You can use one of two systems for steaming foods:
a) 3-piece steaming sets, with a pot, a steaming insert and a lid, or
b) Separate steaming inserts that fit in a wide variety of pots and pans.
Tip: If you are looking for an insert, try to find one that is wide enough to accommodate long foods, such as asparagus.
Tip: One key to steaming is the pot must have a tight-fitting lid, so vapors that build up within the vessel sufficiently cook the food.
Tip: The pots should be deep and wide so steam can circulate freely around the food to ensure even cooking.
Tips for Steaming Vegetables:
- Freshness is key – steam fresh, in-season vegetables. Consider a garnish of fresh lemon juice, olive oil and herbs as an alternative to butter, salt and pepper.
- Buy an assortment of vegetables, preferably at a farmers market – so you have choices.
- Utilize the grocery store salad bar for pre-cut, fresh vegetables if you are in a hurry.
Approximate Vegetable Steaming Times
Artichokes, 4 Globes, 10 oz. each: 25 – 40 min.
Asparagus: 4 – 5 min.
Green or Yellow Beans: 5 – 12 min.
Beets, Small: 20 – 30 min.; Large: 40 – 60 min.
Broccoli: 5 – 7 min.
Broccoli Rabe: 6 – 9 min.
Brussel Sprouts: 9 – 14 min.
Carrots: 7 -10 min.
Cauliflower Florets: 7-9 min.
Cauliflower Head: 15 – 20 min.
Corn on the Cob, 4 - 8 ears, husks and silks removed: 3 – 5 min.
Sugar Snap or Snow Peas: 1 lb. 2 – 5 min.
Potatoes, 1 ½ lbs. Baking, Whole: 30 – 45 min.; Baking, Sliced: 10 – 15 min.; New or Red, Whole: 15 – 20 min.
Summer Squash or Zucchini: 4 – 6 min.
Tips for Steaming Fish:
Which types of fish should I steam?
Lean fish, flat fish, bass, snapper, cod, grouper, hake and whiting perfect for steaming, as are oily freshwater salmon, pike, perch and trout.
How do I improve the flavor of steamed fish?
For better flavor, marinate up to four hours before cooking. Soy based marinades made of rice wine and seasoned with ginger and garlic, or other spices, are wonderful and can double as steaming liquid. Keep the fish from coming into direct contact with the liquid – steaming insert or tray should be just above the liquid.
How do I know when it’s done?
To test for doneness, cut the thickest part of fish with thin bladed knife. If it flakes with a fork, it's done. With an instant read thermometer, the temperature should be 120- 135 degrees and it will be cooked and still moist. Remove fish from the heat just before the temperature reaches 120-135 degrees, as it will continue to cook.
Approximate Fish Steaming Times
Cod, Haddock, Hake, Pollack, Scrod, Whiting, 6 - 8 oz. Filets and Steaks: 3 – 5 min.
Halibut, John Dory, Turbot, Brill, 8 oz.: 5 – 7 min.
Marlin, Tuna, Swordfish, 6 - 8 oz.: 7 – 10 min.
Salmon, Trout, 6 - 8 oz Filets and Steaks: 3 – 5 min.
Grouper, Snapper, 6 - 8 oz. Filets and Steaks: 4 – 5 min.
Bass, Sea Bass, 6 oz. Filets and Steaks: 5 – 7 min.
Crabs, Live Whole: 8 – 10 min.; Legs: 5 – 6 min.