Learning how to steam vegetables is a fantastic idea. Steaming is a great way to prepare vegetables. It's especially healthy, because you don't need any kind of fat to do it. And unlike other cooking methods, the gentle heat of steam helps vegetables keep more of their nutrients and flavor.
So what is steaming? It's easy. When you boil water, it creates steam, which is really hot. And you can use that steam to cook the vegetables. It's different from boiling – when you boil vegetables, the veggies are immersed in the water. But when you steam, they don't touch the water at all. The steam does all the work!
It's incredibly easy to do. And you don't need a whole lot of specialty equipment to do it. If you have a pot and a colander or steaming basket, you can steam vegetables. In fact, you can even get away with just using a pot!
There are a few different ways to steam vegetables. Which one you pick will depend on what kind of equipment you have available in your kitchen. They're all pretty convenient though... and they all make for really easy cleanup! Here are four ways to help you learn how to steam vegetables, and what you need to do it.
Steaming Basket Method
My favorite way to steam vegetables is using a steaming basket. A steaming basket is basically just any heat-resistant container with holes on the bottom. It can hold the veggies, but the holes let the steam in to cook the vegetables.
So here's how to steam vegetables with a steaming basket. It's easy: you just fit the steaming basket over a pot with an inch or so of boiling water, and loosely cover it with a lid. It doesn't need to fit perfectly – it should keep most of the steam in, but still let a bit escape.
What kind of containers can you use as a steaming basket?
Another way to steam vegetables is to use a steamer. It's a special kitchen appliance specifically designed to steam food, and it makes learning how to steam vegetables a breeze. Generally, it consists of a few parts.
A steamer is nice because it takes care of everything for you. The water's always at the right temperature, the vegetables are always above the water, and just enough steam escapes. A lot of steamers even have timers so that you once you start it, you don't need to worry anymore.
But the best thing about a steamer is that the steaming baskets are usually really big. If you plan on steaming lots of vegetables, a steaming basket in a pot might be a little on the small side. And when you can stack baskets on top of each other, you have even more flexibility!
But a steamer works the exact same way as the pot and steaming basket – boiling water producing steam to cook vegetables. If you're short on cupboard space and don't want an extra appliance, you don't really need a steamer to learn how to steam vegetables.
What if you really want to know how to steam vegetables, but you don't have a steamer, or even anything that can serve as a steaming basket? Don't worry. It's possible to steam vegetables using only a pan or a pot of water.
Here's how to steam vegetables in a pan.
Like the other steaming methods, you want a lid to keep most of the steam in. But you do want a little steam to escape, especially if you're steaming green vegetables. Letting the steam escape will help them keep their green color.
The last way to steam vegetables is using the microwave. And like the other methods, it's super easy. All you need is a microwave safe bowl, and some plastic wrap.
Here's how to steam vegetables in the microwave:
Steaming vegetables in the microwave is really easy and convenient, but it's also not quite steaming. Why? Because steaming means cooking vegetables only with steam. But the microwave doesn't just heat the water – it also cooks the vegetables. So they're partially cooked by steam, partially by the microwave.
What that means is entirely up to you. I've heard that vegetables cooked in the microwave are much less nutritious, and I've heard that they're more nutritious. It's not clear what the reality is at all! But if you're concerned that microwaving food is bad for you, it's not hard at all to use one of the other methods!
In this section, I'll go over how to steam vegetables using the steaming basket, steamer and pan methods. They're basically all the same. For steaming vegetables in the microwave, you can find instructions in the microwave method section.Here's how to steam vegetables.
And that's how to steam vegetables! It's easy, and steamed vegetables are really yummy, especially with just a hint of butter and salt.