One of the reasons many people ditch the steaming process when cooking is because they either overcook or undercook veggies. The steaming technique itself is simple, the key is the timing.
Obviously, each vegetable requires its own steaming time – the larger it is, the longer it takes to cook. The preparation of vegetables plays a critical role as well. If you’re steaming vegetables for the first time, take a look at the following tips:
1. Always cut your veggies
Of course, you can steam a whole vegetable, but there’s a bigger chance of it being undercooked. However, don’t cut your veggies into small sizes too, because you risk over-steaming them. The uniform size is the best size. This way, all vegetable pieces cook at the same rate and thus are done at the same time. You can use special vegetable cutters to make sure all the pieces are the same size.
2. Don’t mix veggies
Steaming mixed veggies is brainstorming since some veggies are dense and others are tender. If you need to steam mixed veggies at the same time, consider adding the longer-cooking vegetables first and once they’re about to cook, after a few minutes, add the quicker-cooking veggies. You can also cut the denser veggies a bit smaller or the tender veggies slightly bigger.
3. Set a timer
Set a timer to avoid over-steaming. Make sure you set a timer a minute before your veggies are about to cook. This will allow you to control the final stage of the steaming process. For instance, if you’re steaming broccoli florets, set a timer for 4 minutes since they usually steam in 5 to 6 minutes. Potatoes and carrots steam in 10 to 15 minutes, asparagus in 5 to 8 minutes, green beans in 4 to 6 minutes, spinach in 2 to 3 minutes, cauliflower florets in 5 to 7 minutes, and kale in 10 minutes.
4. Steam your veggies correctly
Add an inch or two of water to a large pan or pot. Insert the steamer basket, making sure the water is under the basket. Heat the pot over medium high heat until the water starts bubbling. Meanwhile, cut your veggies.
Once a steam begins to emerge from the pan or pot, add your veggies to a steamer basket. Cover the pot and lower the heat to medium. Let your veggies steam for a few minutes and start checking it frequently. If you can easily pierce the vegetables at the thickest part with a paring knife, they are ready. Some veggies become vibrant and bright in color when ready.
If you’re steaming mixed veggies, you may need to remove the tender veggies from the steamer first to prevent them from over-steaming. It usually takes not more than 3 minutes to steam tender vegetables so keep an eye on them after 2 minutes of steaming.
Steamed vegetables are flavorful and healthy on their own, but if you don’t like their taste or you simply want to enhance their health benefits, consider serving it with the cooked grains or any meal you’re going to eat for dinner. Steamed veggies make great snack ideas as well.