We’re just going to say it: that brick of steamed mixed vegetables in your freezer does not count as steamed vegetables. If you add approximately eight more minutes to the two it took you to take the brick out and toss it in the microwave, you can have fresh steamed vegetables with none of that freezer flavor (or microwave texture, frankly). You simply need a vegetable steamer.
This stainless steel basket is one of the simplest and cheapest tools you can add to your kitchen at the dawn of fresh vegetable season. The “wings” that fold in and out allow the steamer to fit in basically any pot or even a deep-frying pan, so as long as you have a pot…anyway, drop the steamer into the pot and fill with water until it just hits the base of the steamer. You shouldn’t see any water coming through the holes — fill it to just under that spot. Some folks like to add salt or a slice of lemon to the water. You can also steam with chicken stock for additional flavor.
Heat the water to boiling (about 2 minutes for an inch and a half of water), then drop your vegetables into the steamer basket and place the lid on. Depending on the vegetable — carrots, beets and other hard vegetables take longer than broccoli, snap peas and cauliflower — you should be finished cooking in under 5 minutes.
To keep the steamed vegetables from becoming overcooked and soggy once they’re finished, transfer them to a large bowl filled with ice water until you’re ready to use them.
Try it out with our step-by-step How To Steam An Artichoke tutorial. Those guys take 30 minutes to steam. By the time they’re done, you’ll be a pro.
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