Healthy How-To: Steaming Veggies

by in Healthy Tips, May 5, 2009


Steaming is one of the healthiest cooking techniques around. It’s also a quick-and-easy way to cook up dinner veggies (especially for my family of 5). Here are some of the best vegetables to steam and tips for keeping them nice and crisp.

The Benefits of Steaming
You may have heard this before: steaming is one of the best ways to cook veggies so they keep their nutrients. Vitamins are easily destroyed when you cook with water for long periods of time (i.e. boiling), but steaming uses the steam from boiling water to cook your food — not the water directly.

Another advantage of steaming is no added fat or sodium (do you dab butter in a boiling pot of broccoli or load in the salt?). Any veggie you steam will be around 25 calories per half-cup and chock-full of vitamins and minerals.

Veggies to Choose
Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, artichokes, zucchini and green beans are great choices because they’re sturdier and won’t turn to mush too easily. Leafy greens — baby bok choy, spinach and Chinese broccoli — also steam up nicely but take less time. If you want to try something new, steam some radishes or quartered new potatoes.

How to Steam
Large chunks of veggies are tough to steam quickly — so if you’re in a hurry, cut or trim your vegetables into smaller pieces first.

A steaming basket is a cheap way to steam food. Fill a pot with 2 ounces of water and place the basket with the veggies on top. Once the water boils, it takes anywhere from 5 to 12 minutes to cook. It depends on the thickness of the veggie so you may want to check periodically (but don’t keep lifting the lid!) and pull them off when they hit your preferred softness. And, please, don’t forget the lid. You won’t get anywhere unless the steam is trapped in the pot.

Immediately after steaming, have a colander of ice or bowl of ice water ready to plunge — or “shock” — your cooked goodies. This will stop the cooking process so your veggies stay nice and crunchy.

While we prefer the old-fashioned way, you can also steam in the microwave. There are some microwave-ready steam veggie packs you can buy at the grocery store. Or just place evenly cut veggies in a microwave-safe bowl (glass), add a little water to bottom and top with microwave-safe plastic wrap. You’ll want to pull back one corner of the topper so some steam can escape — no need for an explosion. Usually, the stovetop method takes the same amount of time.

Tools to Use
I always have trouble steaming asparagus because it doesn’t fit well. I checked around and found this asparagus steamer, which is my next kitchen purchase. There are also stack & steam sets available, which let you cook pasta and steam veggies at the same time (a real time, energy and dish-washing saver). You might have a bamboo steamer at home — they’re typically used for Chinese dim sum but also work for steaming veggies. A double boiler is a make-shift solution, too, as long as there are holes in it.

The Flavor Traps
Now that you’ve used a healthy cooking method, don’t go adding tons of high-calorie toppings such as oil, cheese or butter (my clients do it all the time!). If you decide to add butter or oil, stick to 1 tablespoon and measure it out. Lemon, garlic or just a dash of black pepper work wonders. I love a spritz of fresh lemon on my steamed asparagus. Try mixing a few minced garlic cloves with a teaspoon of olive oil and drizzle over broccoli.

TELL US: Do you have a special steaming trick?

More posts from .

Similar Posts

5 Easy Meals To Fuel After-School Activities

As every parent knows, the season of running from school to countless extracurricular activities is upon us. How best to get everyone fed along the w...

Comments (17)

  1. IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offencesFor abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

  2. definition says:

    Hello! I simply would like to give a huge thumbs up for the good data you may have here on this post. I will likely be coming again to your weblog for extra soon.

  3. purple says:

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is fantastic blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

  4. boiler says:

    Have you ever thought about publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs? I have a blog centered on the same information you discuss and would really like to have you share some stories/information. I know my audience would enjoy your work. If you’re even remotely interested, feel free to send me an email.

  5. circulatory says:

    Hey! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I genuinely enjoy reading your blog posts. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics? Appreciate it!

  6. damp says:

    I’m a lengthy time in the past I study your blog and it has extended been expressing that you are a great author

  7. linda says:

    I have the small and large one (not the rice cooker plus with glass insert-just all plastic with snap on lid) but no instructions How do you steam rice? What quantity rice (brown & white) water and how long to steam? Thanks if you can help

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>