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How and Why to Steam Veggies

Updated on February 23, 2014

Bright, Flavourful, Crunchy

Steaming veggies could change your life. Well maybe not, but you might find this to be your new favourite way to cook veggies, which might make you eat more of them!

It's really easy, and really quick. All you need is a pot with a lid, and a steamer basket. No heavy, awkward, electric contraptions required.

Many veggies are ultimately the healthiest (though not usually tastiest in my opinion) when eaten raw, but some such as carrots, spinach, and broccoli can be even more nutritious when lightly cooked. They have nutrients such as beta carotene that are difficult for our bodies to use when raw, but are unlocked during cooking or processing. It's kind of like pre-digesting them so that our bodies can use them more efficiently.

Steaming is a quick but intense cooking method that softens the veggies so they are easier to digest without losing too many nutrients out into the water.

Some veggies to try steaming:

  • Broccoli
  • Green Beans
  • Carrots
  • Baby/New Potatoes
  • Cauliflower
  • Dark, Leafy Greens such as spinach, collards, swiss chard, or kale
  • Asparagus

Steamer Basket

Collapsible Steamer Basket. Fits into any sized pot.
Collapsible Steamer Basket. Fits into any sized pot.

How to Steam:

What you Need:

  • Large Pot
  • Steamer Basket (not mandatory but ideal)
  • Water
  • Veggies: chopped, diced, sliced, whole, fresh, frozen...whatever you like

What is a Steamer Basket and Where do I Get One?

A steamer basket is basically just a collapsible metal basket that fits into any sized pot. You can find them in most kitchen supply stores.

The Method:

  1. Fill the large pot with a small amount of water and place the steamer basket in the pot. The water should not go past the base of the steamer basket, but it also shouldn't be so low that it boils dry.
  2. Cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Meanwhile, wash and prepare the veggies. Cut broccoli into florets, trim woody ends from asparagus, peel carrots, etc.
  4. When the water is boiling, toss the veggies into the basket.
  5. Cooking times vary among different vegetables, so use your own judgment and personal preferences, and taste-test as you go. As a general rule, most veggies will take between 5-10 minutes to steam. Personally I like my veggies only lightly steamed so they retain the crunch and bright colours, so I usually set a timer for 5 minutes and then begin checking them for texture and remove them when they are perfect.
  6. When the veggies are done cooking, remove from pot and enjoy!


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    • Cagsil profile image

      Cagsil 8 years ago from USA or America

      Very nicely written and informative. Thank you for sharing and I learned something new. I always try to learn something new everyday. :) I look forward to more from you.