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Ask the Expert Archive

Does the vitamin C value on your Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP) refer to the raw form of vegetables and if so, how does the value compare to cooked vegetables?


Q. Do the vitamin C values listed on your food “label” refer to raw, uncooked vegetables? If it is a vegetable that might normally be cooked, like rutabagas or sweet potatoes, is there a way to estimate vitamin C losses from steaming, sauteeing, boiling, etc.?


A. Yes, the vitamin C content listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel (NFP) for the fruits and vegetables on our website refers to the raw, uncooked form. Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin and degrades easily by heat, oxygen, and storage.


Cooking methods like steaming, microwaving, boiling, and stir-frying will contribute to vitamin C losses ranging from 15 to 55 percent, but steaming, microwaving, and stir-frying help preserve vitamin C.  For best results, cook veggies in as little water and as short a time as possible to minimize losses. To prevent losses from oxygenation (exposure to air), store fresh produce in the refrigerator uncut until you need them.  Once cut, cover tightly with plastic and store in the refrigerator.

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The Expert: Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, is the President and CEO of the Produce for Better Health (PBH) Foundation. At PBH, she guides the Foundation’s efforts to advance the overall effort of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption.
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