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Ask the Anytime Guy

Posted January 08, 2014 in Advice Column, West Des Moines

Q: What’s best for vegetables — fresh or frozen?

A: Vegetables are vegetables. The key here is that you’re eating them — be it fresh or frozen. When eating fresh vegetables, choose ones that are in season for enhanced flavor. If choosing to cook your vegetables, remember the vitamin and mineral content of produce is greatly influenced by high temperatures, exposure to light and acidity. To maximize the nutritional value of cooked vegetables, here are a couple key recommendations:
•    Cook your vegetables for as short amount of time as possible. Hallelujah for the microwave.
•    Minimize the amount of water used to cook vegetables to prevent leaching of nutrients into cooking water.

Q: How do you replace white flour with whole-wheat flour in baking?

A: The major motivator for replacing white flour with whole-wheat flour is the obvious nutritional advantage. Whole grains can help lower blood pressure, reduce risk of chronic disease, aid in weight maintenance, and provide additional fiber. So why not bake a little extra healthiness into your favorite foods? Sounds easy, right? Not exactly. Whole-wheat flour behaves very differently in a recipe than white flour. Therefore, certain adjustments must be made when substituting whole wheat for white. First off, substituting whole-wheat flour for white flour one to one is a no go. Whole-wheat flour absorbs much more liquid, so it may be necessary to add more liquid or decrease whole-wheat flour by a quarter cup. Now I must provide this disclaimer — the texture of baked products is altered when whole-wheat flour is used in place of white. When using whole-wheat flour, the product becomes denser. The food industry and sensory scientists have been working for years to successfully create a whole-wheat product with the same texture as white flour. We’re still waiting. In the meantime, a good way to combat this texture issue is to compromise — use half white flour and half whole-wheat flour. You get the added nutritional benefit, and the product remains edible.

Information provided by Chris Palso, owner, Anytime Fitness, West Des Moines, 225-3224,

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