We all know that spring is the season when all kinds of delicious vegetables appear. In our efforts to eat healthy and rid our body of the fat accumulated during the winter, we reach for green leafy vegetables, cucumbers and what have you ever more frequently. But how do we deal with the large amounts of nitrates found in 90% of the veggies?
The issue of nitrates in the fruits and vegetables that we consume is relevant almost year-round. Nitrates are nitrogen ions, with the nitrogen itself an important food component for all plants. It aids in their proper growth and development.
In order to provide vegetables with enough quantities of nitrogen, they use fertilizers, whether natural or synthetic. When too much nitrogen and nitrates are used, they accumulate in the plants, which under certain conditions and in certain quantities become harmful and even dangerous to humans.
Some types of plants absorb and store larger amounts of nitrates than others. As well, the concentrations of nitrates are highest in the leaves and roots of plants and lowest in their fruits and seeds.
It's been proven that the greatest amounts of nitrates are found in lettuce, spinach, red beets, radishes, Chinese cabbage, green onions, broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. Tomatoes, peppers, beans, potatoes and cucumbers have less nitrates.
To reduce the content of nitrates of already bought fruits and vegetables, we must treat them properly before consumption.
Soak vegetables at least 10 min. before eating them since nitrates are soluble in water. It's good to soak leafy vegetables 1-2 hours before eating them. This way you'll get rid of 70% of the nitrates.
Store bought fruits and vegetables need to be peeled deeply since the highest concentration of nitrates lies in the crust and immediately under it.
Heat treatment dissolves some of the nitrates, while the others seep into the water. So always throw out the water while still warm during boiling - if you wait for it cool, the nitrates will go back into the vegetables. This procedure reduces up to 80% of nitrates.
Another trick, thanks to which you can get rid of the nitrates in your plate is to soak all fresh vegetables in water for about 30 min, adding 1 tsp baking soda.
If you've decided to make a salad, instead of vinegar, season it with freshly squeezed lemon juice since it too has the ability to eliminate nitrates.