Why Internal Temperature of Vegetables is Important
Cooking vegetables is all about getting the internal temperature just right. If it’s too low, harmful bacteria can cause food-borne illness. If it’s too high, valuable nutrients could be lost. Here is why internal temperature of vegetables is so important.
Typically, vegetables need to be heated to an internal temperature of 160℉ to be considered ‘safe’ – meaning no microorganisms are present. However, the exact temperature varies depending on the type of vegetable. Here are a few common vegetables and their required internal temperature:
- Potatoes: The USDA recommends heating potatoes to a minimum temperature of 135℉.
- Carrots: Carrots should be heated to at least 140℉.
- Broccoli: Broccoli has to reach at least 145℉ to be considered ‘safe’.
Most people cook vegetables to get all the wonderful vitamins and minerals they contain. However, if these vegetables are heated to temperatures higher than necessary, some of these nutrients (especially water-soluble nutrients) could be lost.
The longer and at higher temperatures vegetables are cooked, the greater the nutrient loss. That’s why it’s important to be mindful of the internal temperature of your vegetables – aiming for the higher side of the recommended range will help to preserve the nutrition.
An internal temperature of 160℉ is the recommended minimum ‘safe’ temperature for most vegetables. However, it’s important to pay attention to the individual temperature requirements of each vegetable. Also, bear in mind that the longer a vegetable is cooked at high temperatures, the higher the nutrient loss.