Effect of home processing on ascorbic acid and beta-carotene content of spinach (Spinacia oleracia) and amaranth (Amaranthus tricolor) leaves

Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 1995 Feb;47(2):125-31. doi: 10.1007/BF01089261.


The present investigation was conducted to study the concentration of ascorbic acid and beta-carotene in spinach and amaranth leaves as affected by various domestic processing and cooking methods which included storage of leaves in polythene bags or without packing for 24 and 48 hours in refrigerator at 5 degrees C; at 30 degrees C in polythene bags; drying (sun and oven); blanching (5, 10, 15 min); open pan and pressure cooking. Ascorbic acid content of fresh leaves was 624.1 to 629.0 mg and beta-carotene content was 35.3 to 53.1 mg/100 g dry weight. The percent loss of ascorbic acid ranged from 1.1 to 6.3 and 55.3 to 65.9 while lower losses (0.0 to 1.3 and 1.5 to 2.1) of beta-carotene were observed in leaves stored in refrigerator and at 30 degrees C, respectively. A markedly greater reduction in ascorbic acid and beta-carotene was observed in dried, blanched and cooked leaves. The study recommended the storage of leaves in refrigerator, drying in oven, blanching for shorter time and cooking in pressure cooker for better retention of these two vitamins.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amaranthus
  • Ascorbic Acid / analysis*
  • Carotenoids / analysis*
  • Cold Temperature
  • Desiccation
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Hot Temperature
  • Nutritive Value
  • Plants / chemistry*
  • Pressure
  • Spinacia oleracea / chemistry*
  • beta Carotene


  • beta Carotene
  • Carotenoids
  • Ascorbic Acid