The Benefits of Steaming Vegetables
Steaming vegetables is the best way to maintain the nutrient and vitamin levels while enjoying them hot and soft. Although eating vegetables raw with their skins on is the optimal way to eat them to get all they have to offer, steaming vegetables is the best form of cooking to preserve their nutrients.
There are several advantages to steaming vegetables. An average of 20% more vitamins are maintained when vegetables are steamed. Steamed vegetables are also easier for the body to digest. Another added benefit of steamed vegetables is that they are fat free since you don’t need any butter or oil in the preparation.
How to Steam Vegetables
Steaming vegetables is actually quite easy:
Cooking Times to Steam Vegetables
|Vegetable Type||Vegetable Examples||Optimal Steaming Time|
|Soft Cut or Small Vegetables||Eggplant, Kale, Mushrooms, Peas, Peppers, Spinach||2-5 Minutes|
|Medium Firmness Cut Vegetables||Asparagus, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Carrots, Green Beans, Parsnips, Potatoes, Zucchini||6-10 Minutes|
|Harder Large Vegetables||Artichokes, Turnips, Beets or an entire heads of broccoli and cauliflower||11-15 Minutes|
Notes about Steamed Vegetables
Do not overcook vegetables, they will be bland, mushy and void of most all their vitamins.
Vegetables can also be steamed in the microwave, but since they take about the same amount of time as on the stove, there really is no advantage.
People in China have been steaming vegetables for at least 3,000 years. They steam many different kinds of foods, like fish and dim sum dishes. A bamboo steamer is most often used. The great thing about a bamboo steamer is that you can stack them up and make several different dishes at once. If you steam different vegetables, place your hardest veggies in the bottom basket and cover them while you work your way up to the softer veggies.
To find out how long to boil corn on the cob see our corn blog post.
To find out how long fresh vegetables last see our how long do fresh vegetables last menu.