Fast and easy precut vegetables are a familiar sight in most supermarkets. In the U.S., the fresh-cut business, which started with packaged salad greens, is booming. In 1994 annual sales were $5 billion and have jumped to $12 billion today.
For people who want home-cooked food but don't want to spend more than 10 or 15 minutes making it, the trend is a huge boon, making cooking from scratch almost as easy as boil-in-the-bag vegetables in sauce.
But what about nutritional value? Aren't those spears of broccoli and red pepper slices losing vitamins and minerals as they sit waiting in the busy produce section? Well, yes - but not as much as you would think.
Water-soluble vitamins such as vitamin C, are most susceptible to losses. But the amount of loss depends on the storage temperature and the amount of time the vegetable is exposed to the air. Wrapping precut produce in plastic also helps to reduce the losses. For the best-tasting and most nutritious precut veggies, think fresh, fresh, fresh.
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