The Benefits of Steaming

steamNo, I’m not talking about getting your weekly face steam at the spa. Although of course, that’s always nice too.

What I’m referring to is the method of cooking known as steaming, which is really simple and, well, pretty darn amazing once you learn more about it.

This healthy cooking technique uses steam to lightly cook foods like vegetables and fish. It maximizes the taste and colour of the food, keeping in all that delicious flavor without losing lots of vitamins and minerals, which is often the case with other methods such as boiling.

How to Steam

Steaming is really easy to do. Once you give it a go, you’ll wonder why you never used this method before. It’s actually faster in most cases than pan-frying or oven-roasting, and it’s the best way to maximize the nutritional value of your food when cooking. Makes sense, right?

Fill your steamer with a bit of water (about 2 inches in most cases is ideal) and turn it on. Let the water get to a full boil before adding in your food. This is because you want to keep the food on for the shortest amount of time possible, to prevent unnecessary loss of all that goodness in those veggies.

Different types of vegetables do have different steaming times. Broccoli usually takes about 5 minutes to steam, asparagus around 6 minutes and sweet potatoes (cut up lengthwise into thin slices, about 1/4-inch wide) about 7. Of course it depends on how you like your veggies, but just a single minute can make a big difference when steaming. Remember, the goal here is to get the veggies just slightly cooked, sort of al dente style, so they’re a bit crisp on the outside but still tender inside. It’s not only surprisingly quick and easy to do, it also feels good knowing you’re maximizing the nutritional value of your meal.

This gorgeous 3-tier stainless steel digital food steamer lets you steam a bunch of stuff at once, and this 5-quart steamer by Oster is a more affordable version. There are tons out there to pick from, so shop around, read some reviews and find one you like. It’s one of the best investments for your kitchen you’ll ever make.

It’s always important to mix things up and have lots of variety in your diet, so don’t feel as though you have to rely on steaming as your cooking method all the time. But, after seeing all the benefits of steaming and how it’s the number one way (besides raw, of course) of retaining the most nutrition in your veggies, it definitely makes sense to use it as much as possible.

Steam on!

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