Boiling or steaming

Boiling or steaming? This is the question.

Moist cooking with water is a great technique and there is no question about this. Cooks have to choose between the two methods, though.

Steaming versus boiling

Water is a great method of cooking. As it is used to steam and boil foods. 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 the 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. 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 and even shrimp taste wonderful.

Boiling isn't far behind

Boiling is also a very unique 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 water gives the nutrients a chance to move from the food to the water. It also doesn't spice up the food nor does it give it that appetizing color that foods get from grilling or baking. Boiled foods don't have a lot of flavor 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

These are just a few of the reason boiling is great. Grab a steamer or fill a pot with water and see for yourself just how great they both can be.

Boiling and Steaming

Flavorful meat: Prepare the meat before steaming to avoid a dry and flavorless outcome. Marinate meat in olive oil with spices or aromatic herbsrosemary, sage, tarragon- or use a mix of spices of rub before cooking.

Food in its best looks: You don't need to turn food over when you steam so there is no risk of piercing, breaking or spoiling it and it will look its best on the platter. There is a bonus because steaming preserves color better than any other cooking method.

Fresh, fresh food: Essential, any food to be steamed should be fresh. Steaming does not mix or cover flavors as poaching and stewing do. Producing a delicious steamed dish happens as natural outcome of using top quality, fresh ingredients.

Heat destroys vitamins: Whichever cooking method you use, some of the A, B and C vitamins are lost, especially vitamin C.

Juicy steamed fish: Steaming is a very simple way to prepare delicious fish dishes. Steamed fish comes out excellent and it only needs a sauce to add flavor. Only be aware that it is best to steam the whole fish – trout, red mullet - or large pieces – tuna, salmon, cod - as small pieces easily come out dry.

Regular vegetables: To prepare steamed vegetables, choose those of a similar shape and weight or cut them in pieces of the same size. This way you are granted all will cook to the same point, at the same time.

Rice, couscous or quinoa to the steam: When cooking food that comes in tiny bits -such as rice, couscous or quinoa- cover the bottom grid with a cheesecloth, or place the food in a cheesecloth. This not only will prevent the bits from going through the grid, it will make removing the food much easier.

Steam several dishes at once: Save yourself some time in the kitchen and prepare several recipes - or one main course and side dishes - in one go. Place every food in a basket at a different level and everything will cook with the same steam. Put first - closer to the boiling water - the food that needs cooking for longer, and position the other basket in reverse order – more cooking time to less - and everything will be ready at the same time.

Steam to get lean: Make rolls with whit fish fillets and steam them like that. Serve them with a dash of hollandaise or a similar sauce. Scrumptious and a blessing for waistlines as the fish fillets are cooked without fat.

Vegetables to the steam: All vegetables are ideal for steaming, except those with large green leaves – spinach, chard, beet greens - because they loose color, flavor and texture.