I came across the topic of baby food a few times recently, first I was approached for help by somebody who was writing a book about homemade baby food and shortly after another writer asked me if I could write some recipes with the topic – how to make full use of your cooking water.
Both requests made me scratch my head at first, I can hardly remember the last time that I have been near a jar of baby food, my children have grown up, are busy with their careers and family planning has not been on their priority list. As of yet!
I am not talking about that powdered stuff to make baby milk, but about these little jars with mashed carrots and spinach that these little fellows splatter all over the floor, the moment you try to squeeze it in their mini mouths.
The second request sounded a bit closer to my league, I know that quite a percentage of nutrients in fresh food migrate into the cooking water, which is then flushed down the sink, that’s something to give some serious thought.
I mean, we go all the way out to find the freshest produce we can find, pay extra hard earned dollars for organic food, travel to local markets, because we know that these foods contain more nutrients than pre-packed supermarket food and then we cook the whole thing in water, which we dispose of, with a whole load of nutrients, without even thinking that it happens.
We fry or grill our meats, and leave the juices in the pan; because they have mixed with the oil and/or butter we fried in and have become a fatty looking liquid, something we do not want to eat for slimming reasons, yet full of nutrients.
Cooking and draining food reduces vitamins anywhere from 25% to 70% and when you reheat another 10% goes up in the air. These figures are just an example and depend on many other factors cooking time, temperature, cooling etc.
A perfect way to reduce losing so many nutrients during the cooking process is to vacuum seal your food and cook it in the vacuum packed bag. Now don’t immediately relate this to sous vide cooking and say, I don’t know how to do that. This is about preserving nutrients and regular cooking. For example; you are used to cooking to eat green beans, with potatoes and a chicken steak.
I have tested this method and here is the result:
Just do as you always do, clean the beans, by removing the tips, place them in a vacuum seal bag and pretend to season them as you would in a cooking pot. Just a bit of salt, add it to the bag, personally, I like to add some butter to my beans which help to finish my beans later. Vacuum seal and place the whole bag in a pot with boiling water, lower the heat, cover the pot and cook like you normally would, it took me 15 to 20 minutes.
Your potatoes take about as much time as the beans, so do the same with them and add them to the same pot with water.
I seasoned the chicken steak with salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary and added them to the same pot as well, saving some energy along the way.
To check if the beans are cooked, remove the bag with a slotted spoon from the water and press on the beans to see if they are soft as you want them to be. If so remove them from the bag and serve straight away, you can grate some nutmeg onto if you like or anything else you are used to. There you have it, perfect beans with maximum nutrients.
My potatoes and chicken steaks were also cooked; I just decided to give my chicken steak a little sear for color.
How’s that for a nutritious, any day of the week dinner!
I found my vacuum sealer here:
ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vacupack.com”>www.vacupack.com for USA and www.vacupack.ca
I made some step by step pictures, as proof that I am not telling you a story.
Due to the light in my kitchen, they lack a bit of quality, but I’m sure you get the idea!
Prepared food After Vacuum Sealing
Place in boiling water Close the lid
After 15 minutes Dinner time
By: Marinus Hoogendoorn