unhealthy or harmful chemicals into the food that is being prepared. Those are all issues to be concerned with when preparing foodin a microwave.
Do They Hurt Nutritional Value?
There’s absolutely no validity to the argument that this process damages the nutritional content of the food itself, however. In fact, most research indicates the opposite. Steaming food is the healthiest way to prepare meat and vegetables, and if you microwave food with a small amount of water, you will effectively steam the foods from the inside out.
As a matter of fact, no matter how food is prepared, nutrients will be lost in the heating process. The key to preserving nutrients in food is to expose it to heat for the shortest duration of time possible, which is exactly what microwaving is all about.
If you want the best flavor and the highest nutritional content in your food, you’ll find that they cook up quite nicely if you focus on adding a light amount of water and some cover to effectively provide a steaming environment for the vegetables. From a health and safety standpoint, there are actually no methods that are as effective as using a microwave.
So the next time you are trying to decide whether or not it’s ideal to put your vegetables in the microwave or bring out a pan and steam them instead, don’t hesitate, just zap them! The microwave is going to get delicious food to the plate a lot faster without sacrificing any of the food’s nutritional content. That's why many chefs consider an industrial microwave a handy tool in a busy kitchen. It will get the job done, and the meal will be better for it.