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Use the following tips to prepare fresh vegetables for steaming
- Remove bruised, wilted, yellowish, or tough sections
of the vegetable.
- Trim sparingly to avoid excessive loss of food and nutrients.
- If you pare root vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes,
before cooking, make parings thin. Cover potatoes with water to prevent darkening
if held after paring. Long soaking is not recommended because some nutrients
dissolve in water.
- Wash vegetable thoroughly before cooking.
- Use plenty of water for greens; lift them from the
water to let sand and grit settle.
- Soak fresh Brussel sprouts and broccoli in cold water
for a short time to remove insects.
The best cooking method for fresh vegetables is steaming
on top of the stove on in the microwave. The standard boiling method often overcooks
vegetables; they become limp and sometimes lose their bright green color. Vegetables
cooked until they are crisp-tender instead of limp have:
- more tempting textures,
- more nutrients,
- better flavor,
- intact fiber.
Tips for steaming fresh vegetables (On top of the stove):
- Put enough water in a saucepan so that it does not touch
the bottom of the steamer basket; approximately 1/2 to 1 inch of water.
- Bring water to a boil.
- Place vegetables in a steamer basket:
- whole vegetables should be in a single layer, and
- cut up vegetables should be layered no more than 2 inches
- Place steamer in pan; cover the pan tightly. Reduce heat
so the water continues to boil.
- Add more water during cooking, if necessary.
In the microwave oven:
- Arrange vegetables in a microwave-safe dish so that the
thicker portions lay toward the outside of the dish. Or, for more even cooking,
cut into same-size pieces.
- Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water.
- Cover the dish with a lid or waxed or plastic paper;
it should be loose so that steam can escape. If cooking whole unpeeled vegetables
and fruits , such as potatoes, yams, or apples, pierce them several times
with a fork so they do not burst while cooking. Place them at least 1 inch
apart on a paper towel in the microwave.
- Microwave vegetables on HIGH. Stir, rearrange vegetables,
or rotate the dish halfway through cooking.
- Remove dish from the microwave at the minimum cooking
time and let stand for the amount of time indicated to allow them to finish
cooking. Remove the lids very carefully (to avoid steam burns) and then check
for doneness. If the vegetables are too crisp, continue cooking and checking
- If steaming greens such a spinach or collards, place
wet leaves in microwave-safe dish, cover and cook; there is no need to add
- If steaming corn on the cob, peel husks back and remove
silk; arrange like spokes in the dish.
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