T Nation

Steaming Vegetables...

Thanks for actually clicking on this thread. A title like “Steaming vegetables” sounds about as exciting as “boiling rice” or “reading Jane Eyre”.

I steam pretty much every vegetable I eat. Not for the sake of taste, mind you. Ever eat a steamed eggplant? It has about as much taste as a soggy communion cracker at church. No, I do it because I want to preserve the nutritional value.

My question, though…is it possible to “oversteam” something? I know the cellulose breaks down after awhile as it gets soft, but would most micronutrients be preserved regardless, seeing as how steam never really gets above a certain temperature?

Also, a very small point that I’m more curious about than concerned with…say you’re steaming something like pumpkin, squash, etc. Starchy vegetables.

Since Glycemic Index is a measure of how quickly blood glucose is increased after ingestion of a food, would it stand to reason that heavily steaming something like pumpkin would increase the GI, seeing as that the steaming process has made it easier to digest? Again, I’m not at all worried about such a small point, just curious.

Both reading Jane Eyre and steaming vegetables are generally good for you. Do both.

I haven’t verified it but personally expect that the longer vegetables are steamed, the more loss of vitamins there is.

While the temperature will, true, never exceed 212 F, it isn’t the case that everything is heat-stable indefinitely at that temperature.

There may well be no real issue with for example steaming a given vegetable for say 20 minutes instead of 10, but there may be some slight effect.

On the other hand, as for steaming for an hour or something I would not be surprised if that resulted in major losses. But I don’t have data on it.

On your GI theory: sounds very plausible.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
I haven’t verified it but personally expect that the longer vegetables are steamed, the more loss of vitamins there is.

While the temperature will, true, never exceed 212 F, it isn’t the case that everything is heat-stable indefinitely at that temperature.

There may well be no real issue with for example steaming a given vegetable for say 20 minutes instead of 10, but there may be some slight effect.

On the other hand, as for steaming for an hour or something I would not be surprised if that resulted in major losses. But I don’t have data on it.

On your GI theory: sounds very plausible.[/quote]

so would cooking veggies in the slow cooker be bad (nutrient wise) since they steam so long?

I’m not sure what the temperature of the slow cooker is.

But generally speaking, if the heat and time are sufficient to turn the vegetables to mush, it seems reasonable to wonder if there hasn’t been enough time and heat to induce chemical breakdown of some vitamins, too.

Why not just add the vegetables relatively shortly before the whole process is due to be done?

If you haven’t tried those steamer bags a try yet you should give them a try.

They are quick and easy and they have cooking times on the bags.

I like veggies a little crispy rather than mushy so I don’t steam things into veggie pudding anyways.

I’ve also used my rice cooker and a veggie steamer basket to steam veggies and chicken. Just pour in the liquid and put what you want steamed in the basket. Good steaming liquids are chicken broth and water with jalapeno juice in it.