5 Cooking Myths That, In Real Life, Don’t Help

Last Updated on Mar 24, 2024 by HappyDieter

There are many myths and misinformation in the cooking world. From old wives’ tales to supposed anecdotes, much of what we have been taught is just wrong cooking myth. Even though this information can be found all over the internet, these myths are repeated all over again.

It is not that we hear these myths repeated from home cooks and novices, but much of this misinformation is still held as gospel by many professional chefs. So these are the top 5 cooking myths:

Key Takeaways

  • Microwaving doesn’t always destroy nutrients: While some nutrient loss can occur during microwaving, it’s generally a quick and efficient cooking method that can help retain more nutrients compared to prolonged cooking.

  • Frozen can be as nutritious as fresh: Frozen fruits and vegetables are often picked at their peak ripeness and flash-frozen, preserving their nutrients, sometimes even more than fresh produce that may have spent time in transit or storage.

  • Cookbook recipes are a guide, not infallible: Experimenting with adjustments based on personal preferences, dietary needs, or cooking myths can enhance a recipe’s flavor, salt, and nutritional value.

  • While marinating can add flavor, the tenderizing effect is limited to the surface of the meat due to the ingredients’ inability to penetrate deeply, debunking a cooking myth.

  • Boiling vegetables can lead to nutrient loss: To minimize nutrient loss when boiling vegetables, using minimal water, cutting them into larger pieces, and using the cooking liquid in other dishes can help retain some of the lost nutrients.

  • Experiment and balance cooking methods for nutrient retention: Combining various cooking methods like steaming, microwaving, and stir-frying can help preserve nutrients while enhancing flavors in your meals.

1. Microwaving destroys nutrients

Many people think microwaving vegetables removes all the nutritional benefits out of them. But, like steaming, microwaving vegetables helps to preserve many nutrients — in broccoli’s case, it preserves 90 % of its vitamin C content. Be sure to avoid cruciferous veggies like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and others, because it can cause them to lose nutrients.

2. Fresh is healthier than frozen

Similarly, the word “fresh” does not always mean healthier. Fruits and veggies that have been frozen are generally picked at the peak of ripeness, making them equally, if not more nutritious than fresh fruits and veggies. They are also very convenient. Stock your freezer with frozen fruits and veggies, and you won’t have to worry about the food going badly for months! Just make sure they do not have added cheese, sugars, or sauces, which are packed with calories, sodium, and fat.

3. The recipe is from a cookbook, so it must be accurate

This myth refers to beginning cooks the most, but it also catches a lot of experienced cooks. There are numerous mistakes in recipes: from wrong measurements to missing ingredients. So, before you start cooking from a recipe, you have to read it to the end and make sure you understand it and that all the instructions and ingredients make sense.

Also, you should watch mostly cooking times to guide you, and not fast and hard rules. Even though many cookbook authors make a big effort to get cooking times correct, everyone’s ovens and stoves are not the same.

4. Marinating meat will make it more tender

Acids will act upon meat, effectively cooking the proteins, and making it more tender. So why is this myth? Very simply, because marinade doesn’t penetrate very deep into the meat. Dairy-based marinades (like buttermilk and yogurt) can indeed penetrate further into the meat but even then they do not penetrate very far. The best what you can do to tenderize a tough piece of meat is to break its muscle a fiber mechanically, either with cutting or pounding.

5. Boiled vegetables lose all nutrients

While boiled vegetables do not have the same fresh taste as steamed ones, they still contain many important fibers and minerals. Vitamins are water soluble so they may partially vanish when boiled. Some raw food experts claim that cooked vegetables contain fewer enzymes than raw ones, but registered dietitians say that while heating foods above 190 C can cause deactivation of certain plant enzymes. However, those enzymes that are lost are made to support the growing of plants and are not essential to people.

Conclusion

By dispelling these cooking myths, you can now approach your culinary endeavors with a more informed perspective. Remember, microwaves are not the enemy of nutrients, frozen can be just as nutritious as fresh, and not all recipes are foolproof. Marinating meat may not always result in a tender dish, and boiled veggies can retain their nutrients if handled correctly. Armed with this knowledge, you can elevate your cooking skills and enjoy healthier, tastier meals.

Next time you step into the kitchen, challenge these myths and experiment with new techniques. Share your newfound wisdom with friends and family to debunk common misconceptions about cooking. Embrace a more adventurous and knowledgeable approach to food preparation, and savor the rewards of delicious and nutritious meals. Keep exploring, keep learning, and keep cooking!

FAQ

Are microwaved foods less nutritious?

Microwaving does not significantly reduce nutrients in food. It can help retain more nutrients due to shorter cooking times.

Is fresh produce always healthier than frozen?

Frozen fruits and vegetables can be just as nutritious as fresh ones, sometimes even more so as they are often frozen at peak ripeness.

Can I trust all recipes from cookbooks to be accurate?

Not all cookbook recipes are foolproof. Always cross-check with trusted sources or use your judgment based on cooking knowledge.

Does marinating meat make it more tender?

Marinating meat can enhance its flavor but may not necessarily make it more tender. Tenderizing depends on the cut of meat and the duration of marination.

Do boiled vegetables lose all their nutrients?

While some nutrients leach into the water when boiling vegetables, steaming or microwaving them can help retain more nutrients.