I have been told it's a bad idea to put vegetables directly in hot or boiling water when cooking minestrone. Instead, you must start heating the chopped vegetable soup from cold water. Why would this be?

  • 2
    Where did you hear this?
    – GdD
    Jun 28, 2019 at 9:46
  • 3
    It might make sense for potatoes, but I can't think of anything else that would really benefit. As an almost random google, Jamie Oliver after sauté, adds potatoes & cool ingredients, then brings to the boil. jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/minestrone-soup
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 28, 2019 at 15:50
  • 1
    Because you can be chopping vegetables as the water heats up. and if you add them as you go you don't need to store them elsewhere :-)? Really, I've never heard anything like this. It does make a difference what temperature you start with when you cook soft-boiled eggs, but that's because you are aiming for a very small window of time. And you could extend that to delicate vegetables, whose cooking time might vary a lot with the initial water temp. But in soup?!?
    – user57361
    Jun 28, 2019 at 20:01
  • Anyway the vegetables start cooking during the rising of temperature. This is common when the cooking time is variable and not strictly quantified as in cooking pasta. But I won't call putting the vegetables in warm water a bad idea. The first might give a better minestrone by default. But one can cool it as long as s/he like in both cases.
    – Alchimista
    Jul 5, 2019 at 10:19
  • The only thing I can think of would be a caution against the use of a hot water tap, as it is generally considered unwise to use hot-water-tap water in cooking, due to higher rate of dissolved contaminants, etc, in the water compared to cold-water-tap water. This has nothing to do with water one has heated previously, like on a stove, which the inclusion of "boiling" water in the caution would suggest, but I could sorta see a caution from one turning into the other... and don't really see any strong reason to warn against preheated water.
    – Megha
    Aug 27, 2019 at 3:31

1 Answer 1


Looking at the Giallo Zafferano recipe (video below), this does seem to be the case.

According to the Farmers Almanac, root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, anything that grows underground) benefit from the cold water technique as the cell wall gradually stiffens and it helps the vegetables become more resistant to overcooking. Adding directly to boiling water could (in theory) affect the consistency and flavour of the broth. In a similar way, if you pre-soak vegetables some starch and proteins are released into the water beforehand, and if you don't use that soaking water, there will be less starch and foam when the stock comes to a boil.

In reality though, the difference would probably be fairly negligible, especially if you are in the habit of removing any scum that forms when the liquid comes to a boil.

Farmers Almanac: https://lifehacker.com/when-to-start-cooking-vegetables-in-cold-or-hot-water-1737922352

Giallo Zafferano: https://youtu.be/JEtJz-_oBVk

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