Steaming vegetables is a healthy alternative to other cooking methods; it allows them to retain maximum nutritional value, as well as their natural color, shape and texture if they aren’t overcooked. How long to cook vegetables in a silicone steamer is based on preference, though in general, vegetables are cooked when they can be pierced with the tines of a fork.
Before placing the vegetables in a silicone steamer, thoroughly clean off any dirt or debris. The cleaning method will depend on the vegetable, though most vegetables should be rinsed with cool water. For root vegetables, remove long, hard stems before steaming if you prefer softer, evenly cooked vegetables, because the stems will take considerably longer to cook.
To use a silicone steamer, fill a large saucepan or pot with about 1 cup of cold water or liquid and any seasonings you wish to use. Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat and put the steamer in place above the pot. Add the vegetables and steam them until they reached the desired tenderness – usually about 5 to 10 minutes for softer vegetables such as broccoli, and 30 to 35 minutes for firmer ones such as beets.
Cooking vegetables in a silicone steamer is one of the healthiest methods of preparing vegetables. When you steam vegetables, they retain more of their nutrients than high heat cooking methods such as baking, sautéing, grilling, boiling or microwaving. Silicone steamers are also very easy to clean because of their nonstick coating, minimizing cleanup time for busy chefs or those who have to cook multiple meals throughout the day.
Flavoring Steamed Vegetables
You can add extra flavor to vegetables while you steam them by adding fresh or dried herbs and seasonings to the cooking liquid in the bottom of the pot. Instead of water, you can use a combination of liquids, including vegetable broth and water or white wine and water, to flavor the vegetables.
What to Look For
Several types of silicone steamers are commonly sold in stores. Some steamers have adjustable feet that sit on the bottom of a larger pot, allowing the steam to rise and cook the vegetables. The other common type has a large rim around the edge of the steamer which rests on the outer edge of a pot. In general, steamers that rest on the rim of a pot have more surface area, and cook more evenly when used with a large saucepan or stockpot.