Health And Nutrition: How To Steam Broccoli

How to steam broccoli.

Broccoli is an extremely nutritious vegetable that can benefit nearly everyone's diet. Extremely versatile, this green cruciferous broccoli can be eaten cooked or raw. However when it is cooked, broccoli should be prepared using a method that preserves the majority of its nutrients. Boiling removes many of the vitamins and minerals from this vegetable, so steaming or sautéing are considered the preferred method for cooking broccoli. Steaming broccoli is fast and simple, so even a novice cook can do it successfully.

Before you cook

Before you steam your broccoli, it is important to prepare it properly:

1. Wash the broccoli thoroughly under cool running water.

2. Cut off the thickest portion of the stalks, removing the fibrous, woody bases.

3. Either chop the broccoli into bite-sized pieces or cut it into thin stalks with florets at the top so it looks like a group of small trees.

Stovetop steaming

There are various kitchen implements available for stovetop steaming. You may use either a folding metal steaming basket, a hard pan-insert designed for steaming or a steaming basket made of wood. Whichever steaming tool you select, it should be placed in a pan that has a tightly fitting lid.

1. Fill the base of the pan with water so it is up to the level of the steamer, but does not rise up into the steamer.

2. Set the stove burner to high.

3. Once the water is boiling, place the broccoli loosely in the steamer. It is okay to fill the steamer, but it should not be packed with broccoli.

3. Cover the pan.

4. Allow the broccoli to cook three to five minutes. If the pan is really full, you may need additional time.

5. Make sure to remove the pan from the heat source and to remove the lid once the broccoli is done or it will continue to cook.

Microwave steaming

To steam in the microwave, you will need a covered microwave-safe dish or bowl.

1. Place the cut or chopped broccoli in the dish.

2. Add one to two tablespoons of water to the dish, depending on the amount of broccoli.

3. Cover the dish tightly, either with a lid or with microwave-safe plastic wrap.

4. For two cups of broccoli, cook on high for three to five minutes. For a larger amount of broccoli, you will need to increase the cooking time.

5. Remove the lid from the dish once the broccoli is done or it will continue to cook.

Recent studies suggest that stovetop steaming may preserve more of broccoli's nutrients than microwave cooking.

How to tell when broccoli is done

Broccoli is done when it is still a little crisp, but the stalks cut easily. It should be a bright green. The best way to test broccoli for doneness is to taste it!

Once the broccoli is cooked, consider serving it with butter or lemon butter and a little salt and pepper to taste. It is often served with cheese sauce or with garlic-based Asian sauces.

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