Steaming vs Boiling: Which is Better?
There is a long standing debate between the merits of steaming veggies vs the merits of boiling them. Many people opt for these cooking styles so as to retain more nutrients in their meal and avoid excess oil. They are thus both great options if you’re watching your calories and want to avoid excess oils. Both methods have their benefits and are well-suited to different types of vegetables and for retaining nutrients. Thus, it’s not a one size fits all answer and depends largely on what ingredients you’ll be cooking. Both methods use water but utilize it in different ways. One requires cooks to submerge their veggies in boiling hot water and the other uses steam to do the cooking. Let’s have a look at the advantages of both methods and determine which cooking style works best for what.
When you cook vegetables in any which way, you inevitably lose some of their nutrients. However, some cooking methods are able to retain these important minerals and vitamins better than others. Both steaming and boiling use water and have various benefits. Both methods are well-suited to diverse foods and thus both have their benefits and advantages for different dishes.
The Advantages of Steaming
Steaming is a popular method of cooking and utilizes steam from water to cook food. This is either done with a steaming device or in the old-fashioned way with a colander over a pot of boiling water. The vegetables are placed above the boiling water and the steam cooks them through. Steaming is an ancient method of cooking and can be dated back to over 5000 years ago thanks to archaeologists who have found ancient steam pits. Steaming is popular in Asian cuisine and has gleaned popularity in the Western world thanks to its health benefits and simplicity. Of the various cooking methods of veggies, steaming has been hailed as a healthy way that retains the most nutrients. Vitamin C and folic acid are often lost during the cooking process and while a small percentage is lost during steaming, it is less than other cooking methods like roasting. Steaming can also ensure that veggies retain their brightness (if not left for too long) and prevent vegetables from becoming too watery. Thus, benefits of steaming and eating steamed vegetables include:
- A healthier way to cook veggies and food
- Enables vegetables to retain color and crunch if not cooked for too long
- Quick and easy cooking method that requires little food prep
- Can be easily done while doing other cooking tasks
None the less, it truly does depend on what you are cooking. If you want to make mash potato or par-boil veggies before roasting, then boiling is the answer.
Steamed Vs Boiled Vegetables
Boiling is beneficial for a number of vegetables too and in these instances a double boiler can be a brilliant solution. Double boilers are a fantastic pick for anyone who loves making soups, sauces, or gravy and can allow food to retain its delicate flavor. It enables you to cook food gently and is the perfect choice for those who want to experiment with custards, melting chocolates, or hollandaise sauce.
Both methods are great for anyone on a calorie controlled diet as they eradicate the need to use oil or butter. While these additions are delicious.
Is it Better to Steam or Boil?
Thus, if you’ve been asking yourself ” is it better to steam of boil ?”, it really does depend. Both methods use water to cook food and both allow for better the retention of nutrients than methods such as roasting or frying. However, studies have shown that steam cooking does often retain a slightly higher percentage than boiling. However, you can’t steam a gravy or a sauce and in such a case, boiling is the better bet. Boiled vegetables are also great if you are going to make mash potato, squash, or pasta dishes. Steamed might be better if you want to keep some crunch and color. They have also been known to keep slightly more nutrients.
Nonetheless, blanching veggies in boiling water quickly also offers a quick way to cook them without destroying too much of their goodness. In the case of a vegetable like green beans, blanche them in simmering water for 2 minutes and then immediately place them in ice water so that they can retain their crunch and flavor. Steaming vegetables on the other hand also offers an array of health benefits and is great for broccoli, cauliflower, and julienne carrots. When it comes to food, it is largely a personal preference. A double boiler or a steaming machine are great choices for anyone with a passion for cooking and will aid meal prep and cooking time. Both styles ensure that you are getting great nutrients and are certainly popular choices in healthy eating circles.
When it comes to food and the ways in which you make it, it’s a deeply personal choice. Both methods enable a greater retention of nutrients and are considered a healthy way. While boiling might get a reputation for producing food that is bland, that truly isn’t the case. Boiling is a brilliant choice for making mouth-watering pasta dishes, gnocchi, and delightful sauces. It doesn’t have to be all about bland and colorless foods that have lost their spark. If you want to retain nutrients and make some fabulous dishes try out a double boiler or a steamer.