Steaming Vegetables for Better Nutrition
We’re often told of the importance of having enough vegetables in our diet.
Vegetables are a great source of nutrients as they contain many vitamins and minerals to keep our bodies healthy and strong.The way you choose to cook your vegetables, however, can often cause these vitamins and minerals to be lost.
What makes steaming better?
When you boil vegetables, many of the nutrients in the vegetables leach out into the water. Think about when you boil something like broccoli.When you drain the water off, it is usually a green colour. This green water contains some of the vitamins and minerals from the vegetables – nutrients which end up down the drain.
When you are cooking vegetables in stews or curries, this isn’t a problem because you eat all the delicious sauce as well. When you are cooking vegetables as a side dish, though, steaming them is a healthier option as nutrients don’t get lost in boiled water.
Can steaming only be done with an electric steamer?
Steaming vegetables can be done with an electric steamer, or on the stove top. You can either buy a steamer which fits on top of your pot, or you can use a colander with a pot lid on top to trap the steam. The heat from the boiling water rises up and cooks the vegetables.
How should I steam my vegetables?
When steaming, leafy vegetables like spinach can cook in as little as 2-3 minutes, while carrots and potatoes can take between 10 and 20 minutes — depending on how big or small you chop them.
Steamers often come with two or three levels that sit on top of one another so that you can put different vegetables on different levels. Denser vegetables should be put closer to the bottom so that they get the most steam, while vegetables like peas can be cooked in one of the higher levels. Steaming vegetables stacked on top of each other saves time and electricity as they all cook with the steam from one pot.
If you are making your own steamer using a colander, make sure that the water level is enough to boil for a few minutes, without the vegetables sitting in the water. When boiling vegetables, it can be easy to overcook them by accident. Steaming prevents this from happening because the goal of steaming is to cook the vegetables until they are no longer raw, but are still a little bit crisp. This method keeps more of the nutrients inside the vegetables.
While all vegetables can be steamed, some vegetables steam better than others. Vegetables like mushrooms, onions, garlic, bell peppers and tomatoes might be better fried or roasted as this will bring out their flavour better.
Remember to flavour your fresh and nutritious vegetables with just a pinch of salt before enjoying your healthy meal with your family.