True Steaming

Steaming Basket

Could it be that people who say they don’t like cooked vegetables have only had boiled vegetables? Putting broccoli or green beans or carrots or any vegetable, really, into a pot of boiling water is absolutely the worst thing you can do to it.

I know I usually give you readers choices, gentle hints, kind suggestions. I cannot do this when it comes to cooking vegetables! I would be negligent if I let you boil vegetables! Why? Because the more you boil a vegetable, the more nutrients are leached out into the water, the more the vegetable’s color fades and the mushier it gets! Mushy, faded vegetables with very few nutrients left when they arrive on your plate are not good. No one should like them. After tasting steamed vegetables, no one will like them.

There are those who include cooking in a pan of “just a little water” and cooking in a microwave with very little water as steaming. They even say these two ways admittedly “do lose some nutrients. But not that much.” I cannot stop you from using these two techniques to quasi-steam vegetables, but why lost any nutrients when you can have them all?

Steaming Basket
Steaming Baskets are available at many stores. I purchased mine at Kitchen Outfitters in Crystal Lake, IL.

It is very simple to produce truly steamed vegetables with their full complement of nutrients. Cut the vegetables into uniform sized pieces so they cook evenly. Place them in a steamer pan, a steamer insert, a colander or a sieve—any device with holes in it that can be suspended above the boiling water. Cover and let vegetables steam for about 5 minutes before checking them. If they are nearly finished—still bright-colored and a bit crisp—turn off the heat. They will continue cooking while you serve your meal. It they are not finished, steam them for a few more minutes and check them again. The important thing—do not steam them too long. There are charts suggesting times for steaming various vegetables, but you will be your own best judge.

Broccoli, packed with nutrients
Steamed broccoli

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