How to Steam Vegetables: Step By Step Guide
Steamed veggies are a quick and easy way to get a lot of nutrients into your diet. Since steaming requires no oil, butter, or extra ingredients it’s a healthy and easy way to cook your vegetables and requires little effort, or time. Since not all veggies are the same, different ones have different nutritional values depending on how they are cooked. However, steaming has often been lauded as one of the healthiest ways to cook your veggies. In a 2009 study, scientists cooked broccoli in a myriad of ways (steaming, microwaving, frying, and boiling) and found that the steamed variety contained the most nutrients. Since broccoli is a well-known anti-cancer food, this highlights how beneficial steaming can be for optimum health. It can maximize your nutritional intake and ensure that you make the most of every meal. Steaming is thus a great way to cook veggies and offers you both amazing nutritional value and a quick and easy way to cook your meals.
So, let’s take a look at how to steam your veggies in a few different ways. While professional steamers are an amazing tool to have in your kitchen, there are ways to steam without them and if you aren’t steaming food all that often, you might not want to invest in a steamer straight away. By using a normal stovetop and boiling water, a rice steamer, or a microwave, you can easily steam your veg and have a wonderful and healthy meal for you and your family. Steaming is an easy and healthy way to maximize the nutrients on your plate, and since it’s so quick and simple to do, it’s a great choice for busy professionals or big families. Steamed veggies can last a good 5 days if they’re in a sealed container in your fridge, and thus you can make a few meals worth in one go!
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How to Steam Vegetables Without a Steamer
You can easily steam your veggies without a professional steamer. You simply need a large pot, some water, and either a steaming basket or a strainer or a colander. Place a few inches of water in the bowl (2 inches should be more than enough) and bring your water to the boil. Once boiling, pop your veggies in the basket, colander, or strainer and allow them to cook for 2-5 minutes depending on how well you want them cooked. It’s important to use a metal colander or strainer rather than a plastic one (which could potentially melt if it gets to hurt, or over-heat and cause some damage.)
If you don’t have any of the above tools you could even use an oven rack. Simply pop your veggies on top and steam away. If you want to get creative, you can even make a makeshift steaming rack with an old aluminum foil pie container. Simply poke some holes in it and place it over a saucepan. Then pop your veggies on top of the tin and steam away. You can get creative when it comes to the kitchen. A professional steaming machine is a brilliant idea if you want to steam your food often, but if you’re only steaming a few things you can easily make do with what you have.
How to Steam Frozen Vegetables
Defrosting veggies doesn’t have to be a complicated feat. However, first things first, is you will want to defrost them. If you steam frozen vegetables without defrosting them, you’ll have to deal with an excess of water, and this could make your vegetables turn soggy. An easy way to defrost veggies is to pop the packet into the fridge overnight. This will prevent a build-up of bacteria and ensure that any excess water is removed. Once they’ve defrosted you can always pop them in a colander to drain any excess water. As a rule of thumb, 5 pounds of veggies should take about 24 hours to thaw. If you want to defrost the day of, you can also use the defrost option on your microwave.
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Once your frozen veggies have thawed, simply steam them as you would fresh veggies. Place 1 to 2 inches of water in a large pot and bring it to the boil. The place the now thawed veggies in your steaming basket/colander/strainer/pie tin/ and steam away for 2-5 minutes, depending on how crunchy or soft you like your vegetables. While root vegetables like potatoes will take a lot longer to steam, frozen veggies will take only a few minutes. If you want to test their consistency, simply stick your fork into the vegetables and check if they are cooked to your satisfaction. The more you use your steamer, the easier it will become to gauge how long your veggies will need.
How to Steam Vegetables in a Rice Cooker
A rice cooker is a pretty handy contraption to have in your kitchen and is basically a large pot with a lid that is specifically designed to boil the water away until your rice is cooked to perfection. However, a rice cooker doesn’t have to be used solely for rice and can be easily used to steam your veggies too.
Many models will come with a special steaming basket and these are great for steaming your vegetables. Follow the manual for a specific device to see how the steaming times work, but usually, you can set it according to minutes. As always, the more you steam, the easier it will be to gage steaming times. You can even steam your veggies on top of your rice while it’s steaming. This is a quick and easy way to multi-task and make two dishes in one. With practice, you’ll learn when to put the veggies in and you’ll become a master at steaming timing.
NB: Always read the user manual as different products will differ. It’s also a good idea to keep the guarantee in case anything happens to your device and you need a refund or a product swap. Most models should have a warranty for a year or 2.
How to Steam Vegetables in a Microwave
If you want to steam your veggies in a microwave, you’ll need to invest in an oven-safe dish. Simply chop your veggies to the desired length and pop them in the bowl. They should be roughly 2 inches in length for optimal cooking, as any longer might take longer to steam. Opt for a BPA free plastic container for optimal safety as this will ensure that no harmful chemicals get into your food.
Once you’ve put your veggies in the bowl, cover them with a thin layer of water so that the bottom of your microwave-safe bowl is covered. However, veggies like spinach will need even less water. As a general rule, veggies should be covered in about 1/8th water. The pop a layer of cling wrap over the bowl, and leave a tiny corner uncovered so that the steam can escape and won’t pop while it’s in the microwave. If you aren’t a fan of using plastic wrap, pop a plate on top of your bowl.
Then put your microwave on a high setting and microwave your vegetables for 2 minutes. Once cooked, check their consistency to see if they are to your satisfaction. Some root veggies might take a little longer, so you might need to add a little more water and put them back into the microwave for a few minutes more. Ultimately, you want them to be at a consistency that is most satisfying to you.
So, What Are the Benefits of Steaming Your Veggies and Why Should You do It?
It has been said that steaming is one of the healthiest ways to cook food, and this includes veggies. Steaming your vegetables will allow them to retain their maximum nutritional value and is the best way to ensure you’re getting all the best nutrients that they have on offer. While some people might think that raw veggies are most healthy, some studies have proven that light steam is better for digestion and makes it easier for the body to process the intake of food.
Here are Some of the Top Benefits of Steaming Your Veg!
- Allows you to consume maximum nutrients
Steaming allows foods to retain more of their nutrients and vitamins. This means you’ll get maximum boosts of important vitamins and minerals, like Vitamin C, zinc, phosphorus, and iron. If you’re serious about your health, this is a great way to make the most of your plate of veg. Added to this is the fact that steamed vegetables have been shown to retain specialized cancer-fighting compounds, that might get lost when veggies are cooked for very long periods. It might even lower cholesterol and encourage you to put more rainbow-colored veg on your plate.
A great tip is to make some extra food for dinner and then to take it for lunch the next day. Steamed veggies can last you for at least five days if they are stored in an airtight container in the fridge, and thus making extra is a great way to ensure that you’ll have nutritional meals all week long!
- Great For Weight Loss – No Oil or Butter!
Steaming is also a super healthy way to cook veggies if you’re concerned about fat intake. While fat in moderation is super healthy and essential to overall wellbeing, steaming keeps things low-calorie and is a really healthy way to cook your veg. It also keeps things super simple since you won’t have to add any extra ingredients to the mix. It’s also a great choice if you don’t want to overpower the star of your recipe. If you’re making a protein like a fish or meat dish with a delicious sauce, a delicate and light steamed vegetable side is the perfect addition to your plate.
- It’s a Quick and Easy Way to Cook Veg
Steaming doesn’t require immense culinary genius and can be easily mastered by anyone who spends a bit of time in the kitchen. You can easily steam your veggies while you do other things (like preparing meat, or pasta dishes) and it thus won’t take up too much of your precious time. It also doesn’t require any fancy seasoning or difficult tricks. It’s thus the perfect cooking method for anyone with a busy lifestyle or anyone who wants to be a little more mindful about health and wellbeing.