Frozen vegetables are very often cheaper, rich in nutrients and keep longer than fresh ones. Steam cooking prevents them from losing characteristics such as shape, color, texture, taste and nutritional value. Frozen vegetables can be steamed on the stove using a special basket or metal colander. Alternatively you can use the microwave.
Method 1 of 3: Use a Steamer Basket or Colander
Step 1. Move the frozen vegetables to the refrigerator to thaw them and remove excess water
If the recipe you intend to follow requires a certain amount of water, it is good to defrost the vegetables before cooking them. The water contained within the vegetables can increase substantially following defrosting.
- Defrosting vegetables in the fridge decreases the risk of possible bacterial contamination. Use a bowl to catch the water during the defrosting process.
- The length of the process varies. In general, it calculates that about 2.5 kg of food defrost in approximately 24 hours, in the refrigerator.
Step 2. Boil a small amount of water in a saucepan
To cook steamed vegetables, calculate a depth of about 5-8 cm. Bring the water to a boil, then secure the steamer basket or colander in the pot so that it hangs above the surface of the water.
The basket or colander should not be low enough to touch the water as it boils. A space of about 3-5 cm should suffice
Step 3. Place the vegetables in the basket or colander
Place the frozen vegetables in the steamer basket or colander, place it in the pot and close it with the lid. It is preferable that the lid is equipped with a small vent, so that a trickle of steam is released. This will prevent condensation from forming around the edges of the lid.
Water dripping from the edges of non-vented lids can dirty the hob. The liquid that spills should be cleaned immediately after cooking, in order to prevent it from turning into a hard film
Step 4. Steam the vegetables
The duration of cooking varies. For example, vegetables such as courgettes or peppers take only 2-4 minutes, while root vegetables (such as potatoes) may take at least 12 minutes.
Poke the vegetables with a fork to make sure they are cooked well. Keep cooking them in case they resist or you find them particularly hard, especially in the center
Step 5. Season and serve the vegetables
Once cooked, you can season them as you like. Most vegetables go well with salt, pepper and a knob of butter. Use a sprinkle of chili flakes, a drizzle of honey and lemon juice to make them sweet but spicy.
The seasonings must be adjusted to your liking. Add them gradually and taste the vegetables from time to time to avoid overdoing it
Method 2 of 3: Steaming Vegetables in the Microwave Oven
Step 1. Pour ½ tablespoon (8 ml) of water into a microwave safe dish and arrange the vegetables in it
Measure 1/2 tablespoon of water and pour it into the pan, then add the vegetables. Close the dish with a lid and place it in the oven.
- Leave the lid ajar or use a vented lid. In some cases, steam may build up in the container, causing damage.
- Do you need to cook a large amount of vegetables? Use enough water to line the bottom of the pan. Calculate about an inch of depth.
- Defrost vegetables in the refrigerator overnight to speed up cooking.
Step 2. Cook the vegetables at 1 minute intervals
This cooking method is preferable, as letting them cook for too long can make them soggy. Check them from time to time to determine if they are ready. Turn them with a spatula between intervals.
Be careful when lifting the lid to check the vegetables: the steam generated by the water can cause burns
Step 3. Use a fork to see if cooking has finished
Skewer the vegetables in the center with a fork. They will be ready once they stop being tough and resisting.
Step 4. Remove the vegetables from the oven and serve them
They are usually ready in about 2-6 minutes. Less powerful or modern microwave models may take longer than others. Remove the vegetables from the microwave when they are soft and serve them.
Method 3 of 3: Steaming the Most Common Vegetables
Step 1. Steam the broccoli for 5-12 minutes after cutting
A stemless head of broccoli takes about 8-12 minutes, while broccoli flowers about 5-7 minutes. Season and serve them when cooked.
Try flavoring steamed broccoli with olive oil or pumpkin seeds, lemon or lime juice, or balsamic vinegar
Step 2. Steam the cabbage or legumes in exactly 10 minutes
Cabbage cut into wedges and most legumes take 6-10 minutes to cook. Lemon or lime juice is great for flavoring cabbage, while garlic and salt go well with legumes.
Step 3. Prepare asparagus or kale when time is short
These vegetables cook much faster than others. The asparagus cut into 5 cm pieces and the chopped cabbage cook in 4-7 minutes.
- Cooked asparagus can be seasoned with olive oil, lemon zest and sesame seeds to become even healthier and tastier.
- Black cabbage can instead be seasoned with a drizzle of olive oil and crushed garlic, or with a sprinkling of garlic powder.
Step 4. Cook sliced carrots (or baby carrots) in 7-12 minutes
Cut the carrots into slices about 5 mm thick and steam them for 7-10 minutes. Baby carrots take a little longer, 10 to 12 minutes.