Cooking foods - Vegetables: Boil and/or steam

Before you start

Steaming does a better job than boiling in retaining a vegetable's flavour, shape, texture, and many of the vitamins and minerals. Hence, it should always be the preferred method except with large amounts of vegetables that cannot be easily placed in the steamer basket.

Method

Boiling:

Prepare the vegetables and cut as required. Put the vegetables into a pot or saucepan and fill with water to cover them. Bring to a boil. Add salt (approximately 1 tablespoon of salt, for every 4 litres of water). Cover and lower the heat to maintain a simmer and prevent excessive boiling.

Steaming:

Prepare the vegetables and cut as required. Place them into the steamer basket. Fill a pot or saucepan with water up to the basket. Bring to a boil. Add salt. Cover and lower the heat to maintain a simmer.

Check the cooking time:

The cooking time for boiling and steaming is essentially the same, but it varies greatly with the vegetablesí freshness, type, and the size of the pieces.

Allow at least 15 min for denser types such as carrots, potatoes, celeriac, turnip; 5-10 min for less dense vegetables such as broccoli, zucchini, onions, green beans; less than 5 min for peas.

To avoid overcooking, poke the vegetables with a fork. They are done al dente when tender but still offering some resistance.

Immediately cool down the green vegetables in cold running water to avoid discolouration.

Note: Blanching is similar to boiling but the cooking time is much shorter.

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