Steaming and boiling foods with water is a great method of cooking. A lot of vegetables are cooked in water because it is a very healthy way to cook them. No oils or fats are incorporated into those vegetables when steamed. But what can you boil or steam? You are certainly not limited to just vegetables.
Steam Knocks it out the Park
Steaming is when you boil water causing it to evaporate into a fine mist. The actual steam is what cooks the food. For those who are watching there calories and fats, steaming is a very effective way to cook food and make it healthy. Because steaming keeps food in it original form without having to add anything extra. Something important to remember when steaming is that you are not putting the food directly in water. The food is suspended over top the water letting the steam rise up to your food.
Steaming has its ups and downs though. Let’s talk about some of those ups. Steaming means you are basically eliminating the opportunity to over cook the food. This is because steaming cooks slowly. If you happen to leave food in there longer than need be, it will not have the cooking power to over cook the food as fast. Steaming uses a lot more energy than any other cooking method. If steam is cooking the food it must stay at a constant stable temperature to cook through.
Steaming is usually only used to cook vegetables, but some meats can be steamed. Beef, pork and even chicken can be steamed. It gives it a very different taste that some may not like. Seafood is a very common food to be steamed. Fish does very well steamed. Steaming clams and shrimp in white wine is amazingly flavorful.
Boiling isn’t far Behind
Boiling is also a very effective way of cooking. Though it is similar to steaming they do have differences. Unlike steaming, boiling requires the food to actually sit in the water. You can boil vegetables, meats and seafood. Basically all the things you can steam, but the taste and health values will change.
Boiling or cooking food directly in the liquid gives the nutrients a chance to move from the food to the water. It doesn’t give it that appetizing color that foods get from grilling or baking. Boiled foods don’t have a lot of flavor on their own because the flavor is being soaked in water. This is known as blanching.
Here is just a brief list of the positives of boiling
• Doesn’t require any added fats
• It’s easy, it doesn’t require you to be hovering over your stove for hours
• It takes those tough pieces of meat and makes them able to eat
• It is perfect for large scale cooking
Of course most of us know boiling as cooking stews and roasts. It doesn’t have to be in plain water and honestly SHOULDN’T be done in plain water. Use vegetable or meat stock and/or lots of seasonings as you are boiling the food.
These are just a few of the reason boiling and steaming are great. Grab a steamer or fill a pot with water and see for yourself just how great they both can be. They have their appropriate uses for wonderful recipes, but experiment to see how you can change flavors and textures of your dishes.
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