1. Fill a pot with a few inches of water and place on high heat. Place the colander or steam basket inside, making sure the water does not touch the basket. Cover the pot with a lid and bring the water to a rolling boil. Prepare the vegetables to be steamed. They should be trimmed into uniform sizes to ensure even cooking. 00:49
2. Once the water is boiling, place the raw spinach into the colander or steam basket, cover the pot with the lid, and steam for 30 seconds to a minute. Once the spinach has wilted, remove from the colander and plate. Season with salt or other flavorings, if desired. 01:51
3. Check to make sure the water is boiling. Carefully place the colander on top and lay the asparagus in a single, even layer. Place the lid on and allow the asparagus to steam for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Plate and season with salt, if desired. 05:13
4. Again, check to make sure the water is boiling. Carefully place the colander on top and lay the trimmed carrots in an even layer. Place the lid on and allow the carrots to steam for 5 to 6 minutes or until tender. Plate and season with salt, if desired. 07:44
What You'll Need
- Large pot
- Carrots (2, peeled and trimmed into even pieces)
- Spinach (3 cups)
- Asparagus (6 spears)
- Desired seasonings
Steaming is a method in which food is cooked through hot steam. The two
most common ways to steam are by placing food in a steam basket or
colander over a pot of boiling water (but not touching the water) and
covering with a lid to trap the steam; or by microwaving the food in a
covered or partially covered bowl. Steaming is appropriate for most
vegetables, grains, legumes, fish, and other seafood. Steaming meat is
less common but can be done.
Steaming is considered to be a healthier method of cooking, as it requires no added fats or seasonings to cook. Steamed foods tend to be easy to digest, maintain most or all of their nutritional value, and retain their shape, taste, and color.
Cooking times will vary depending on the density of the food and the amount of food being steamed at one time. Leafy greens such as spinach will cook very quickly and will shrink due to their high water content. Denser vegetables such as carrots and asparagus will take longer to cook and will maintain most of their size. Grains or legumes will also require more time to steam cook, as there are many grains to heat, and their volume will increase due to the added moisture. Regardless, steam baskets should not be overloaded and foods should be evenly distributed within to ensure even cooking.
Steamed foods should be seasoned quickly after being removed from the heat so salt or other spice granules can dissolve.
Caution must be used when steaming food, especially when opening the lid, as steam can be extremely hot and burn skin upon contact. Always be sure to have a dry towel in hand; moist or wet towels will transfer heat and quickly turn hot. Use tongs or other tools that provide distance from the steam.