Fast, convenient, saviour of the hungry and impatient – the faithful microwave oven is always there to help us to reheat our leftovers. Is there anything more satisfying than the joyful ‘ping’ it makes to tell you your marvellous microwaved morsel is ready to eat? They are a staple appliance in any kitchen, and it’s difficult to imagine modern cooking without them.
Sadly, microwaves get a bad rep. Some people are suspicious of their almost magical speedy heating abilities. Another belief is that using a microwave is somehow cheating, and that it doesn’t cook food ‘properly’ unlike a traditional oven. Others say that microwaved food simply doesn’t taste as nice!
The main misconception about microwaving is that it ruins the nutritional content of your food. And if healthy cooking is your priority, you’ll want to ensure that your foods retain the highest amount of vitamins and other nutrients as possible.
But there’s no need to worry as steaming in the microwave does all this and more! Vegetables are seriously important for our diet, so read on to find out the truth about microwaves and how you can steam some sumptuously tasty veg in them…
Why steaming in the microwave should be your default cooking method
Despite the rumours, steaming vegetables, either in the microwave or in a saucepan, is a great way to retain the nutrients in your food. This is important as veggies contain nutrients like vitamins A and C which not only contribute to overall health but heart health too. Microwaving is also a healthy option as you don’t need to add any kind of fat (unlike when frying with oil). Nutrients can be leeched out into cooked water, so the minimal amount of water needed to steam in the microwave is another bonus! Veggies remain crisp but are still soft enough for little teeth to enjoy.
For yummy veg that boasts all of the health benefits without compromising taste, all you need is a microwave, a dish with a lid, and a splash of water. Or, for a perfect shortcut to health, a bag of Steamfresh…
How to steam easily with Steamfresh
Want an easier way to enjoy freshly steamed vegetables with even less faff? Try our Steamfresh range, with great combinations like the Family Favourite Mix, with carrots, broccoli and corn, or a Green Medley with a hint of garlic and herbs. By steaming in the bag you are locking in the natural taste and goodness, to give you perfect results every time.
1 minute preparation time / 4 minutes cooking time
- Open the outer bag. Remove the bag(s) (where applicable) and place with the green corner upwards, unopened, into the microwave. If you’re cooking more than one bag make sure that they are not overlapping and shake the bags halfway through cooking.
- Do not pierce the bag. During cooking the bag will slowly inflate as the steam builds up. A special vent in the bag will allow the steam to escape slowly during cooking.
- Heat according to pack instructions.
- Stand for 1 minute to let the flavours infuse.
- Remove the bag from the microwave, shake then cut the bag open to serve. Be careful! The contents will be very hot.
Stir well and serve alongside any teatime favourite, such as shortcrust steak pies or meat-free sausages for a healthy balanced meal.
How to steam other vegetables in the microwave
Steaming in the microwave is the perfect way to make sure vegetables remain crisp, retain their nutrients and are ready to eat in no time! This method works no matter what type of vegetable you’re steaming. You’ve got to get your five fruit and veg a day after all!
Anything can be steamed in the microwave, from broccoli, carrots, peas, green beans, sweetcorn, or a mixture of your favourites (like our Steamfreshmixes wink-wink!).
Cooking time varies depending on the vegetable, but here are easy instructions that will help you prepare a meal in no-time:
First, wash your vegetables!
- If you’re using bigger veggies or a mixture of different types, cut them into manageable pieces of roughly the same size.
- Place them into a microwave-safe dish.
- Add 1-2 tablespoons of water (a little more if you’re steaming multiple portions).
- Place in the microwave and pop a lid on top to keep the steam in.
- Microwave on high! Firmer vegetables like turnips or potatoes may take 6-8 minutes, and softer, moister veg like broccoli will take less – around 4 minutes. Leafy greens like spinach may only take 3!
- Check your veg is tender but still crisp (not soggy) and season to taste.
- Serve your flavoursome veggies as the perfect accompaniment to anything from cod fillets to chargrilled chicken and enjoy!
Now you know how to steam veg in the microwave and all about the many benefits, so pick up a bag of Steamfresh today! Want to continue learning? Click to read our fascinating survey that spills the beans on frozen food myths. For more information on how we source our vegetables sustainably, check out our collaboration with WWF.