|Preparing to Steam Broccoli|
Method by Robin
Summertime has just begun, and already it’s time to get out of the kitchen. Heat waves are sweeping the US and kids are out of school. We’re motivated to simplify meals and contemplate a vacation break. Conserving personal and planetary energy while preparing our veggies is a natural.
Easy salads of mixed greens are good choices; add a few strawberries if you like. Cole slaws and other cabbage slaws are also good bets. Raw veggies with dip are another cool idea. And for simple cooked veggie preparation, try microwave steaming as a cooler and energy-saving alternative to conventional steaming or boiling.
|4 Minutes Later, Broccoli Steamed|
|Carrots Ready to Steam|
|Beware of Steam When Removing Lid|
Note that you can immediately microwave a second veggie (or more of the same veggie) in the same microwave-heated baking dish. Remember to add water to the second batch. Cooking time for the second batch, in the pre-heated dish, is usually about a minute less.
I’ve listed a few favorite summer veggies below to get you get started. Enjoy your summer and keep cool!
Microwave Steamed Broccoli
1 lb broccoli, broken into florets and stems chopped
1 ½ - 2 T water, (less if freshly washed and trimmed)
Separate out hard stems if you have a significant amount. Add stems and 1 ½ tbsp. water to baking dish, cover, and steam sliced stems for a minute or two before adding florets.
Add florets and microwave on high for 3 minutes. Check for doneness, being mindful of the hot steam when lifting the lid up.
If broccoli still tastes “green” or “sharp,” or stems are hard, microwave 1 more minute and test again. If broccoli is almost done, microwave for another 30 seconds.
Repeat the step above as needed, microwaving at 1-minute or 30-second intervals till done. About 3 ½ or 4 minutes is average if you like it semi-crisp. Timing can be as little as 2.5 minutes for a second batch cooked in the heated baking dish.
Important! Remove broccoli from baking pan to cool so it doesn’t overcook from residual heat.
Timing your microwaved squash depends upon how thickly you slice it and how well-done you like it. If there’s disagreement on these points in your family (as there is in mine,) you can easily and quickly prepare different “donenesses” and/or thicknesses. If you want to create different “donenesses” from same-size slices, simply remove a portion to a plate during the cooking process, and continue to microwave the remainder at 30-second to 1-minute intervals. Use the chart below as a guide for timing.
|His and Hers Microwave Steamed Squash After|
~2 cups sliced summer squash
1 ½ T water
Put squash and water in covered baking dish and microwave according to chart below.
Check squash at 3 minutes, or 2 minutes if dish has been preheated. Cook at 30-second intervals till done to your likeness.
Thin (1/8 inch) slices will be al dente at about 3 minutes total.
Thick (1/4 inch) slices will be al dente at about 4 minutes total.
Thin slices will get mushy around 4 minutes total.
Thick slices will get soft around 5 minutes and mushy around 6 minutes.
Important! Remove squash from baking pan to cool so it doesn’t overcook from residual heat.
Microwave Steamed Carrots
Like beets and other roots, carrots vary in size and toughness. These instructions are for fairly young and tender carrots, so you might need to microwave larger carrots longer. Again, timing will depend also on how thick your carrots are sliced and how soft your family prefers to eat their carrots.
1 lb. carrots, sliced
1 ½ tbsp. water
Put carrots and water in covered baking dish and microwave according to chart below.
Check carrots at 3 minutes, or 2 minutes if dish has been preheated. Cook at 30-second intervals till done to your likeness.
1/8 inch slices will be crispy-tender in about 3 minutes total.
¼ inch slices will be crispy-tender in about 4 minutes total.
For softer carrots, microwave 1 more minute, or for very soft carrots, microwave 2 more minutes.
Microwaving greens is a bit trickier, but it can be done if the leaves are wet from washing, and if you stir frequently. Chard has the added complication of stems, which I microwave separately. The volume of chard leaves might be difficult to put into the baking dish, but you can cram in as much as possible because it will shrink quickly. It’s okay if the lid doesn’t quite close at first.
Microwave steamed chard tastes significantly stronger than conventionally steamed chard. Chard itself takes on the flavor of the soil in which it’s grown. Certain soils, like the red soils in Kauai, may make the chard too strong to be palatable when steamed in the microwave.
1 bunch chard
2 tbsp. water, divided
Chop stems separately from leaves. Leaves are trickiest and take longest to cook, so steam them first.
Add leaves to covered baking dish. Compress leaves to add as many as possible. Lid does not need to close all the way. Leaves must be uniformly wet. Add 1 tbsp. water.
Microwave leaves 2 minutes. Stir thoroughly from bottom of dish. Microwave 1 more minute, and stir thoroughly again. Microwave at 1-minute intervals, stirring in between, until done, about 5 or 6 minutes total.
Remove leaves from baking dish and cover to keep warm.
Add stems to cooking dish and add 1 tbsp. water. Microwave for 3 minutes. Check for doneness, and microwave at 1-minute intervals till done, about 4 – 5 minutes total, depending upon age and thickness of stems.
Microwaved Whole Butternut Squash
If you’re adventurous, small whole butternut squash can be steamed with their own juices, without slicing. See last year’s post about microwaving butternut.