Useful Tips for Cooking with Steam

Preserve flavour and nutrition in your favourite veggies by cooking with steam.

If you’re concerned about the added fat from cooking oil when stir-frying your vegetables, remember that steaming is the healthiest and simplest way to go.

As Los Angeles-based health and nutrition expert Regina Santos reminds us, “Steaming is a really gentle and easy way to prepare food that preserves its nutritional integrity.” Give her easy steaming tips a try.

Preserving the Nutritious Elements

Santos says steaming keeps the vegetables and the protein source (if you’re steaming fish) hydrated, especially with food that has water-soluble vitamins like vitamins B and C.

“I think steaming is the best way to go, especially if you are preparing fish, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach and squash,” she notes. “Sautéing and frying can deplete some of the vitamins but with steaming, all the nutritional value is maintained.”

10 Minutes or Less

Santos says you don’t really need an expensive food steamer to prepare your vegetables the right way. “All you really need is a wok or a large sauté pan,” she says. Here’s how she does it:

  1. Use a streaming basket or bamboo steamer.
  2. Boil your water, and then turn the heat down to medium-low.
  3. Add cleaned and chopped veggies to the basket. Most vegetables take less than 10 minutes to cook.
  4. Check after the first two or three minutes and test with a fork to get the perfect tenderness.

Steaming Tips?
As simple and straightforward as steaming is, Santos says there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t let the vegetables sit in the pot over hot water after they’re done because they’ll continue to cook. Instead, remove the basket and place in the sink to allow the hot water to drip from the basket and vegetables.
  • Let the vegetables cool off for a minute before you add your favourite seasoning, lemon juice or spices to taste. Then, they’re ready to plate.
  • Keep in mind that different vegetables require different steaming times, for example — asparagus: 5-10 minutes; beets: 5-15 minutes; broccoli: 10-12 minutes; Brussels sprouts: 10-15 minutes; cabbage: 10-15 minutes; carrots: 5-15 minutes; cauliflower: 10-12 minutes and potatoes: 15-25 minutes.

Now get out your steamer, add those veggies and start enjoying the benefits of healthy and clean eating — before you run out of steam!


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