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Preserve Food to Preserve Nutrients

Deb Botzek-Linn, Extension Educator — Food Safety, 2011

If you can't eat fresh produce within a couple of hours of harvesting, freezing or canning will help keep the nutrients. A recent University of California study found that 75% of vitamin C in fresh green beans and spinach was lost after being stored in the refrigerator for a week.

When fresh produce is exposed to the air, nutrients such as vitamin C and folic acid are destroyed rapidly. It's a good idea to either freeze or can your produce as soon as possible after pickling or harvesting. Freezing is usually considered the best method to maintain nutrients because blanching stops the enzymatic changes that destroy vitamins.

Other tips to maximize nutrient preservation include:

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