Effects of Holding Methods and Time on the Vitamin Contents of Five Tropical Leafy Vegetables
Five tropical leafy vegetables, Pterocarpus soyauxii (“oha”), Pterocarpus santalinodes (“nturukpa”), Gongronema latifolium (“utazi”), Corchorus olitorius (“ahihiara”) and Amaranthus hybridus (“green”) were held for four days at ambient condition using three different popular local methods used in the Southeastern states of Nigeria. Each leafy vegetable was divided into three lots. Lots I and II were unwrapped while lot III was wrapped with broad cocoyam leaves. The three lots were held under a shade. In addition, lot II was regularly taken outside to the open at nights where it was exposed to cool air and early morning dews. The vitamin contents of each leafy vegetable lot were analysed initially and on daily basis for four days. The beta carotene and ascorbic acid contents ranged respectively from 4.88 – 9.84ìg and 105.62 – 278.65 mg per l00 g of the leafy vegetable. The five leafy vegetables are fair sources of thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. There were losses in the vitamins as holding time increased, regardless of the holding method employed. The rate of loss of vitamins was highest in Lot I (the unwrapped leaves that were kept in a shade both day and night). The rate of loss of vitamins was lowest in Lot III (the wrapped leafy vegetables).
Keywords: Leafy vegetables, vitamins, method, time, loss.